In what is becoming a better read each and every week, I had the opportunity to exchange emails with Rex Sanchez this week. Just like the game this Sunday night, I was looking forward to this post a little more than usual. It’s the Jets. This is what it’s all about. As expected, our little Q&A didn’t disappoint. As always, you can read the questions I answered for him right here.
Phins Phocus: After two games, is this Jets team as good as you thought they would be? Are they still the “hands down favorite to win the Super Bowl,” or will they have their hands full winning their own division?
Rex Sanchez: They are as good as I thought they’d be. The defense has been everything you expected. The special teams have been up to par. The offense—well they had a rough night versus Baltimore, but once they actually had possession of the pigskin on Sunday, they stuck it to the Patriots. They lost to a damn good team in the season opener. And it wasn’t like they got blown out. They’re only going to get better.
Phins Phocus: We obviously saw a completely different offense against the Patriots than what we saw against the Ravens. Do feel like the Ravens defense is that good, or is the Pats defense that bad? Was last week a sign of things to come for Mark Sanchez, or just a fluke?
Rex Sanchez: In my optimistic glaze, I’ll say it was the Ravens defense being that good. That’s not to say the Patriots defense is an elite unit that the Jets dominated, but they’re obviously a solid group. As for Sanchez, man, I wish I knew. When they let him throw the ball, when they show confidence in him (like they did Sunday and in the playoffs), he plays like a franchise quarterback. When they make him a game manager as they did versus Baltimore, that’s when he shrivels up. Ultimately, at least for this season, the play-calling will determine his success.
Phins Phocus: If you were an opposing offensive coordinator, how exactly would you go about attacking the Jets’ blitz happy defense? Which strategies have had the most success moving the ball against them?
Rex Sanchez:Last season I would have said that short, quick passes were the way to beat the Jets D. This year they’ve seemed to clamp down on those types of plays (hence why Welker didn’t “kill” the Jets). What the Ravens did was interesting and in a way worked. They would simply throw a jump ball downfield to whichever receiver(s) weren’t covered by Revis and either hope for an acrobatic catch or a defensive holding/pass interference call. It worked pretty much every single time in the season opener. With no Revis this week and Brandon Marshall having a history of owning Antonio Cromartie, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Dolphins do something similar.
Phins Phocus: Which division rival do Jets fans hate the most? Respect the most? Believe is their biggest competition in the AFC East?
Rex Sanchez: If you ask a Jets fan born after 1985, they will unequivocally say it is the Patriots. But if you ask people older than that, they’ll likely say the Dolphins. “If you think Brady owns the Jets, you should have seen Marino.” Then they’ll start complaining how the Dolphins watered down the field for the ’82 AFC Championship Game and so on and so on. The only thing I can guarantee is that no one would say the Bills.
“Respect” the most? Ugh. I guess the Patriots because they win. But it’s not a respect borne out of reverence for the players. People just simply respect the rings. And the Jets’ biggest competition in the AFC East is still the Patriots, no question.
Phins Phocus: Finally, who do you see winning Sunday night and why?
Rex Sanchez:I see the Jets winning Sunday. The crowd down there will definitely be rocking for the season-opener so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jets elect to receive (if they have the option), then try to run the ball down the Dolphins’ throats. Sanchez played well in both games versus Miami last year so I don’t think (offensive coordinator) Schotty will be afraid to let him air it out. Don’t be surprised if the Jets make up a phantom injury for Braylon this week, though. They don’t want to play him but technicalities in the CBA make it virtually impossibly to deactivate him for being a drunk driver.
Revis or no Revis, the Jets defense is still an elite unit. Heck, they played better without him last Sunday. Would I want it to be that way over a 16-game season? Obviously not, but I think they can weather the storm this week. The reasons the Jets lost both games to the Dolphins last year were because they couldn’t stop the wildcat and Ronnie Brown, and they couldn’t contain Ted Ginn Jr. on kickoffs, both of which have played a far lesser role (especially Ginn, obviously!) in your offense this season.
Final score: Jets 23, Dolphins 19