FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — We hear it all the time in sports. A team comes into action a decided underdog, with absolutely no shot to win, right?
Well that’s the circumstance that the New York Jets come into week 2 with. Facing an angry and talented Green Bay Packers team on the road coming off a humbling week 1 mauling at the hands of the defending Super Bowl Champion, Seattle Seahawks.
“The goal is to go out there and put together some long drives and especially against a good quarterback like Aaron.” Geno Smith said, “You want to keep him on the sideline, so it’s going to be critical for us to do well in the first and second battle.
“We run the ball well and we play defense (well), so I think those things travel.”
If the notion of public forecast holds true, all signs point to the Jets not being 2-0 come Sunday night.
Going off conventional thought and how Gang Green performed last season, it’s hard to predict which Jets team will show up or how the final outcome will emerge. Last year the team essentially alternated winning and losing for the first nine weeks of the season en route to an 8-8 record.
This year? The overall offensive talent level is up around Geno Smith but now the state of the secondary as talked about throughout camp and into the season is the biggest question mark and mystery on the team.
In week 1, the Jets were the better team and were expected to win but survived a Raiders team starting a rookie quarterback in his first career start by failing to deliver the trademark ‘knockout blow’ until late in the contest.
The thought is, if the Jets play in a similar fashion as they did on Sunday against an explosive Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay team it would be a rough outing out at Lambeau.
“I wish there was just one thing about him so we’d be able to target it,” Ryan joked. “It’s tough to sleep this week as a coach…having home-field advantage with the noise would be a great equalizer.”
But under Ryan’s tenure, the team is no stranger to being counted out. But if they play like they did against the Patriots as an underdog in week 7, who knows?
“Excellent practice today, so we’ll see what that all means on Sunday.” Ryan said, “But really communication was good and competition outstanding with guys getting after it, a few brush-ups and very spirited”
Despite there being no sign of tight end, Jeff Cumberland, earlier this week, who has been dealing with an achilles’ issue and cornerback, Dee Milliner, doing positional drills with the rest of the defensive backs backpedaling with breaking, turning and catching; both had signs of progress today stretching and doing conditioning drills at practice today.
“I’m very optimistic. (I) just have to get out there and, like I said, do what they tell me to do, just keep working… and if I feel good, I’ll be out there,” Milliner said regarding his status for Sunday’s game.
“It’s an injury, you have to take it easy, be cautious. Be careful with it because if you rush it and come back too fast you can hurt it again and just cause more pain and heartache on the injury you already have.”
After practice Ryan said he felt “pretty confident” that Milliner will play on Sunday afternoon.
Ryan alluded to tackling well, awareness on screens and for the deep ball as points of emphasis for the team heading into their first road test of the year.
A unique technique at practice with the Jets using music to simulate potential crowd noise that they’ll face at Lambeau. Defensively Ryan said, a lot of the task to being prepared for what’s to come will be on the shoulders of David Harris and Laron Landry.
The duo is expected to quarterback the defense against the uptempo onslaught that comes with Green Bay’s no huddle on Sunday.
“We have to be prepared for it you know, making sure with the communication everyone’s getting the calls and we read the plays because they line up quick and snap the ball up quick,” said Safety Dawan Landry. “We have to be on our p’s and q’s.”
And don’t think for one second the Jets have banked on Aaron Rodgers only using on side of the field as he did in the NFL kickoff to avoid Richard Sherman.
“We know they have a pair of very capable receiving corp in Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb… They have big play potential so we’re going to have to execute and play our style of football,” Landry said.
Reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, Eddie Lacy, is set to return after leaving the Packers opener in Seattle with a concussion. The Jets held the Raiders to a mere 25 yards on the ground and seek to established their mark as one of the league’s top run-stuffing units.
“Each week presents it’s own challenges. (Lacy’s) a hard guy to bring down and combined with that passing offense brings its fair share of problems,” said Linebacker Calvin Pace.
“He’s a good power back but he’s a spinner too, so a lot of times he’ll spin great tackles and you have to work that,” said Ryan.
“Most big backs are just boom straight ahead and they don’t dodge it, not only will he finish runs but he doesn’t dodge contact.”
Bottom line for Sunday’s tough task –
“On the road you have to start fast and don’t give up big plays that lets there crowd gets into it,” quipped Pace.
The Jets worked out free agents this week including two veteran guards — Doug Legursky (most recently of fellow divisional rival Bills and Jeff Baca of the Vikings)
Legursky has been in the NFL for five-years and started 11 games in the 2013 season for the Bills
Baca was a sixth-round pick of the Vikings in the 2013 NFL Draft: both may be backup options in the event of an injury at the guard spot behind Brian Winters and Oday Aboushi
Limited in practice: D. Milliner (Ankle), J. Bush (Quad), W. Colon (Calf)
DNP: A. Edds (Hamstring)
Practiced full: I. Enemkpali, J. Cumberland
Coach Ryan was disappointed in some of the practice’s squad performance saying that some of they guys weren’t quite prepared and need to prepare as if they are going to start each week
On rookie tight end Jace Amaro – Ryan responded he’s going to be a major part of our offense and fairly soon