Jets LB Jonathan Vilma and his defensive teammates will need a better effort than they had last week in order to bring home a win from Atlanta (Jets Insider.com Photo)
In order for the Jets to have any chance of winning on Monday Night in Atlanta their first task will be to contain the Falcons' explosive QB, Michael Vick.
One of the reasons the Jets have struggled this season is because they fall behind early and have been outscored 30-7 in the first quarter this year. “We always want to get off to a fast start,” QB Vinny Testaverde said. “It’s always better to play from the lead than from behind. The last few ball games, we’ve been playing from behind so it makes it tough.”
Also they have not been able to stop the run game, allowing 129.8 yards per game, 27th in the NFL. The Jets will have a tough task as Falcons QB Mike Vick and RB T.J. Duckett and RB Warrick Dunn can both run the ball. The Falcons are first in the NFL with 185.8 rushing yards per game. ‘It’s great,” Falcons head coach Jim Mora said in a conference call with the New York media today. “It provides options. You have Warrick Dunn who’s having a heck of a year, he’s a certain style of back and you can spell him with T.J. Duckett who’s a bigger man. And you always have the Mike Vick factor. You try to create situations where there is a great athlete going on each direction and people have to figure out where the ball is.”
Vick has carried 40 times for 284 yards and a touchdown this year as well as throwing for over 600 yards and five touchdowns. “I don’t know if you can defend him (Vick), you can’t kind of contain him. He’s going to make plays,” Jets head coach Herman Edwards said.
Jets DE Shaun Ellis said last week’s loss to Buffalo is in the past. “It’s a new game now,” Ellis said. “Of course we have to go out and prove that we can stop the run. It will be another challenge for us to go against a rushing defense like they have. We’ll get a challenge.”
Ellis was asked what the key to stopping Vick is. “Well he can get away from anything,” Ellis said. “He proved that in the past. You get good pressure on him and he can get away, or you don’t put good pressure on him and he can get away. Regardless of what it is, we just have to stay in our lanes, penetrate and just keep him in front of us.”
Depite the defense's struggle last week, LB Jonathan Vilma is no way giving up on the season. "We're 1-1 in our division and that's what counts," said Vilma. "That's the main thing. Winning the division will automatically put us in the playoffs. These games count, they're important and we want to have a good record, but we're still not out of it by any stretch of the imagination".
The Jets have struggled on the road this season. “There’s no secret to what it takes to win on the road,” C Pete Kendall said. “You have to overcome certain things. A large obstacle for us to overcome will be crowd noise. We’re going to play in a dome on Monday night against a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. I’m guessing that the city of Atlanta is going to be pretty fired up. Every team has to play eight games on the road. We all have to learn how to overcome obstacles like that. The other thing, it’s hard to say, but I prefer to play on the road. There are no distractions. From the time you get on the bus the day before until the game comes there are no distractions. You’re not home on Saturday with the wife, kids, the neighbors, in-laws or friends or anyone else. You’re really just able to get away and go focus on the game.”
-Although LB Eric Barton will likely play this week after missing the last two games with a sore ankle, Mark Brown will start and Barton's role will be limited.
-WR Wayne Chrebet with four catches has been virtually non existent in the Jets offense this season. The Coach says it's not that the offense is avoiding Chrebet but it's the lack of time the Jets offense has been on the field. "It's just the way it is", said Edwards. "The way we function on offense when you go three and out. No one's getting the ball". Despite the Coach's explanation, anyone that has seen Chrebet on the field can clearly see he's lost a step.
As mentioned above, LB Eric Barton is probable and should be able to play on Sunday after missing the past two weeks with a sore ankle. RB BJ Askew is also probable and should be ready on Sunday. CB Ty Law still questionable with with back spasms and sat out of practice today. S Oliver Celestin, who suffered an injury to the PCL in his left knee last week, was downgraded to doubtful. C Kevin Mawae, who tore his left triceps muscle and is gone for the year, will undergo surgery next week to repair the damage. CB Derrick Strait (illness) has headaches and did not practice today. RB Curtis Martin (knee) and WR Justin McCareins (knee) were both held out of practice today but should be ready to go Sunday. DE John Abraham has a sore back but practiced today and is not on the injury report.
-QB Chad Pennington (shoulder): Out
-QB Jay Fiedler (shoulder): Out
-RB Derrick Blaylock (foot): Out
-C Kevin Mawae (tricep): Out
-S Oliver Celestin (knee-PCL): Doubtful
-CB Ty Law (back spasms): Questionable
-LB Eric Barton (ankle): Probable
-RB BJ Askew (ankle): Probable
-RB Curtis Martin (knee): Probable
-WR Justin McCareins (knee): Probable
-CB Derrick Strait (illness): Probable
The team returns to practice tomorrow to prepare for their Monday night matchup against Atlanta. Check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest Jets news and a complete Jets-Falcons preview.