Attacking the Patriots
Florham Park, N.J.- There’s no disputing the fact that the Patriots are an offensive juggernaut with a young improving defense, but contrary to popular opinion the Patriots are not invincible.
Last Saturday Rex Ryan proved he wasn’t afraid to think outside of the box and tweak his typically ultra aggressive style of play to combat Peyton Manning’s strength. Sunday Ryan will face the much tougher task of drawing up a blueprint to beat the Patriots.
The exact game plan of Ryan and Schottenheimer will not be known until game time, as they will make sure to be coy when discussing said topic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take an educated guess as to how they might construct a plan to escape from Foxboro with a win.
Let’s start with how the Jets feel about the idea that the Patriots ran the score up on them the last time these teams met.
“Yes, just like we would do if we’re ever in that situation. We’d try to do the same thing. We’d pour it on them. It’s our job to stop them.” Ryan said, “What are they supposed to do? Kneel on it when there’s 10 minutes left in the game?”
“You’re a competitor, you’re playing a competitive game, if you don’t want him to do it, stop him.” Dwight Lowery said, “It’s kind of like that, I don’t recall any of that (Tom Brady showboating) happening, but at the same time if you don’t want it to happen and you don’t want to see it, then we got to stop him from getting to the end zone.”
There are other members of the Jets who took the beat down much more personally, but both Ryan and Lowery hit the nail on the head. If they don’t want to see Brady celebrating then it’s up to them to stop him. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether they will succeed or not, but the Jets will be much better prepared than they were last game.
Pressure Brady up the middle – Pressure coming from the edge is never a bad thing, but it can be all for naught against Brady. Brady is effective at feeling the outside pressure and stepping up in the pocket to deliver the perfect pass.
The Jets must get to Brady through the middle of the o-line and force him to step up into them. Brady gets uncomfortable when you attack him from the inside and force him to dance around. The Jets will be looking to knock Brady right out of his Uggs Boots and ‘Finish him!’ “Mortal Kombat,” style.
Hands Up/Flood the Middle of the field- The Patriots passing attack is all about dinking-and-dunking their way down the field with intermediate routes. The best way to stop this is to disguise blitzes and drop coverage back to flood the middle of the field and have the d-lineman and linebackers come off blocks to get their hands up and knock down those short passes, disrupting the rhythm of the passing game.
Bump, then bump some more and run- Especially Cromartie, when Cromartie bumps his receiver at the line he becomes an elite level corner (not Revis elite, but still pretty damn good), when he plays off he becomes a turnstile for receivers to casually beat with ease.
“I mean Rex didn’t really say nothing to me, he didn’t even have to say nothing to me.” Cromartie said about the touchdown pass to Garcon, ”I went to Rex and just told him, I screwed up, I wasn’t deep enough and that’s something that I take blame for.”
By now you’ve probably heard that Cromartie has upped the ante by firing some verbal shots in Brady’s direction. Cromartie is sick of watching Brady celebrate and wants to make sure the, “ass—-,” as he described Brady, doesn’t get to celebrate on Sunday.
“That’s what I think about him.” Cromartie told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News, “I don’t give a damn about him. I don’t have to play against him I have to play against the receivers.
“Yeah, but if I beat the s— out of his receivers, he can’t throw the ball.”
Easier said then done, but it’s a recipe for success we have seen work all season long, now the Jets just have to stick with that game plan.
Play fast and physical- Those were Ryan’s words, but clearly he isn’t the only one thinking that way.
“We just, as an entire team didn’t play well. I watched the film of the last game and we were getting pushed around, I mean there was stuff that was happening that you don’t (normally) see from our defense.” Lowery said, “Obviously they were jacked for the game and stuff like that, but I think a different team will show up this week.”
Bait the Pats to run, but clamp down- Disbar the law-firm of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and destroy that awful nickname, yeah we get it his name sounds like on of those cheap knockoff late night infomercial law firms, now the Jets must make him look like a cheap knockoff running back. Green-Ellis isn’t the only back the Jets have to worry about, as they certainly don’t want to see Danny Woodhead hurt them, or they might not ever hear the end of it.
The Jets dared Manning to run to keep him from passing as much and you can expect the same thing Sunday, throw the bait to make them run, then use the superior rushing defense to clamp down and get the ball back quickly.
Use Revis in different ways, blitz him and other suprises- Use Revis like the Packers use Charles Woodson. The Patriots use so many different receivers taking away just one option won’t be enough so Ryan must get creative with the way he choose to use his top corner. Don’t be surprised to see Revis line up in press coverage then break off and blitz trying to catch Brady by surprise.
Blitz him sporadically, drop him into zone coverages and of course match him up one-on-one on plays. The key here is to use him in a multitude of ways, Revis is too much of an impact player to simply give Brady the option of ignoring him. If Brady can’t identify what Revis’ coverage is, he will be forced to worry about him.
Very similar to the second-half against the Colts. The only thing that was wrong with that game plan was that it took them until the second half to implement it. The Jets must use a similar plan and use it immediately, they can’t afford to fall behind by more than double digits at anytime.
Ground-and-pound, then pound some more- Here’s an idea for starters, how about not opening the game in shotgun and empty back formations? Shonn Greene must enter ‘Beast Mode,’ and LT must continue being LT, using his quick evasiveness to shift pass defenders and pick up chunks of yardage.
It’s been said all season, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less true, the ground and pound philosophy is the key to this Jets offense. A productive running game puts the Patriots on their heels and opens up the passing game. Most importantly it keeps the clock running with Brady on the sideline limiting their chances to score, just like they did to Manning last week.
“Yeah, that’s another weapon of ours and we think we can do that with our running style, with me and LT going back and forth.” Greene said about their ability to eat up clock, “Then our offensive line pounding it and Mark making completions here and there, it should be a tough task for us, but I think we can get it done.”
Short quick passes, slants and out routes- Give the Patriots a taste of their own medicine. Use short intermediate routes over the middle to boost Sanchez confidence, get him in a rhythm and open everything else up, using Dustin Keller will go along way to doing just that.
The steady mixture of early passes and a healthy dose of ground and pound will do wonders for the Jets offense. At times this season opponents have said the Jets offense was predictable, this hasn’t been the case in recent weeks, but it absolutely can not be the case this week.
Last, but not least, the Jets need to get the ball into the end zone, they can’t settle for field goals, Brady will find a way to come back and beat them if that happens.
There’s a lot of moving parts to this game plan, but it’s the start of a plan to effectively beat the Patriots. Everything previously mentioned will be crucial to the Jets success or failure, the most obvious thing the Jets need to do is make sure they don’t fall behind early, because once the Patriots get a sizable lead, it’s all she wrote.
The Jets face a tough challenge on Sunday, but they believe this time when it counts most, they will get the job done. On Sunday we shall see if they’re right.