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EA Q&A: D has to Step Up Against the Run

Posted Sep 27, 2012

If you watched “Jets Talk LIVE” on Thursday, you found out first that DE Mark Gastineau and WR Wesley Walker will enter the Jets Ring of Honor at halftime of the Jets, Texans Monday night showdown on October 8.   But before we get to the Texans, the Green & White have a tough matchup on Sunday afternoon vs. the San Francisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium.

We have a lot of topics to cover in today’s “Q&A” and please remember to watch “Jets Replay” Sunday afternoon as we’ll start 30 minutes after the Week 4 contest concludes.  Lastly “Fan Friday” is tomorrow and I’m collecting your matchup/prediction entries.

Tony
Milford, CT

Q: Hey Eric, first-time writer here.   Since the Revis injury has cost the Jets a big piece of the puzzle, who do you see stepping in for him?   I don't think Kyle Wilson is up to the task.   What about them signing someone like Bryant McFadden or bringing someone off the practice squad — like a Josh Bush or Antonio Allen?   I know they usually play safety but with the physical nature that Revis plays with, do you think they can help the team in press coverage?

EA: Everyone has to step up their games in the backfield.  The Jets believe Antonio Cromartie, who is as physically talented as any cornerback in the NFL, is a No. 1 CB.   Well you are the No. 2 if Darrelle Revis is your teammate, but that changes starting in Week 4.  Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine need the “good Cro” all the time and the Jets drafted Kyle Wilson in the first round for a reason.  He will become the No. 2 guy on the outside and this is an opportunity Wilson has waited for.  He’ll get some help over the top, but we’ll find out a lot about Wilson in 2012.

Good point about Revis’ physical play, but Allen is a safety.  He belongs at S and it would not be wise to move him to the active insert and place him at corner.  The Jets do like Bush’s coverage potential and he was a ballhawk at Wake Forest, but I don’t see a position switch for him back to corner either.  And as I mentioned Tuesday, the Jets are going to start using Joe McKnight more at corner.

Vincenzo
Brooklyn, NY

Q: Eric, love your Q&A.  It is time for the Jets to wake up and dump Sanchez... When do you think Rex will go to Tebow and finally bench Sanchez?

EA: Sanchez is the best quarterback on this team.  The Jets are 2-1 and 2-0 in the AFC East.  Now is not the time to even consider a quarterback change.  I want to see how effective Sanchez will be when TE Dustin Keller finally returns to action.   DK should give this offense another dynamic and he is Sanchez’s security blanket.

I have to think Sanchez’s 50.5 completion percentage is eating away at him and that has to improve.  Yes there have been drops and Stephen Hill has looked raw at times, but Sanchez has to be more accurate with the rock.  He continues to be a gamer though and you need that it in a signalcaller. 

Zach
Meriden, CT

Q: EA, what's going on with the front office of the Jets?  We are extremely thin at TE and there was/is some decent names out there Kellen Winslow, Chris Cooley and no try.  The same goes for RB Ryan Grant and WR Jabar Gaffney.  Are we sitting there looking for a big splash like when we got Braylon or do they think the team can win and win in the playoffs with the way things have been going?

EA: I don’t see any big in-season splashes on the way.  The problem at tight end is Keller has been down and the Josh Baker summer injury went under most people’s radar.  Jeff Cumberland, who is the Jets No. 2 tight end, should improve from this experience but he’s obviously learning.  He may have run his defender into the Jets’ second interception down in Miami and he seemed to fail to recognize a Pittsburgh third-down blitz in Week 2. 

The Jets are trying to get younger and better, and I don’t know if Cooley and Winslow fit that description.  If Keller (hamstring) is back this week and that is Rex Ryan's expectation, that would be a huge boost.


Jihyun
New York, NY


Q: Eric, what's up with Bart Scott? Am I missing something or is he getting pushed around a little too much?  I would like to see more production out of our linebackers.  Thoughts?

EA: The whole defense has to do a better job of stopping the run.  It is so jarring to see the Jets ranked 28th in rush D (148.7 yards per game) and 27th in yards per attempt (4.6).  As far as the Madbacker is concerned, I thought he was near dominant against the Steelers.  He has been credited with 18 tackles (10 solo) in three games and you see him coming out a lot in third down situations.  Scott lays his body on the line every week and he takes on blockers with ferocity.  I would disagree that Scott is getting pushed around.  The Jets don’t have blazing speed with the starting ‘backers and it’s not a young first group.  Calvin Pace told me the defense can play better and a lot of it has to do with playing sound technique football.  I expect improvement against the run.

Brian J.
Wappingers Falls, NY

Q: Hey EA! With Revis out, I know a lot has been made to determine if the pass rushers or the DBs need to step up more. What more can be done?  It looks like we don't have a front 4 that can get any kind of pressure.  And without Revis, we really can't afford to be blitzing as it's unfair to put such a heavy load on our CBs.  Kyle Wilson has made strides but doesn't seem enough to be a #2 CB. Cromartie plays great when he's covering a #2 receiver with Revis on the other side of the field.

EA: The Jets scheme perhaps better than any team in the National Football League and you can be sure Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine are developing a sound plan this week.   The opponent Sunday is the San Francisco 49ers and even though Alex Smith is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes, the Niners average 141 yards per game on the ground and Frank Gore is gaining a healthy 5.9 yards per clip.  If the Jets can’t stop the run, they’re going to be in big-time trouble. 

Harrison
Columbia, MD

Q: With Revis out, Kyle Wilson will get playing time.  But will Ellis Lankster?  Also when will we wear our old 1960 Titans jerseys?

EA: Lankster will definitely see his role increased.  The Jets are high on him and he assumes the role of No. 3 corner.  Isaiah Trufant will get more run and Joe McKnight is the X factor.

As far as the Titans jerseys are concerned, there are no plans to wear those jerseys this season or in 2013.

Bob
North Attleboro, MA

Q: EA Q&A = best blog on Jets. I believe a good pass rush will be the best way to improve the pass D without Revis. That's the way the Buddy's Chicago D did it.  So what do you think of Maybin's performance so far?   Also very concerned with McIntyre in space.  He was lost on that screen pass that Revis got injured on.  I think we need to use more 4-3 with Coples as rush end.  It seems that Sione is not at 100% yet, what is his condition?

EA: I don’t want to make too many comparisons to the Bears defense because that was different personnel.  We all know it’s in the Jets DNA to blitz, but they’re going to continue to mix it up week-in and week-out.  This will be a learning process without No. 24 for some time and you have to see how guys respond — game plans are all opponent specific.

Coples will get more opportunities — especially with Marcus Dixon gone.  Coach Ryan said the North Carolina product had his best practice on Wednesday.  Aaron Maybin is the DPR (Designated Pass Rusher) and he acknowledges that he has to step up his production.  Garrett McIntyre is a powerful man who can get to the QB, but he is not great side-to-side and in coverage.  Bryan Thomas was re-signed and you would expect he will return to the starting lineup on Sunday.  NT Sione Pouha is not a complainer and he is as professional as they come, but I think he is playing through a lot of back pain right now.  The National Football League is a 100 percent injury league. 

Black Dynamite
New York, New York

Q: Is moving McKnight to CB an act of desperation, a shrewd move, a sign of weakness or a sign of a lack of confidence in Lankster/Wilson/Trufant?

If I'm the Niners, I smell blood in the water. Rex said Wednesday he is fine with his "back end.”   If that were really the case, he wouldn't spend the week training Joe to do the job he pays others to do. Agreed?

EA: McKnight wasn’t seeing the field on offense, so I don’t see it as an act of desperation.  Listen I don’t expect him to be play 15-20 snaps right away, but you can’t question McKnight’s athleticism.   Let’s see how this develops.

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