Between the hurry-up offense and the heat, Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has been advising his players to stay hydrated.“Our guys, we’ve played down there before, but I don’t think it’s been this early and it hasn’t been at 1:00,” Pettine said. “I think the forecast is sort of a typical Miami day, 85 (degrees) and a chance of thunderstorms, but we’ll be prepared.”
Even cornerback Darrelle Revis knows to prepare for the heat -- which he will likely have to do, now that he’s been cleared for contact by team and independent physicians after sustaining a mild concussion against the Bills in Week 1."I remember last year, our last game. It was very hot,” Revis said. “I remember me coming out sometimes because it was so hot, and I wasn't feeling well. We understand that. I think guys will do extra conditioning this week."Pettine said he plans to use the full roster to spell starters and keep them fresh -- something that he thinks the Jets are in a good position to do given their depth, especially among linemen. The heat isn’t just from the expected 85-degree temperature, but from the pressure that the defense is feeling as it tries to get back to No. 1."It better be coming,” defensive tackle Sione Po’uha said. “We're not waiting for anything. We want that thing to be here now. ... I think we have the tools to be the defense we want to be."
The defense has played well at times, but not up to its high standards.
"That's what we're looking for, to play a complete game,” safety Yeremiah Bell said. “You have to do it for four quarters, not three, not two. We're still looking to play that complete game."The Jets' defense has struggled to contain perimeter running backs like the Dolphins' Reggie Bush, and gave up 169 yards to C.J. Spiller in the season opener against the Bills.“Speed kills,” Ryan said. “It’s hard to defend. I do think we’re better equipped to play it, with some of the speed that we’ve added. Having LaRon Landry back there running a 4.3 (40-yard dash), I think helps. You know, we recognize it. Some of those things, our technique, we’ve really contributed to those runs. But again, he’s a guy -- with Reggie Bush, you kind of hold your breath a little bit until the game is over because he does have that game-breaking speed.”
The additional challenge is the no-huddle, which means a faster pace and the chaos that comes from speeding up reads. Pettine said it shouldn’t be overwhelming.“They don’t huddle,” Pettine said. “They kind of cluster near the ball, but it’s not one of those where they’re keeping you from (substituting), it’s not super, super up-tempo. I want to say, they’re snapping the ball around anywhere from 15 and 20 seconds left on the play clock. It’s certainly a concern because it’s a 1:00 game in Miami and it’s to their advantage. Having that type of system in South Florida -- you saw the Raiders, I thought (they) faded late. Just look at their first two games, they’ve outscored their opponents significantly in the second half.”And the Jets need a strong finish this week, especially with the 49ers and Texans coming up.
If the Jets want to succeed without injured CB Darrelle Revis, they need to rush the passer a lot better than they did Sunday in Miami. In 36 dropbacks by rookie QB Ryan Tannehill, they recorded zero sacks and only two QB hits.After three games, the Jets have only three sacks -- two by LB Garrett McIntyre, one by NT Sione Po'uha. They need more production out of their primary rushers, namely DE Muhammad Wilkerson and OLB Aaron Maybin.Curiously, they didn't blitz that much against the Dolphins. Based on our film breakdown, they sent 5+ rushers on only eight pass plays, including five out of 21 plays after Revis' injury. That means they were more aggressive after Revis was gone, which was interesting.If they maintain that approach going forward, it'll put a heavy strain on the secondary if the extra pressure doesn't get to the quarterback. Then again, if they stick with a conventional rush and that doesn't work (is there any reason to think it will?), it'll really put pressure on the DBs. It's a Catch-22 without No. 24.
A breakdown of the pass-rushing attempts against the Dolphins :
Wilkerson -- 30 plays
Mike DeVito -- 19
Calvin Pace -- 18
McIntyre -- 16
Po'uha -- 15
Maybin -- 11
Rookie DE Quinton Coples (eight rushes) recorded a QB hit, as did LB Bart Scott (four), according to the press-box stats.
MISSING THE MARK : QB Mark Sanchez was undermined by drops (I counted four), miscommunications with the intended receiver (three) and bad routes (Clyde Gates and Jeff Cumberland ran sloppy patterns on his two INTs), but his accuracy has to improve. Of his 24 completions, I counted 10 that were off-target throws that should've been completed.The biggest miss was overthrowing Chaz Schilens from the Miami 31 during the fourth-quarter TD drive. Sanchez used a pump fake on Schilens' double move, and he was wide open for what should've been a TD. It's the second straight week that he missed a TD from about the same distance (see Santonio Holmes at Pittsburgh).Through three games, Sanchez's completion percentage is 50.5, the worst in the league and the worst start of his career.
STICKING WITH GREENE : After being held under 3.0 per carry for the second straight game, Shonn Greene is taking a lot of heat from fans and media. But hear this: The team has no plans to demote him, and he still will get the bulk of the carries this week against the 49ers.When looking at a running back's per-carry average, it's important to remember how they're used. Powell (4.0) is a situational runner, so his average will be higher. Greene (2.8) is used in short yardage, goal line, the four-minute offense and he faced 10-man fronts on his two runs before the game-winning FG in OT.Let's compare the backs on a level playing field. On first-and-10 runs against the Dolphins, Greene averaged 3.6 (seven carries for 25 yards) while Powell averaged 3.4 (five for 17). Yes, Greene has some poor reads, but the team, looking at the big picture, intends to remain patient.
THINK QUICK, TIM : Tim Tebow had to think on his feet in two critical situations. On a fourth-and-3 from his own 25, Tebow -- the punt protector -- called for a fake, a direct snap to him that resulted in a first down. In those situations, he has the freedom to make that call. On that play, he saw six Dolphins in the box, with seven blockers in front of him. It was a daring decision, but it paid off.Later, on a second down from the Miami 2, Tebow -- now playing QB -- rolled left with a run-pass option. His target, Jeff Cumberland, was covered. Instead of trying to run, he should've thrown it away to prevent the loss.
WEIRD : S LaRon Landry made the big defensive play, scoring on an interception return, but he also missed three tackles. He also exhibited odd behavior on the play in which Reggie Bush injured his knee. Landry came away from the pileup, clapping. Bush's injury gained attention when Pace remarked after the game that "we had to put him on out" after Bush's hot start. On Monday, Pace clarified his comments, saying there was no malicious intent to hurt Bush.
ODDS AND ENDS : DT Marcus Dixon was pancaked by TE Anthony Fasano on Daniel Thomas' 1-yard TD run. The next day, Dixon was released ... On Sanchez's end-zone interception, he was hurt by a sloppy route from Cumberland. He ran too close to WR Stephen Hill, allowing his man (S Chris Clemons) to peel off and make a play on the high fade pass ... LG Vladimir Ducasse replaced Matt Slauson and promptly allowed a half-sack ... The Jets should send a thank-you note to Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. No, not for the timeout on the final play, but because of his pass-happy play calling in the fourth quarter.