The Dolphins, now led by QB Joey Harrington come to the Meadowlands this Sunday.
The Jets return to the Meadowlands this weekend after two big heartbreaks, which include a last minute loss to the Colts at the Meadowlands and then a blowout loss to Jacksonville last week, the third worst loss in franchise history. The opponent this week, the Miami Dolphins who are also coming off two straight losses are in much more turmoil than the Jets are right now.
After a summer of questions as to who would be the starting quarterback for the New York Jets, Chad Pennington has played exceptional for most of the season so far. The Dolphins on the other hand, are in the middle of a quarterback controversy between Joey Harrington and Daunte Culpepper.
Culpepper was benched two weeks ago by head coach Nick Saban. Saban described his reason for benching the former Pro Bowl quarterback, “The number of times that we got sacked and he got hit, I saw a guy who was making tremendous progress to getting back to the player that he was and because of the hits I was afraid that he was not going to be able to sustain and probably get something else, more injured. We need to get his mobility better so he can have the kind of escapability that he once had, and be the kind of elusive player that he once was.”
Harrington stepped in last week and tried to get the Dolphins on the right track but was unsuccessful as the team lost to the Dolphins 20-10. Harrington was 26-41 with 232 yards and 2 interceptions. The good news was that, Harrington was only sacked once in the game as compared to Culpepper who was getting sacked over 5 times a game on average.
The Jets on the other hand, are worried about their running back situation, again. The team is still working by a running back committee, composed of three running backs all trying to get enough carries and yards. Although, RB Leon Washington has started to make a name for himself as he now leads the team in rushing and has yet to start a game for the team.
RB Kevan Barlow was the big acquisition to help the run game, but he has not produced so far. He leads the team in touchdowns, but most of them were from about a yard out. Maybe it’s time to switch to Washington as the starter and use Barlow as a third down back like he was used in his early days in San Francisco.
Head coach Eric Mangini talked about his rookie running back and his performance so far. “He's done a pretty good job with the opportunities he's had. You always try to put those guys in the best position to succeed, whether it be through packages or scheme or whatever it is. I like the way that he's approached things. I think he's done a good job with the chances that he has had. He's made a ton of progress,” said Mangini.
For the run game to be effective as well as the passing game, the Jets offensive line will have to keep the Miami defensive players at bay. Mangini described the Miami defense as “having very good players. They are effective against the run. They are aggressive in terms of the passing game. They create a lot of opportunities defensively.” If players like LB Zach Thomas and DE Jason Taylor are kept back by rookie T D’Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold, the confidence these two players would get would really change the dynamic of the whole Jets offense.
Pennington said that defense across the board does an excellent job and “they understand how to play defense and communicate really well and they've been very successful so far.” Hopefully Pennington and the rest of the offense can crack the Dolphin defense, which is sixth in the AFC in passing yards allowed with 172.2 and fifth in rushing yards allowed with 91.4 yards per game.
- The Jets lead the all-time series against the Dolphins, 41-38-1 including 24-16 against them at home.
- Turnovers win football games: in the last 21 games, the team that has won the turnover battle has won the game 18 times between these two teams.
- Since 1970, the Miami Dolphins have the best record in the NFL at 348-207-2, while the Jets have a 245-320-2 record during that same span.
- The Jets defense will have to step up this weekend as it looks like Miami will try running the ball more to help RB Ronnie Brown gain confidence. The Jets will need to stop the run because they are getting killed in first downs allowed. The Jets have allowed 117 first downs this season why only achieving the feat 89 times in five games.
New York Jets
-FB B.J. Askew (Foot): Questionable
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-WR Laveranues Coles (Calf): Questionable
-WR Tim Dwight (Thigh): Questionable
-RB Cedric Houston (Knee): Questionable
-OL Pete Kendall (Thigh): Questionable
-OL Trey Teague (Ankle): Questionable
-DL Dave Ball (Hand): Probable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Calf): Probable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Probable
-OL Anthony Clement (Shin): Probable
-DL Bobby Hamilton (Knee): Probable
-FB James Hodgins (Knee): Probable
-OL Adrian Jones (Thigh): Probable
-CB Justin Miller (Hip): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-S Kerry Rhodes (Thigh): Probable
-TE Sean Ryan (Chest): Probable
-WR Brad Smith (Thigh): Probable
-S Eric Smith (Knee): Probable
-DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (Knee): Probable
-RB Leon Washington (Hip): Probable
-WR Marty Booker (Chest): Doubtful
-QB Daunte Culpepper (Knee): Doubtful
-CB Travis Daniels (Knee): Questionable
-TE Justin Peelle (Knee): Questionable
-LB Derrick Pope (Hamstring): Questionable
-TE Randy McMichael (Ribs): Probable
Game time is at 4:15PM on Sunday, local TV on CBS 2 and local radio on 1050 ESPN radio and WCRN 104.3 on Long Island. Be sure to check back to JetsInsider.com after the game for a complete recap!