Jets-Raiders: 9 Things to Know

Posted Sep 4, 2014

Whiteout, Chant Leader Will Do Their Best to Get Rex's Team Off on the Right Foot vs. Oakland

Rex Ryan let the crowd at last week's Jets Kickoff Luncheon know how he feels about our season-opening game against the Raiders on Sunday and our 2014 season in general.

"I think I've waited all my life to coach this football team," the head coach said. "And it's finally here. We've got what we need, there are no excuses, and it's sitting right in front of us. And believe me, I can't wait to get going."

If that doesn't have you ready to strap on the pads and do battle with the Pride & Poise Boys, then here are nine more things to get you ready for Jets-Raiders:

1. Geno 2.0

Geno Smith has spent an offseason and a preseason preparing for this day and this season. He says he's better than his rookie season, and so do his coaches and teammates. Now it's time to begin proving it. Interesting that his first game this year would come against the team that got him jump-started again last December — coming off a three-game losing streak, Smith completed 16 of 25 passes for 219 yards and ran for a season-high 50 yards on five carries in the 37-27 home win over Oakland.

2. Bumpy Ride for Carr?

Derek Carr, a second-round draft choice this year as Smith was last year, won the Raiders starting job over Matt Schaub off his preseason passing (30-for-45, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 2 sacks, 108.2 rating) and his maturity. Now it's time for the Jets defense to Rex this new Carr. In his five seasons at the helm, Ryan's Jets have faced rookies for the first time in nine games. Their record: 8-1, with the only loss coming at Seattle against Russell Wilson a year before the Seahawks' Super Bowl run.

3. Fans Will Be of Good Cheer

That slice of Jets Nation attending this game at MetLife Stadium have been asked to wear white gear, and they'll also get a white towel at the gate. The players will be in their white jerseys and pants. The idea is a Whiteout to freak out the black-shirted Raiders. TE Jeff Cumberland felt the effects of a similar whiteout when his Illinois team played at Penn State in '08. "You see everyone in white," Cumberland said, "you know they're ready to cheer you on." Speaking of cheering, the fans have spoken and Derek Tabacco will be leading the first J-E-T-S chant

4. The Three Rushketeers

Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell gave hints through the preseason that they're ready individually to hit the ground running. Now the big question: How will Ryan and OC Marty Mornhinweg use them each game? Rex said Thursday it won't be a case of dividing the touches by three. "If somebody's just lighting 'em up, you stay with the hot hand," he said. "But we feel great about all three of those guys, and we will play all three in every game."

5. And Other Debuts

Johnson's not the only new Jet who will get the crowd shouting. WR Eric Decker (Rex: "That was a big get") will  be greeted warmly. RT Breno Giacomini will try to make us forget about Austin Howard — and could get a head start on that against Howard's Raiders (see No. 8) by slowing former Giants DE Justin Tuck. Backup QB Michael Vick has been received well by Jets Nation. Among the rookies, S Calvin Pryor, TE Jace Amaro and WR/PR Jalen Saunders should could pump up the house. Production's the key to keeping the applause coming.

6. Corner Chess Match

Dee Milliner is running but still not practicing with the team. Ryan wasn't committing either way to Dee playing Sunday. "You never say never. He's been with us a while, he knows the system," Rex said. "Even if it would be in a limited role and he can help us ... he's still up as far as anybody knows." But for now the guess would be Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen as the starters trying to keep the lid on James Jones, Rod Streater and Denarius Moore.

7. Slowing the Raiders' Run

To bring about a Carr crash (No. 2 above), the Jets' run defense led by MLB David Harris will need to live up to its track record and expectations against a formidable rushing group. RB Maurice Jones-Drew burned us with a 123-yard game for the Jaguars in 2009. Oakland FB Marcel Reece is the only 100-yard rusher against us in the last 18 games, thanks to his own 123-yard game last year fashioned on his 63-yard touchdown run. And backup Darren McFadden went for 171 in 2011.

8. Austin's Back in Town

Austin Howard, our starting right tackle for two seasons, returns to his former Meadowlands home office, this time as the Raiders' right guard — in fact, at 6'7" and 333, one of the biggest guards in the game. "It was a position where they felt I could contribute to the team," he said. "Quite honestly I didn’t care if it was kicker, punter or whatever. Wherever I can contribute, that’s what I’ll do." Sunday he'll only have to contribute by going up against one of his Cortland dance partners, DE Muhammad Wilkerson.

9. Eastern Exposure

The Raiders have this problem heading East. They've lost their last 13 games in the Eastern Time Zone dating to 2009. They've lost those games by an average of 14½ points. In six of those games they never led. They've also lost their last four to the Jets in the Meadowlands. For all these reasons and more, head coach Dennis Allen decided to fly his team in Thursday, three days, not two, ahead of the game. "We wanted to do something to change some things up," he said. The Jets will try to limit the change to their early arrival.


READ: Rex and the Jets Are All In for White Out
READ: Adams, McFadden Ready to Roll
WATCH: Miller: 'Wilkerson & Richardson Are Stars'
WATCH: Geno's Personal Goals Are 'to Win'
WATCH: Behind Enemy Lines: Oakland Raiders

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