Garrett McIntyre : It Starts with Stopping Martin
Follow a lot of the local coverage of Sunday's Jets-Buccaneers season opener and you'd swear the game will be a positional drill decided on how many passes Geno Smith completes to Santonio Holmes against Darrelle Revis. But there's more to it.
Such as how to contain Doug Martin, the Bucs' mighty-mite tailback from Boise State.
"We're really focusing on pursuing the football at practice," head coach Rex Ryan said at his news conference this afternoon. "This back, he runs hard, he runs through tackles."
"He's shifty and he's strong," said OLB Garrett McIntyre, emphasize "strong" as if Martin's just a little stronger than a 5'9", 215-pounder should be. "He reminds me of a Maurice Jones-Drew kind of guy. You've got to gang-tackle him, you've got to swarm, you've got to get 11 Riddells to the ball."
McIntyre will have a big role in that and not just because he's so good with football phrases. With Quinton Coples (ankle) still sidelined, Mac is the starting rush 'backer, and job one for him and the Jets' front seven is to put a crimp in Tampa's No. 22, who last year rushed for 1,454 yards — with more than 1,000 coming in the last 10 games — as a precocious rookie.
"And he had 1,900 yards from scrimmage so he can catch the ball out of the backfield," he said. "If we're going to be productive on defense, it starts with stopping him."
McIntyre's now a grizzled NFL veteran, and it only took him those two Arena League seasons and two CFL seasons before he could get started on becoming a third-year Jets LB. He says he still follows the Hamilton Ti-Cats weekly online, but only because many of his friends are still there, not because he'll need to return there and hit the ground running as a player.
"At this point in my career, I might as well start figuring out what I'm going to do after football instead of going back up there and beating up my body more for less pay," he said. "But it's a great game. I have a lot of respect for the CFL. It's more about being quick, being able to rush the passer. So yeah, it fits me.
"But I can fit in any league. I've seen three different styles of football, and I think that's helped me become the player that I am."
That player that Mac is would love to get to QB Josh Freeman a few times on Sunday, like he did in Game 2 last year when he dropped Ben Roethlisberger twice in Pittsburgh. But those opportunities will only open up if the Jets close down Martin's rush lanes first.
Ivory Assesses His Old Foes
Chris Ivory told reporters he has "no disappointment at all" over Ryan naming Bilal Powell as the starting tailback. "Bilal is a great runner and a very smart guy," Ivory said. "At the end of the day, we're both going to be on the field."
Both will be needed Sunday because Tampa was the league's No. 1 rush defense last year, led by LB Lavonte David and Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy. (But they were 29th in overall defense due to their last-place ranking in pass defense.)
"And they look faster," said Ivory, who used to play the Bucs as a backup RB with the Saints. Then, referencing FS Dashon Goldson being added to the deep middle alongside Mark Barron, he added, "They were already a fast defense and I think those guys on the back end at the safety spot, they look pretty good."
But Ivory knew how to find the cracks in that defense in the past. In three career games vs. the Bucs, he averaged 12.3 carries for 86.0 yards, which calculates to 7.0 yards per carry.
Another emphasis of today's practice was on penalties, as in not committing them. "We're back to doing our pushups," Ryan said. "Last year, I thought, as soon as we did that, the penalties went way down. So we're starting the season rather than waiting till five weeks in or whatever." Actually, the yellow flags stopped falling after our Week 9 bye last year. In the first half of the season the Jets were averaging 6.4 penalties for 59.4 yards per game. In the second half the averages were 4.0 penalties and 29.1 yards.
Holmes (foot) and Kellen Winslow (knee) switched places on today's injury report. Holmes was limited Wednesday but did not participate today, while Winslow went from DNP to limited. This was a planned move for both players by the training staff, "kind of like a pitch count," Ryan said, adding that Holmes "did not have a setback." ... DE Leger Douzable, who was born and raised in Tampa and admits, "I was a Bucs fan because they were the home team, but actually I was a Cowboys fan," is coming back from his illness and was limited at practice.
The Jets have recently had a good defensive team. It has been difficult to put together sustained drives against Gang Green because their defenses have been too effective to execute play after play. The Jets do at times find trouble, however, allowing big chunks of yardage on single plays.
Looking ahead to Sunday's game, there is reason for optimism about the Jets' ability to limit Tampa Bay's ability to move the ball through the air. One of the big strengths the Jets have is at the cornerback position. It is not difficult to imagine this team's corners being able to handle the Buccaneers' receiving corps. It is also easy to imagine Rex Ryan's unique fronts turning Josh Freeman into the shaky quarterback he is. There are no guarantees of course. Freeman might have one of his good days, and the Bucs do have weapons to do damage, but Jets fans can enter reasonably confident.
The bigger concern might be the run defense, and this could be a theme of the season. The front seven of this team is lacking in proven run stoppers. In fact, Muhammad Wilkerson and David Harris are the only two who profile as strong against the run at this point of their respective careers, and that is generously assuming Harris can bounce back from two disappointing seasons.
The play in the middle of the trenches is definitely worth watching. Last year according to Football Outsiders, almost 60% of Tampa Bay's runs were up the middle. The Jets are dealing with unknowns at the nose tackle position in Kenrick Ellis and Damon Harrison. They are also featuring the aforementioned Harris, who looked like a shell of his former self for much of 2012 and Demario Davis making his first career start. Davis' instincts looked lacking in the preseason. He frequently ended up in the wrong place.
The Jets do not want to give Buccaneers back Doug Martin open field to run. The Bucs rated fifth as a team from Football Outsiders in a stat they call open field yards per run, mainly because of how effective Martin is when he has room to run.
This makes what happens in the middle critical. The Jets have to hold their own up front. Tampa Bay will be returning an excellent guard, Davin Joseph to its line after he missed 2012 with an injury. The Jets might catch a bit of a break, though, as his counterpart, two-time All Pro Carl Nicks looks unlikely to play. Davis also must avoid overpursuing and getting out of his lane. Martin only needs a little daylight to make big things happen, and the Jets are going to be starting somebody without much experience on the last line of defense at safety.
For the Jets to win, they have to put the game into Freeman's hands and force him to put together drives. He might be able to do it. He is a Jeckyl and Hyde quarterback who has some very good outings. Against the Jets' pass defense, he might be in for a very rough day, though, if his run game cannot make his life easy. If Doug Martin is Tampa Bay's best player, the Bucs are almost assured to win. Stopping him means the middle of the defense must hold.
Two-minute drill: A chat with Sheldon
We sat down with DT Sheldon Richardson, one of four rookies in the Jets' opening-day lineup. Some of our conversation:
Q: The Jets drafted you 13th overall, with the pick they acquired in the Darrelle Revis trade. You're facing Revis on Sunday. Feel any pressure?
A: (Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman) calls me, 'Spot No. 9, Four Spots Behind.' That was one of my names in training camp. (A reference to top pick Dee Milliner). No, not at all, I don't feel any pressure. I don't worry about what other people think. I wasn't supposed to make it out of junior college. I'm here to do me. I'm here to make my own name in the league. Darrelle Revis is Darrelle Revis. Of course, he's an outstanding lockdown corner, but he still has to show up at games on Sunday.
Q: What do you mean, you weren't supposed to make it out of junior college?
A: People get lost in the shuffle. Guys get beside themselves, egos get to them. I was the fourth overall recruit (in the country) coming out of high school and I went to a junior college (College of the Sequoias in California), so it's a culture shock. You go from being promised all this stuff, this and that ... this is what the school is like ... gorgeous weight room. In junior college, you're living on the floor. It's a humbling experience. Coming out of high school, I was a hot head. You couldn't tell me nothing. I felt I was better than anything walking. I still do, but I do it at a cooler level than that. I used to have problems. People say it's a slice of humble pie. Well, I had the whole pie.
Q: The Jets haven't started four rookies on opening day since 1979. What does that say about this team?
A: There's always time for a change. There's nothing wrong with starting rookies if they're ready, and I believe we're ready. Geno (Smith) had a rough start (against the Giants), but it was one game. Now he has to start again. I told him, 'Let that go, you have to have a short-term memory, go out there and let loose.' He's a good player. He can make every throw on the field. I talked to Dee and told him, 'Do what got you here. Number nine overall, baby.' Gave him some confidence even though he doesn't need any. That's my brother. We were roommates throughout the whole rookie period. We're real tight. Tommy (Bohanon), he's been consistent. I haven't see a day off from him. We're a tight-knit group.
Antwan Barnes Recalls His Very Brady 1st Sack
Rex Ryan spoke today about the mental game that we're about to play against our old foes the Patriots on Thursday night. There's the mental component of getting properly prepared to play on any Thursday after a Sunday game, and the mindset the Jets will need to keep pace with Tom Brady's up-tempo offense.There are the mental hurdles of just trying to get a finger on Brady in the pocket with the way the New England line hermetically seals the perimeter and the eyes that Tom Terrific has in the back of his head.But Jets linebacker Antwan Barnes sees this mental game a little differently than many. He still remembers the first sack of his career well."Actually, it was a big game — it was pretty much our little Super Bowl in Baltimore because it wasn't a good season we were having," said Barnes, recalling his rookie season of 2007 with the Ravens. "That was the year that New England was the big bad boys in town. We were trying to end their winning streak.
"I'd kind of been feeling it the whole night, that I was going to get one, I was going to sack Tom Brady. I was going against probably a Hall of Fame guy in Matt Light. And I was just figuring that I'll see what I can do."On that early-fourth-quarter third-down play, he savored, "I just felt it, went full-speed with it. And it ended up being my first sack."That reminiscence hardly means that Barnes, six years later, is guaranteeing another takedown of the Patriots' impeccable passer. But on the other hand, he said today, "I want to. I'd take another."
And why not ? Since leaving the Ravens, Antwan Barnes has become quite the pass rusher. He had 18.5 sacks in three seasons of mostly situational work in San Diego.
On Sunday he got his first Jets sack on the opening drive of our Sunday win over the Buccaneers, then nearly pounced on an end zone fumble for his first pro score, only to have QB Josh Freeman kick it away at the last split-second for a safety. And Ryan showed video this week of Barnes working his man down the line, enabling CB Isaiah Trufant to come roaring off the edge, forcing Freeman to step up and unload quickly — right into the hands of Dawan Jackson for our first takeaway of the season.Ryan reminds that sacks aren't the only measure of a defense, recalling his first meeting with the Patriots as Jets head coach in 2009, when his "D" hit Brady 23 times but didn't sack him. Nevertheless, the Jets prevailed at home that day, 16-9.But Rex still won't turn down something like the five-sack effort that helped pave the defensive effort in our 2010 AFC Divisional Round triumph at Gillette.
"Yeah, I think we have some guys who can rush the passer, I don't think there's any doubt," he said. "Conventional or otherwise, it's always key to get a pass rush."
Can these Jets get to Brady on Thursday night?
"Of course. Anybody can get to him. You can probably get to him," Barnes told an inquiring reporter. "That's our job, especially mine. My job is to get after him. So that's what I'm going to do."
Our Monday injury report listed WR Jeremy Kerley with a concussion from his Sunday collision against the Buccaneers: "Jeremy's deal was he was cleared during the game to return, then after the game he was cleared," Ryan said, "but when he came in Monday, the trainers looked at him and got another evaluation of him, and determined it was a concussion that he has."
Kerley joined LB Quinton Coples (ankle) and QB Mark Sanchez (shoulder) as players who did not participate in today's midday workout. Ryan said we won't officially announce game statuses for the injured players until Wednesday. But to be prepared in case JK can't go, we re-signed WR Ben Obomanu, who was with us throughout the offseason and training camp and was a final cut Aug. 31. Also, LB Scott Solomon was released from the active roster.
Rex on Coples' rehab: "He’s doing great. It’s really only been, what, three weeks? He’s been attacking this rehab now, I can tell you that much. He wants to get out there in the worst way. Hopefully he’ll be out there in the very near future."
With the first week in the books, the Jets check in at No. 4 with the 250 yards they allowed the Buccaneers. It's very early to make predictions, but Ryan has said he thinks this is a top-five unit, and this ranking marks the 111th week in the last 137, dating to 2005 with the Ravens, that a Rex Ryan defense has placed in the NFL's top 10.
Transcripts of conference calls by Tom Brady on Tuesday and Bill Belichick on Monday with Jets reporters:
PATRIOTS QB TOM BRADY
On what he saw from the Jets defense against Tampa Bay…
They’ve always had one of the best defenses in the league. It’s really a challenge every time that we play them. I think they do quite a few things. They have a lot of different looks, a lot of different personnel packages. They really keep things moving on defense. It’s a good scheme. They’re a very well coached, very disciplined, very smart defense. They don’t make many mental errors. It’s going to be a great challenge for our offense. They rush, they cover, they blitz. The guys have different skillsets. They can all do a lot of things. It’s a very good group.
On how difficult it is to play with injuries on the offense…
Well, I think I have a lot of confidence in the guys that we have on the roster and the guys that have been here all preseason. We’ve had a lot of running backs, we’ve got a lot of receivers that have been there. We’ve got three rookie receivers. Danny [Amendola] did a great job last week, Julian [Edelman] has done a great job. I have a lot of confidence in the guys we’re playing with.
On if it is a strength of his to play with younger players and help them adapt to the system…
I think I’ve just been fortunate to play with a lot of really good players over the years. It’s really up to them to come in and take the coaching and try to do what we’ve asked them to do. The guys that line up, that gain the confidence of Coach Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff for them to be put in the game, it’s not easy to play here. We run a challenging scheme. There’s a lot of terminology. We do a lot with our personnel and formations, shifts and motions and different route combinations. You need to be really a smart, tough player to fit into this offense.
On if he anticipates a more traditional Jets pass rush…
It’s a very good pass rush. The linebackers, when they blitz, they’re good blitzers. The nickel guys are really good blitzers. They’re getting a lot of pressure with just their front. They get a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They’ve had a great defensive line, a lot of depth, it seems. They’re all big and physical, just really good football players. That’s what I’ve seen throughout the preseason and certainly into the Bucs game.
On his negative comments about the Jets in the past…
Well, it’s a very good football team. They have a lot of good players. They’re very well coached, they’re smart, they’re disciplined, they’re physical. They do a lot of good things and we have a lot of respect for them as a team and their coaching staff and the players that play there. We’ve had a lot of players that have come to our team from the Jets. I think it’s a good rivalry and hopefully we can win a really important game in our division.
On the pace of their offense catching defenses on their heels…
We have different forms of our offense and some are fast, some are slow. I think the important thing is that we execute well. I think when we execute well, it doesn’t matter what pace we’re going — we move the ball, we score points. I think that’s really what we talked about and our focus is trying to execute a lot better than we did this last weekend because we’re going to have to do it against one of the best defenses in the league.
On if the Patriots are vulnerable with their injuries…
I think every week we just try to take it week-to-week. We don’t really read what people are saying or thinking. It’s a long season and it’s not even the second week of the year. We’ve only had three regular-season practices. We have so much to go in this season. It’ll all be decided here in the next four months. There’s nothing that we can do about what people may say or think other than go out there and try to play well and we’re going to go try to play better than we played last weekend.
On Shane Vereen’s injury…
Shane’s a terrific player and we really rely on him for a lot of things but we have a lot of other guys that are willing to step in and try to do whatever they’re asked to do. Whether that’s Stevan Ridley or LeGarrette [Blount] or Brandon Bolden or Leon Washington, all those guys are really capable, are tough, competitive guys that look forward to the opportunity. That’s just how pro football is. It’s a physical sport and when guys go down other people have to step in and do the job as well as the previous guy.
On which AFC East teams will challenge them…
I think all three are challenging. I think it’s a strong division. The Dolphins went on the road and won. We played the Bills and they gave us all they could handle. The Jets won their opener. There’s good teams, there’s good young players on every team. There’s established players that are veteran leaders on each team. So it’s a tough division. There is not an easy team that we have on our schedule.
On the Patriots defense…
Our defense has always really tried to complement our offense. There’s games where we haven’t scored many points and the defense has done a great job at limiting the opponents points. Other games where they might have given up points, we try to outscore them. It really doesn’t matter if you win by 50 points or one point, it all counts the same. We try to complement each other as best we can.
PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK (Monday)
On how Geno Smith looked on film…
Yeah, I have seen it and it was good. Good drive that they put together to get down for the first field goal to put them ahead. He made a couple of plays there at the end on the pass over the middle to [Kellen] Winslow and scrambled to set up the second drive. He showed his athleticism and showed good arm strength, good accuracy. He handled the team well.
On Shane Vereen’s wrist injury…
Yeah, I’m not sure where we are on some of the guys after the game. We’ll have to wait until the end of the day to get a chance to catch up with the trainers and all that, so I’m not sure. (Editor's note: Vereen today was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return.)
On how much different the Jets offense looks under coordinator Marty Mornhinweg…
It’s definitely different, the West Coast element in the passing game. They’ve got a few Wildcat plays. There’s some similarities but I’d say there’s some significant differences and there’s some different personnel, so even if the plays are the same, they’re different when they’re run by different people, different guys on the offensive line, tight ends, receivers, quarterback. There’s some significant difference.
On if Jets week is still special…
I think the Jets are a good football team. We’ve always played very competitively with them. I’ve got a lot of respect for Rex [Ryan], his coaching staff, their players, their team. They certainly played well situationally in the game against Tampa. Yeah, absolutely. It’s a division game so it’s always tough.
On having Tim Tebow in the offseason…
He’s not on our roster right now so I don’t really think it’s appropriate for me to talk about someone who’s not on our team. We’ve got 53 other guys we can talk about.
On the challenges of preparing on a short week…
It’s the same for both teams. We both have the same amount of time to get ready for the game. We’ll do the best we can with it to be ready to go Thursday night.
On if he was surprised by how much Smith ran against Tampa Bay…
No, he’s an athletic guy. We saw plenty of that when he was at West Virginia. He can run if he needs to run, he can throw if he needs to throw. I thought he did a good job of both.
On Rob Gronkowski’s injury status…
He’s coming along.
On how Gronkowski is coming along…
On if the Aaron Hernandez situation has become less of an issue over time…
I’ve really said all I could say about that. I don’t have anything to add. I said back in July that we’ve moved on and we’ve moved on.
On if it is more difficult for a rookie to play on a short week on the road…
I think it’s a challenge for everybody this week, for the players, for coaches to get ready. That’s all really what we can worry about is what we can do. We’ll have to shorten our work week, but it’s the same situation we played the Jets in last year on a Thursday game. We’ll take the time that we can, try to get the most out of it in terms of our preparation for their schemes, their players, being able to do what we think we can do to win the game.
We’ll just take it day by day and do the best we can. We’re still kind of in the process of finalizing our game plan and stuff like that tonight. We haven’t fully gotten into exactly what we’re going to do. We just finished with Buffalo. We’ve got some ideas but we’ll have to pull it all together here and try to figure out what’s our best approach.
Well, the Jets won’t be going 16-0 this season after falling to the New England Patriots 13-10 in Foxboro, Mass., Thursday night.
“You always want to win the game,” LB David Harris said. “This is the NFL. Nobody goes undefeated. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win.”Although we ultimately left Gillette Stadium somber in defeat, our defensive effort against Tom Brady and the Patriots was outstanding. The offense converted just one third down on nine attempts in the first half, and they were shut out in the second half. Brady and the Pats had six 3-and-outs throughout the game.
The future Hall of Fame QB completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes (19-for-39, 48.7%) and was held to 185 yards through the air, the first time he was kept under 200 passing yards since Oct. 30, 2011, at Pittsburgh.
Stevan Ridley and the running game were held to 2.3 yards per carry, rushing for 54 yards on 24 attempts. We’re now 2-for-2 in holding the opposition to less than 3.0 yards per carry.
And rookie punter Ryan Allen tied the Patriots franchise record with 11 punts in the game.
The defense dominated throughout much of the game. Unfortunately, however, there was one play on the opening drive that turned out to be the difference in the game.
“You can’t afford mental mistakes against Brady,” head coach Rex Ryan said.
It was third-and-2 on the Jets' 39. The defense seemed to freeze on the play action as rookie WR Aaron Dobson ran right on by all 11 Jets on the field. Brady found his man and threw for a wide-open, easy-as-they-come touchdown pass and an early 7-0 lead.
“He’s an elite quarterback,” DE Muhammad Wilkerson said. “Mistakes were made. We just have to correct those and try to get better.”
In the end, we passed for more yards than the Patriots (189-178), we more than doubled their rushing yards (129-54), we converted more first downs (15-9) and possessed the ball more as well (34:00-26:00). Unfortunately, we also turned the ball over four times and recorded zero takeaways.
“We wanted to come out with that win,” Wilkerson said. “We made some mistakes. They made more plays than us and won the game.”
The turnovers, along with one costly play on third down on the opening drive, prevented the Green & White from walking away winners on Thursday night.
“But we have a lot to build on next week going into Buffalo,” Harris said. “We've just got to learn from our mistakes."
Another strong defensive effort was something for the Jets to hold onto Thursday night. The football was not. Inability to catch the ball — and it was dry the entire first half — is not something to let drop.
The Patriots' offense is struggling. Unreasonable as it seemed to be able to beat Bill Belichick at Foxboro in a rookie quarterback’s second start, the game lay there for 60 minutes and the Jets repeatedly missed opportunities to seize it. It only would have taken 14 points to win the game.
Best player: Demario Davis
Best Play: By Davis on a third-and-1 in the first quarter. He pushed away Marcus Cannon and tackled Stevan Ridley for no gain. Just outstanding
Second Best Play, If It Would Have Been a Play: Dee Milliner was all over Julian Edelman and made a terrific strip for a Jets recovery, but on review the play was ruled an incompletion. That call really could have gone either way and all of them went against the Jets in the first half.
Business as Usual for a Rex Ryan Defense, Part II: After holding the Bucs to two first downs rushing and 68 yards, the Pats ground game — if you want to call it that — had one first down and 54 yards.
Worst Play: The Jets were caught on a blitz on Tom Brady’s 39-yard touchdown pass to the otherwise struggling Aaron Dobson that put the Jets in a 7-0 hole on the game’s first possession. Nobody home. Let the record show the play was not to Milliner’s side, so this apparently was not among the sins for which he was benched.
Tom Brady Frustrated: He was screaming at his young receivers all night.
Best Play: Robert Malone’s punt had the Pats starting at the 4, key to the Jets’ field position that resulted in their only touchdown.
Worst Play: Kyle Wilson fair-caught a punt despite an 8-yard cushion. Wilson, filling in for the concussed Jeremy Kerley, appeared to be taking marching orders from him, too. Sure, the ball was wet, but the Jets never will break one playing it so consistently safe
The New York Jets held Tom Brady to one of the worst statistical games of his career. Surprised? You shouldn't be, according to Rex Ryan.
"Is anybody surprised we play great defense?" Ryan asked Friday. "I mean, that doesn’t surprise anybody. It doesn’t surprise Jets' fans, it doesn't surprise our football team. We’ve got a lot of good fooball players, we’ve got an excellent coaching staff."
The Jets are off to a fast start, having allowed only 30 points over the first two games. Ryan predicted a top-five defense in training camp, and he's not backing down.
"By the end of the year, this team, it could be pretty salty on defense," he said. "I don’t think there’s any doubt about that."
Injury update: Ryan didn't provide an update on DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle), saying he's "not real sure" of the severity, if you can believe that. OLB Quinton Coples, who fractured his ankle in the preseason, is getting close to returning. There's some hope he could play next Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. "We've got to get Coples back," Ryan said. "That's really going to help us." Ryan, sounding more and more like Bill Belichick with regard to injuries, declined to speculate on the availability of WR/PR Jeremy Kerley (concussion).
They need Kerley's punt-returning ability. The Patriots punted a staggering 11 times (registering more punts than first downs for the first time in the Bill Belichick era), but PR Kyle Wilson managed only seven return yards.
Odds and ends: Chris Ivory ran 11 times for 49 yards in the first three quarters, but he got only one carry in the fourth. Ryan said he had no issue with Marty Mornhinweg's play calling in the fourth quarter, claiming they want to remain balanced on offense. They ended up with 32 rushes and 39 pass plays. Said Ryan: "We were pretty balanced. I think that’s the kind of team we want to be. Should we have run it more? It’s easy to say, 'Oh, yeah, absolutely.' But I thought we had good balance." He acknowledged Ivory as running "extremely well."
A fine mess:S Dawan Landry was fined $21,000 for hitting Bucs WR Mike Williams in the head/neck area on his 17-yard TD reception last Sunday. Bucs S Dashon Goldson was fined $30,000 for his hit on TE Jeff Cumberland. S Mark Barron wasn't fined for his shot on Kerley, even though he was flagged for unnecessary roughness. And, of course, LB Lavonte David was hit with a $7,875 fine for shoving Jets quarterback Geno Smith out of bounds.
Has there been any player more worth rooting for more than Damon Harrison? Joining the team in 2012 as an undrafted rookie out of William Penn, Damon simply put his head down and worked hard. Beginning his 2012 as the low man on the totem pole on the 53 man roster, Harrison continued his reign of hard work, earning playing time by the end of the year.
All the while, he has been a guy that loves his family, and stays close to his fans in Jets Nation. Everyone is behind him, and with good reason.
2013 has rolled around and what has Damon done? Has he been content to simply make the 53 man roster? Heck no. He continued to work his rear end off, and has made his game that much better, earning him the start along the line. Karl Dunbar has done wonders with this young man.
And it has paid off in spades. Not only with the eye test, but in the numbers as well.
Per Pro Football Focus, who is ranked #3 overall for defensive tackles with an overall grade of 5.1? That would be Mr. Damon “Snacks” Harrison. With a 6.0 in run defense, Damon Harrison ranks number one, and nobody else in the league is over a four. Needless to say, Snacks has been eating!
Even dropping back into pass coverage, Damon is getting it done, ranked number four with a 0.5 grade. Harrison is becoming a stud, rapidly. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy either, or a guy more deserving than he is.
His dominance began right away, week one against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On the afternoon where the Jets front seven rendered Doug Martin useless, Damon led the way with an overall grade of 2.6. Against the run, he was a stout 2.7 rank, second only to Sheldon Richardson and his 4.5 rating. Dropping back in pass coverage, Harrison posted a 0.5 as well, and didn’t have a penalty called on him.
The other night, against the Patriots, the snacking continued for Damon Harrison. Guess who led the starting defense with a grade of 2.5? None other than Damon Harrison once again. Against the run, he posted a 3.3 grade, the best on the team, with Demario Davis being the only one close with a 2.4 rating.
Damon is, day by day, becoming a guy that teams must plan to stop.
Not only is Damon making his own tackles, he is so tough to move, much like Wilfork, he opens up the lanes for guys like David Harris and Demario Davis to make their tackles. Just like a good nose tackle should.
Damon Harrison is a testament to good, hard work. He is a guy that is accessible to all of his fans, shows himself as just a regular guy, looking to make a name for himself in the National Football League.
For all of the time we spend talking about players that run their mouths, and get in trouble, guys like Damon don’t get enough notoriety. That stops now. Damon deserves all of the credit he gets. Hopefully he will remember all of us when he gets voted All-Pro for the first time.
Glad to have him on our team. His name keeps popping up in a positve sense. Our DLine is awesum this year.
Originally Posted by RMJK
so far...he looks like " a keeper " :rolleyes:
C.J. Spiller stampeded over Jets last year but Bills running back should be in for rougher test this year as Gang Green defense has been tough against the run.
Mike Pettine, who spent four years as defensive coordinator of the NY Jets, hired in same role with the Buffalo Bills
A year ago, in one of the few bright spots of 2012 for the Jets, they beat up on the Bills in a 48-28 season-opening win in what appeared to be an “I-told-you-so” moment for Gang Green at the time. Instead, it was a blip on the radar of an otherwise disappointing year. But one trend from that game did continue throughout the season: The run defense was downright bad.
The Jets surrendered 169 rushing yards to C.J. Spiller that day — a pattern that continued both for Gang Green’s defense and Spiller himself en route to his breakout season.
The Jets finished 26th in run defense in 2012. Through two games this year, there has been a dramatic turnaround in that department. The Jets are tied for fourth in run defense after having stopped two high-end rushers in Doug Martin and Stevan Ridley in the first two games. They’ve allowed just 119 yards on the ground.
“For myself and the defense, just starting off last year, we had Spiller and all those guys run all over us,” Muhammad Wilkerson said on WFAN on Tuesday. “We definitely want to make sure we (place) an emphasis on stopping the run this year and doing it early in the season. Because. . . .that definitely hurt us at the beginning and toward the end (last season).”
At the outset of the season, the Jets appeared to have a weakness at outside linebacker with veteran Calvin Pace flanking one end of the front seven, while Garrett McIntyre manned another. Neither has great speed, so on paper that looked like an issue for the Jets that never materialized in practice. Martin never got going against the Jets. Neither did Ridley. “(With) Spiller, we’ve got to set edges. He’s a quick, fast guy,” Wilkerson said. “We’ve got to set edges and make sure everybody (is) filling their holes, fill in the gaps, don’t let him get any creases.”
Quinton Coples, who had surgery for a hairline fracture in his ankle in the preseason, practiced mostly on an individual basis on Monday, and his status for Sunday is unknown.
When the Jets square off against the Bills on Sunday, a familiar face will be looking back at them from the opposing sideline: Mike Pettine. The Jets’ defensive coordinator from 2009-12, Pettine was a longtime colleague of Rex Ryan. “I don’t like Pettine,” Ryan joked. “That’s a given. But no, it is going to be interesting. I’ve never done it before. He’s kind of a brother, but I’ve faced my twin brother many times, so I think I’m ready for it.”Ryan said there’s no question that he’ll coach up the offense on Pettine’s tendencies, and that he expects Pettine to offer similar advice to Buffalo’s offense. “There’s no question you’re going to do that, but again, when that ball’s snapped, a lot of things happen. It can be something new. There can be something old, something old that looks new, a lot of that type of stuff. So, I just don’t think it’s that easy,” Ryan said. “There’s a little bit of that gamesmanship involved, but it’s just going to come down to execution and things like that.”
X’S AND O’S
Chris Ivory got only one fourth-quarter carry against the Patriots last week despite the fact that he had run well all game.
Dee Milliner. The ninth pick of this year’s draft hasn’t played at a first-round caliber yet, and Rex Ryan benched him against the Pats.
G Vlad Ducasse has played well enough in his first two games, but keep an eye on him: Should Ducasse falter, rookie G Brian Winters is waiting in the wings.
Jets outside linebacker Quinton Coples (ankle) participated in positional drills during the portion of practice open to the media Wednesday.This activity is the most he's done since suffering a hairline fracture to his right ankle Aug. 17. He did work off to the side on Monday.Coples' return could be a good sign for Sunday's game against Buffalo, although we'll get a better idea of his status when the official injury report is released Thursday.
Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (concussion), who missed Thursday's game against the Patriots, was not present during the early portion of practice but eventually came out and did individual work off to the side. Kerley was at practice Monday in a red noncontact jersey.
Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) was at practice and participating in the defensive lineman drills. Wilkerson injured his right ankle against the Patriots on Thursday but did individual work Monday.
Tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) appeared to be practicing despite this being his usual day off. Winslow is on a program where he doesn't practice on Wednesdays to help him get through the week, but his schedule may have been altered due to the team practicing Monday.
Rex Ryan may be looking forward to facing rookie quarterback EJ Manuel on Sunday, but there's another Bill who may cause his team more problems: running back C.J. Spiller.
Spiller sliced and diced the Jets for a combined 325 yards in the two meetings last year, and the Jets will have to find a way to slow him down when the Bills visit MetLife Stadium."He can take the football and put it in the end zone from anywhere on the field," Jets defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman said. "He's dynamic, he's fast, he's explosive, and you have to pay attention to him."
In last year's opener, a 48-28 Jets win, Spiller rushed 14 times for 169 yards (12.1 yards per carry) and a touchdown and caught two passes for 25 yards. The 169 yards are Spiller's career high, and the 194 combined rushing and passing yards are also his career best.
Spiller didn't have as much success in the second game, but he still rushed for 59 yards and caught two passes for 72 yards and a touchdown in Buffalo's 28-9 win. Spiller averaged 7.7 yards per touch last year on 42 touches against the Jets.
"We got to tackle; I think that's the biggest thing," Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie said. "I think he had more than 150 yards on us in the first game of the year, and we didn't do a great job of tackling. That's one thing we have to do. We have to make sure we do a great job of tackling their running backs because C.J. and Fred Jackson can give us some problems."
Several Jets mentioned Spiller's breakaway speed as one of the main reasons he's such a difficult running back to face. The Bills use Spiller in the passing game to get him into open space and will even line him up out wide to create mismatches.
The Jets are confident they have enough speed to match up.
"He's probably one of the faster backs in the league, so you have to be able to contain him," Jets linebacker DeMario Davis said. "We have a lot of speed on defense, so I think if we go out and do what we're coached to do, we'll be able to contain him."
Added linebacker Antwan Barnes: "We got guys that can cover him [out wide]."
The Jets have been stingy thus far against the run, as they have held the Buccaneers and Patriots in check. Tampa Bay's Doug Martin averaged just 2.7 yards per carry in the opener, while New England's Stevan Ridley rushed for 40 yards. The Jets rank fifth in the league by allowing just 59.5 rushing yards per game.
"We've been able to get lined up and do our jobs," Davis said. "The coaches put in great game plans. Any time we're able to get lined up and do what our coaches ask us, we're going to be OK."
With running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller ready to roll into East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, our defense will have to be as tough — and fast — as ever.
“They’re both very capable backs,” S Dawan Landry said. “C.J. is the lightning bolt of that offense. Fred Jackson’s a high-powered running back. Like Coach Ryan said, they’re a two-headed monster.”
If Spiller is lightning, that means Jackson is thunder. The combination of sizzling speed and pounding power makes this duo extra effective.
“They complement each other very well,” DT Damon “Snacks” Harrison said. “You can’t arm-tackle, because these guys run right through that. We’ll have to rally together to make a tackle. If not, it’ll be a long day.”
Through two games, it’s felt like a long day for the opposing teams’ backs, as the Jets defense has been phenomenal. For as good as our rush defense has been, though, the Bills’ rush offense has been equally impressive.
Our 59.5 yards allowed per game ranks fourth in the NFL; their 142.5 yards gained per game on the ground also ranks fourth in the league. Something has to give.
“C.J. Spiller uses his speed to get around the edge,” S Jaiquawn Jarrett said. “We have to do our job as a defense and make sure that we know our assignments, we’re in the right position, and we make the plays.”
However, stopping Jackson and Spiller isn’t as simple as stopping the running game. As LB Demario Davis pointed out, “They have a lot of ways to get those guys the ball.”
That observation can’t be understated. For instance, while the Jets "D" held Spiller to 59 yards on 24 carries in last year’s season finale, the fourth-year Clemson product added a 66-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass. That long reception, along with a 56-yard TD run in the 2012 season opener, made Spiller the first opponent to have two plays from scrimmage of 50 yards or longer against us in the same season since Giants WR Amani Toomer in 1999.
“Up to this point, I would say Spiller’s probably the fastest back that we’ve played,” Davis said, “but I think we have a lot of fast guys who can get to him and take him down.” One of those guys, of course, will be Demario himself, and he’s no slowpoke — just ask Vincent Jackson and the Buccaneers.
While the LBs and DBs could be chasing down Spiller throughout Sunday, the D-line will be absorbing the blows dealt by Jackson.
Snacks can’t wait.
“The power-running teams want to run straight at you, and I love the contact,” the 6’4”, 350-pound DT said. “If I don’t have to move that far, I’m all for it.”
There will be a strong emphasis on stopping Spiller, Jackson and the run game, but the defensive backs have to find a balance between aggressively pursuing the backs and avoiding getting burned on a play-action pass.
“You have to play it honest,” Landry said. “You can’t get suckered into ‘they’re running the ball, they’re running the ball,’ because [QB EJ Manuel] can throw the ball, and he will throw the ball.”
Whether the Bills come out with Jackson the bruiser or Spiller the blazer, the key to success will be playing “Jets-style football,” Landry said, “Assert ourselves early, establish that we’re here to play the game, and just take it from there.”
Jets defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison gobbled up some Q&A from Post columnist Steve Serby.
Q: Who gave you the nickname “Snacks?”
A: [Defensive line coach Karl] Dunbar (chuckle). I came here, I was a bit overweight, so they were encouraging me to lose weight. He actually gave a lot of the undrafted guys nicknames, and “Snacks” was the only one that stuck around. He had a guy he called Lunch Box (chuckle).
Q: How do you feel about your nickname?
A: I hated it at first. Just being a big guy, you’re pretty sensitive about your weight already, so just to be called “ Snacks,” I took it personally at first. After hearing it so much from everybody, it grew on me, and now I love the nickname.
Q: What was the heaviest you’ve ever been?
A: 375, close to 380.
Q: When you signed with the Jets?
A: I was 365 at my heaviest here.
Q: And now what do you weigh?
Q: Do you avoid certain foods now?
A: No. … I started getting heavier because the surgeries I was having on my knee. You’ll sit around for months without being able to move, already being a big guy, and the weight just piled on. I still eat the same things, I just … portion control now.
Q: How many surgeries did you have on your knee?
A: Four, two on each.
Q: Favorite snacks?
A: Butterfingers. I’m a chocolate-peanut butter-type of guy. … If I can’t get the Butterfingers, then I would have to go Snickers.
Q: You would eat a whole bunch of them?
Q: How many?
A: I don’t know, I haven’t really tried to eat a lot of ’em, so I can’t tell you how many I can, but if I were hungry, I believe I could run through quite a bit.
Q: What’s a typical dinner for you now?
A: Anything that they’re serving here [Atlantic Health Jets Training Center]. I try to stay away from foods at home, besides the fruits and the vegetables. Being from Louisiana, we love rice, so anytime I can eat rice, rice and chicken, and throw a few vegetables in there.
Q: How much would you eat in one sitting?
A: The thing was, I didn’t eat as much, but when I did eat, I ate a lot. … I know my favorite thing to eat back then were the hot sausages that you get in a pack. You’ll get eight in a pack, and I would eat all eight.
Q: Where would you get them?
A: From Walmart.
Q: They were big sausages?
A: Yeah, pretty big. I would eat all of ’em with a slice of bread and cheese (chuckle).
Q: But that would be just a snack.
A: No. … If you eat all of ’em with a slice of bread, it fills you up … eight slices of bread and eight sausages.
Q: You don’t do that anymore?
A: No. … I can’t even do it now.
Q: What do you mean?
A: I just can’t eat as much ’cause now, I’m eating breakfast, I’m eating lunch and I’m eating dinner, so I’m not so much as hungry at the end of the day like I used to be because I wasn’t eating breakfast or lunch.
Q: Who’s the biggest eater on the Jets now?
A: [Antonio] Cromartie can put away some food.
Q: Your pregame meal?
A: I stick with breakfast — an omelet and some hashed browns.
Q: One omelet?
A: It’s a pretty big omelet.
Q: Favorite restaurant?
A: Ruth’s Chris.
Q: What are you like on the field?
A: I do a lot of talking, you know. I like to have myself felt, and I like to be heard, especially when I’m doing good. I’m not the type of guy that’ll just run off at the mouth. In college I was, ’cause I was the biggest guy on the field — teams literally feared me. I tried to get in everybody’s head, but coming to the NFL, it’s a lot different. You’re no longer the biggest guy on the field. Everybody’s tough, so I had to calm down some. But now I’m getting back into being myself, ’cause at first I wasn’t being myself. I felt like that was holding me back. So now, I’m letting loose a little more.
Q: Are you a good trash talker?
Q: Give me an example.
A: I would tell you, “It’s gonna be a long day.” Or, if you can’t block me, I’ll tell you, “Your coach is gonna pull you out pretty soon,” or “It’s not your fault, not too many people can block me.” I have to be in the moment. You have up be down there to hear me. It’s very random.
Q : You got guys from the Bucs and Patriots upset? What did they say to you?
A: “Who are you? Be quiet.”
Q: What did you tell them?
A: After they tell me like, “Who are you?” [I’m] like, “Don’t worry about it, you’ll find out in a minute.”
Q: Who’s the best trash talker?
A: Last year it was Bart Scott, but this year I would probably have to say it’s a tie between Demario [Davis] and Sheldon Richardson.
Q : Somebody told me that Quinton Coples was a good trash talker.
A: Yeah, yeah. On and off the field (chuckle).
Q: So how would you rank them?
A: With Coples being back, I think he’ll probably take the crown as No. 1. Sheldon 2 and Demario 3.
Q: Describe your on-field mentality.
A: I try to play angry. I play a whole lot better when I’m angry. I try to do anything just to [tick] myself off.
Q: What do you do?
A: Just tell myself I’m being lazy, or I’m not doing this good enough. It’s the same thing that I’ve been telling myself since I’ve been here — if you don’t get it going, might not be here in the morning. Just any little thing that I could use.
Q: What drives you?
A: My family. I’ve gotten over trying to prove to other people that I’m good enough. As long as I prove it to myself, ’cause I had a hard time doing that last year. That was my No. 1 problem, just the confidence, believing in myself that I could do it, and not being scared to mess up.
Q: Why did you sign with the Jets?
A: My agent, Mark Lillibridge, told me this was the best opportunity for me. I just took his word for it. Shortly after getting here and I saw guys like … they drafted Quinton in the first round, they had Mo [Muhammad Wilkerson], Sione [Pouha], [Mike] DeVito, Kenrick [Ellis]. … I called my agent like, “What the hell are you thinking about?” He told me, no, he really thought this was the best opportunity for me with Coach Dunbar being, he thought was the best defensive line coach in the NFL, I would have a good chance to develop here. So, took his word for it. I worked my butt off, and it paid off.
Q: Does being a free agent give you extra motivation?
A: I told the guys at the time who were following me on Twitter, when I signed with the Jets, I planned on being one of the best free agents in NFL history. And not being drafted kinda ticked me off. It motivated me, gave me a little extra push. I hold a grudge against everybody. … Well not a grudge, just to prove to everybody that they made a mistake by not selecting me. Even the Jets, they passed on me too, so … just proving to myself I belong.
Q: How would you sum up Rex?
A: Great guy, great defensive mind, and he’s a guy that I personally would go to hell and back for, and a lot of guys on the team would. I love the guy, plain and simple.
Q: How did Hurricane Katrina affect your original hometown, New Iberia, La.?
A: We evacuated. It was mandatory, but we didn’t get a lot of the water, but we got the heavy rains and the heavy winds, but it was Hurricane Rita  that affected us.
Q: In what way?
A: Everything that it did to New Orleans, Rita did the same thing to my hometown [Lake Charles], so we were out of place for about three to four months.
Q: Where did you go?
A: First we evacuated to Bunky High School in Bunky, La., for maybe two weeks, and the Coast Guard came and told us we had to go further north. So I got separated from my family then — they went to Shreveport, La., or Alexandria, I can’t remember, and I ended up in Lafayette, La., with my grandfather.
Q: For how long?
A: Over a month.
Q: What was that like?
A: It was hard, but being with my grandfather, it made the transition a little easier. But not knowing how your family’s doing, that was pretty tough.
Q: No cell phone service?
A: I didn’t have a cell phone at the time. I didn’t get a cell phone until my sophomore year at William Penn.
Q: How come?
A: Just couldn’t afford it.
Q: Do you get into New York City at all?
A: No, I hate it, man. It’s too many people, too much stuff going on, entirely too much traffic. Around here, it just seems like everybody has something to do all day, and I just don’t like to be in a rush, man. Just like to take everything slow and take my time (chuckle).
Q: You have three children living with their mother in Iowa.
A: The oldest [Elijah] is not my biological son, but I’ve been raising him ever since he was born. He’s 5. And my biological daughter, her name is Destiny, she just turned 4. And I have another daughter who’s 10 months. Her name is Brielle.
Q: How has fatherhood impacted you or changed you?
A: Elijah came around when I was about 19, so at the time I was fresh out of high school and really didn’t understand it, so it forced me to grow up quicker.
Q: You returned home after Northwest Mississippi Community College.
A: I started working overnight stocking at Walmart.
Q: What did you get paid?
A: I think it was between $11 and $14 an hour, but it was through a temp program so they got a percentage of it.
Q: You did that for how long?
A: I want to say two months. And at the time when I got the call from [CC coach] Steve Miller about the scholarship to William Penn, the same day I got the call from management at Walmart, they wanted to offer me the permanent position. And I was gonna take the permanent position ’cause at the time I was done with football. I got cut from the Middle School team twice, which pushed me away from football for years. Once I finally did do it in high school, thought I had an opportunity, and I was told once again I wasn’t good enough, so at that time it just took all the drive out of me.
Q: How much of a culture shock was Iowa?
A: Man, it was like night and day. Growing up in New Iberia and Lake Charles, I always went to all-black schools. We just didn’t have interaction with people of other races. So when I went to Iowa … man (laugh). I mean, they didn’t have any rap radio stations so I didn’t hear any of the new music. It was something to get used to, I’ll tell you that much, and I had never seen snow before until I got there. For the first two or three days, I wanted to go home. I just hated it.
Q: You were the first in your family to get a high school diploma?
A: I would have been the first ever to graduate from college, I’m three classes shy.
Q: You thought you’d be an NBA player. Who did you admire?
A: Michael Jordan, of course, and my favorite player’s Kobe Bryant.
Q: What position did you play in high school?
A: Shooting guard.
Q: Favorite movies?
A: “The Five Heartbeats” and “The Temptations.”
Q: Favorite actor?
A: Bernie Mack.
Q: Favorite actress?
A: Sanaa Lathan
Q: Favorite entertainer?
Q: Favorite meal?
I love this guy. What a great addition to our team.
Originally Posted by kelly
agreed !...so far,..so good :rolleyes:
Originally Posted by RMJK