Jets Offensive Line Up to Challenge
Kevin Mawae and the Jets offensive line needs to step it up this week against the Ravens. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
When the Jets take the field Sunday in Baltimore, the Jets offensive line will be key. They will need to open up holes for RB Curtis Martin as well as protect QB Brooks Bollinger, allowing him time to find his receivers.
With Bollinger starting his first NFL game, Martin will be relied upon heavily. The Jets are 24th in the NFL, averaging 81.3 yards a game.
“I think you have to look at the running game in the context of the whole offense,” LG Pete Kendall said. “If you can’t run it, you’re going to have trouble throwing it. If you can’t throw it, you’re going to have trouble running it. We have to function better as an offense in both aspects in order to see improvement in either.”
Despite Martin playing with a bruised right knee last week in the loss to Jacksonville, he still saw the majority of the carries. “Curtis is going to carry it until he’s tired,” Kendall said. “That sort of seems to be the way it’s going to go around here. Some teams do it to where they have a feature back and a complimentary back; some teams do it where the have a two backs that get equal touches, whatever way works is the best way. Right now it seems like Curtis is going to be the one that gets the lion’s share of the carries.”
WR Wayne Chrebet wants to see #28 carry the ball. “He’s been the best player on offense for the last couple years, so you definitely want to get the ball in his hands as much as possible,” Chrebet said. “I’m sure the defense is aware of that as well. He’s not going to be able to touch it every down, so everybody has to do their part.”
The Ravens have been known for their defense but they have struggled, being outscored 49-17. Baltimore is 0-2 coming off their bye week and eager for a victory.
Jets C Kevin Mawae was asked about Baltimore stacking the box against the Jets. “Well, they can do whatever they think they need to do,” Mawae said. “I think we’ll be ready for it. They’re a good defensive front, and obviously Ray Lewis is all-world LB with the Ravens. He’s going to make plays and do his dance, and we can’t worry about that. We’re going to go out there and will block the players we’re supposed to block, and protect as best we can to let our guys make plays whether it’s Curtis (Martin) or Laveranues (Coles) or whoever it may be.”
Mawae talked about Bollinger’s progress. “He’s doing well,” Mawae said. “From what I’ve seen on film and talking to him between plays and after practice, we feel confident in where he’s at and that’s what you want to see. You want to see the QB have a little confidence in what he’s doing and doesn’t look skeptical. He’s not feeling that way at all and I feel pretty good about it.”
Chrebet said he has seen the confidence from Bollinger. “There’s no hesitation,” Chrebet said. “He gets in the huddle, calls the play and basically goes right into the role of leader. He doesn’t shy away from it and that’s the kind of guy you want leading your team on Sunday.”
If Baltimore is able to contain Martin, Chrebet is not worried if the Jets have to air it out. “He (Bollinger) has a real strong arm,” Chrebet said. “He can throw the ball real well down field with good zip on it.”
The leader of the Ravens defense is LB Ray Lewis and Jets LB Jonathan Vilma has drawn comparisons to Lewis. Vilma is looking forward to catching up with his friend. “I definitely want to see him,” Vilma said. “Of course I want to win the game, that will be the first thing on my mind, but after the game it will be nice to talk with him and Ed Reed.”
Vilma talked about watching tape of Lewis and applying it to his own game. “Lining up, technique and things like that and doing consistently, play after play,” Vilma said. “He doesn’t make bad reads, he gets after it, he’s always around the ball and things like that you can always pick up things from him.”
Ravens RB Jamal Lewis has run for just 57 yards in two games. “It’s definitely not his fault that he’s off to a slow start,” Vilma said. “He looks good, explosive and quick but they’ve had to pass the ball a lot more. In this game, obviously, they want to get him off to a good start.”
While the Jets are 1-2, they are not going to give up on the season. “The rule is that you have 24 hours,” Mawae said. “ After a loss, or anything, you get ready for the next game. We’re beyond that now and we have 13 games we still have to play, still plenty of ball games left. The season’s not over. If people want to write us off now that’s fine, but we know we have a long way to go and I think we’re going to accomplish our goal.”
FB B.J. Askew (ankle), QB Chad Pennington (shoulder), QB Jay Fiedler (shoulder), and LB Eric Barton (ankle) are all out. T Jason Fabini (knee) practiced for the first time this week today and remains questionable. DE Shaun Ellis (knee), DE Trevor Johnson (head), DT James Reed (shoulder), and FB Jerald Sowell (ankle) all practiced today and remain probable.
-QB Chad Pennington (shoulder): out
-QB Jay Fiedler (shoulder): out
-FB B.J. Askew (ankle): out
-LB Eric Barton (ankle): out
-Jason Fabini (knee): questionable
-DE Trevor Johnson (concussion): probable
-DE Shaun Ellis (knee): probable
-FB Jerald Sowell (ankle): probable
-DT James Reed (shoulder): probable
The Jets return to practice tomorrow. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest NY Jets news.