Pace Returns to Practice

Florham Park, N.J.- So far this year the Jet defense hasn’t come close to looking anywhere near the dominating defense they were last year, leaving some fans to wonder if the Jets are now more of an offense based team.

While the idea is a product of the, ‘prisoner of the moment,’ aspect of our culture it’s undeniable that the Jets won their first two games because of Sanchez more than the defense. This didn’t happen last year, not at all, and while the Jets have to be thrilled with what they have seen from Sanchez so far they have to be disappointed with the overall play of their defense.

The Jets defense has gotten off to a shaky start, but the team hopes the return of Calvin Pace will help solve some of their problems (JetsInisder.com Photo).

The defense hasn’t been awful, but it’s been nowhere near the level of play Rex Ryan expects to see out of his team.

Today helped has arrived, not all the help Jet fans are hoping for as Revis sat out practice again, but Calvin Pace returned to the practice field for the first time since he broke his foot in the preseason.

Pace participated during the 30 minutes of practice the media got to watch, but it was little more than stretching and light team drills.

Rex Ryan said, “Calvin Pace, never participated. He was off on the side doing different things. Which is encouraging, but he did not do any of the teams or anything like that.”

Revis was seen riding the bike and is still getting heavy treatment to his hamstring and linebacker Jamaal Westerman also spent his time on the bike as he also didn’t practice. Wayne Hunter is also still out with the shin injury that he suffered in practice last week. Ryan said that he doesn’t want to rule Revis out quite yet, as he is still holding out hope Revis can return, but it still seems more likely the Jets will rest him this week.

Ryan said, “Of the two I think Calvin’s got a better chance (than Revis), but I’m hoping they both play right now, but I don’t feel great about Darrelle right now.”

With Revis out the Jets haven’t been able to run their normal physical man-to-man defense that allows them to bring extra pressure from their other players. Revis, as NFL fans know, has the ability to completely take out the other teams best receiver and allows the Jets to exploit mismatches to send extra pressure.

The Jets have still applied a good amount of pressure, but the opposing quarterback has had little trouble finding his own mismatches and quickly getting rid of the ball to an open receiver. Through the first three games the Jets only have five sacks, and while they will still have to deal with the secondary issues for at least one more week Jet fans can take a sigh of relief that their best pass rusher is returning and is eager to hit the field.

Fans shouldn’t expect too much out of Pace this week, assuming he does in fact play, the most logical move would be to slowly rotate him into the game mostly on passing situations and get him some game-time reps. With Pace being injured in the preseason he wasn’t able to get the normal preseason playing time, so it’s likely they will shy away from over using him.

Considering their opponent this would appear to be the obvious move.

The Buffalo Bills are not exactly playing championship caliber football and the Jets should be able to exploit match-ups at every point of the field. This is not to say the Jets are going to take the Bills lightly as it is still a division game and a great chance to give them a huge leg up on the rest of their division by taking a 3-0 AFC East division lead. Still the thinking is that the Jets plan to keep it safe and rest Revis for another week and get Pace reps, more to prepare him for Minnesota next week and the rest of the season.

The Bills are a team in complete and total disarray, after just two weeks into the season they waived their starting quarterback (not just benched, but waived him right off the team), and promoted fifth-year quarterback, out of Harvard, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick moved the ball fairly well against the Patriots last week, going 20-28 for 247 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two crucial interceptions that stopped the Bills dead in their tracks of having any hope to win the game.

Even if it turns out to be the right move by the Bills, and it’s hard to argue with Trent Edwards numbers being what they were, they still don’t have enough weapons to really scare anyone. So while the Jets absolutely shouldn’t overlook the importance of winning this game they should use this opportunity to use their players wisely to improve this defense down the road.

So expect the Jets to play it safe with their injured players, but don’t expect them to fall for one of these classic ‘trap games’. Rex Ryan isn’t worried that his team will be caught looking ahead to the Vikings. Ryan said, “That’s what everybody says, it will be a trap game and things. You got to watch this team play. They’re in every game. We know what this game’s all about. Last year, you know, we rushed for 320 yards, lose the game. I don’t think that’s probably never happened in this league. But also threw six interceptions.”

Ryan continued saying, “When you look at, even forget about looking forward to Monday night or something, if we do that, we’ll get beat. What we have to do, like I say, this game, we know it’s a game and a half in my math. Another divisional game, three in a row. We’ll be in first place if we can get a victory. One thing, if we don’t win, we know we won’t be in first place. Doesn’t get any bigger than this. when you look at it, grand scheme of things, Baltimore, Minnesota, those games mean less than playing Buffalo.”

Ryan’s math starts to get a little fuzzy at the end as the Bills aren’t likely to be contending for anything this year and the Ravens most likely will be battling for a playoff spot, but the meaning of his message is right.

Forget that it’s the Bills, it is another division game that could put them in first place in the division, all by themselves, and the Jets need to come out and own this game from the opening kick, regardless of what players can and can’t suit up.

JETS LAUNCH ULTIMATE FAN APPLICATION ON FACEBOOK

On Sept. 8 the New York Jets announced the official launch of a new social sports game that would be available for fans through Facebook. This new application allows fans the unique ability to interact with other fans on the internet to discuss the game, have virtual tailgates and predict game scores. The Jets are the first NFL team to back this new revenue generating Facebook application.

Here is the Ultimate fan application link for all Jet fans to enjoy (http://bit.ly/bSWjS2).

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