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EA Q&A: A Look at 3rd and 1

The Jets will honor Dennis Byrd with the retirement of his No. 90 jersey at halftime Sunday.  Byrd, a Tulsa product who was a second-round pick of the Jets in 1989 and racked up 27 sacks in his first three seasons, suffered a career-ending injury against the Chiefs but later walked on to the Meadowlands field 10 months after many thought he would never walk again.

As Byrd told the Jets before their upset of the Patriots in the Divisional Playoffs back in 2010, "Make today your day."  

(Programming Notes:  We will return with another Q&A on Thursday, so fill out the form and get your questions in.   I am also collecting comments for "Fan Friday" as you deliver your key matchups for Jets, Dolphins and we'll publish a few.  Lastly, we have a ton of live video content on the way as Jets Talk LIVE will air not only in our regular spot this week — 3:00 PM Thursday, but please join us for a special JTL next Monday as we look back at the season's first half.  And Sunday following Jets, Dolphins, "Jets Replay" will recap Week 8 action with player guests, stat analysis, fan questions and much more.)

Without further ado, let's get to the Q&A.

Andrew K.Waleska, GA

Q: Why in the wide world of sports would we pass on 3rd-and-1 from the 2-yard-line when we have Shonn Greene (7-7 in such situations) and Tim Tebow (unstoppable from the 2) — especially when Sanchez is only a 50/50 chance? Seems like really poor play-calling.

Michael P.Staten Island, NY

Q: What was Tony Sparano thinking on that 3rd-and-goal in the 3rd quarter? That slant wasn't working all day. Am I wrong?

EA: Trailing 16-10 to start the third quarter, the Jets got the ball and advanced from the NYJ 32 to the NE 11 as Mark Sanchez completed all three of his passes for 45 yards and Shonn Greene ran four times for 12 yards. 

On a 3rd-and-1 play from the NE 34, the offensive line got a good interior push as Green powered his way for two tough yards.  That set up a beautiful play-action pass from Sanchez to Dustin Keller as the TE beat Jerod Mayo down the seam. 

On 1st down from the 11-yard-line, Greene trucked his way for a six-yard gain.  Then Greene got two yards to set up 3rd and a long 1 or 3rd and a short 2 from the NE 3.

The Jets were in a three receiver set as Sanchez operated out of the shotgun formation.  They had a bunch formation on the right hand side as Jeremy Kerley was in the slot on the line, flanked behind by WR Stephen Hill on the right and TE Dustin Keller on the left.   Chaz Schilens was away from traffic and he received man coverage from Kyle Arrington.  That was the matchup the Jets wanted because Sanchez never looked right.

As Rex Ryan said Monday, the coaching staff makes calls in order for the players to be effective.  The Jets have faith with the ball in Sanchez's hands and faith in the running game as well. 

If the Jets complete that pass to Schilens, then it's brilliant play-calling.  They didn't execute.  Now before you curse me out, I wouldn't have had a problem if they ran Greene down there on 3rd down. Even if the Pats stop you for a yard, Coach Ryan may have opted to go for it on 4th down.  SG23 has been hot in the red zone of late, having scored four times the past two weeks.

The Green & White are going to be damned if they do, damned if they don't with Tebow.  Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if he came in to run the Wildcat on 3rd down and got stopped in the backfield? 

Everyone has all the right answers when we look back.  But you have to convert down there and the Jets didn't.  I believe in this coaching staff and they coached a whale of a game for the most part.  Sparano's unit outgained the Pats high-powered offense 403 to 381 and they equaled the home team in third down percentage at 53.  Sanchez and Kerley are coming together nicely, Keller is back and the run game is better.

A lot of people wrote this team off a few weeks ago, but I didn't see a bad club out there Sunday in Foxboro.  Good teams win that game and the Jets have put themselves in probably another "must-win" situation Sunday vs. the Dolphins.  If they get to 4-4 at the bye, there is no reason why this team can't contend for a playoff spot. 

Have you all watched the AFC lately?  Not exactly full of juggernauts.  The Jets have gotten better since that debacle against San Francisco and there are plenty of players on the upturn — guys like Quinton Coples, Antonio Cromartie, Demario Davis, Shonn Greene, Lex Hilliard, Jeremy Kerley, Isaiah Tufrant and Kyle Wilson.  The cupboard isn't bare folks and they have adopted the fighting mentality of their head coach — I'm encouraged even though damn that was tough.

ToddLibson, IA (Currently Reside in ChiTown)

Q: Is there a link somewhere to what color jerseys we're wearing for each game? I'd like to coordinate my Green/White/Titans jerseys with the game without having to take all three to the sports bar.

EA: I am your link Todd. 

New York's AFC representative will not wear their throwback Titans jerseys in 2012, so don't take that one to the bar.  They will don the green jerseys in each of their final four home games — Week 8 vs. MIA, Week 12 vs. NE, Week 13 vs. AZ and Week 16 vs. SD.   So that means the white will be Jets jersey in all of the remaining roadies — Week 10 @ SEA, Week 11 @ STL, Week 14 @JAX, Week 15 @ TEN and Week 17 @ BUF. 

The Jets do have green pants, but I'm not sure when/if they'll wear them this season.  You don't have to declare the pants before the season commences.

Since you brought up sports bars, I'm looking for good IPA beer recommendations.  And for those of you work who at a brewery, I am available to sample your best.

Jim G.Tiverton, RI

Q: What is up with Aaron Berry, the CB from Detroit? We haven't seen him on the field yet.  This kid can play and I'd have to think he's a better option out there in coverage than Trufant.  I know that Trufant is a great special teamer, but he's a liability in coverage based on his size alone. Is Berry having a hard time picking up the system, or is he not a very good option on special teams?

EA: Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said the Jets love Berry's competitiveness and he should be on the field soon in sub situations.  Berry logged eight special teams play in Week 7 at Gillette Stadium.

Let's give Isaiah Trufant his proper due.  He might be 5'8", 170, but don't overlook Tru because of his stature.  He balled out Sunday in Foxboro, helping the Jets limit Wes Welker to six catches and 66 yards. 

What do I mean limit?    Look at Welker's stat line the previous four games — Week 6 @ SEA: 10-138-1TD, Week 5 vs. DEN: 13-104-1TD, Week 4 @BUF: 9-129 and Week 3 @ BAL: 8-142.

Trufant also plays a physical brand of football as he notched six tackles and two of those came behind the line of scrimmage.   I loved his game Sunday.

GregAlexandria Bay, NY
Q: How can Jets' fans boo Sanchez when clearly he's the better (option) to have at QB if we want to win football games?

EA: Everyone is entitled to their opinions.   Did you see Pats fans boo OC Josh McDaniels's run call on 2nd and 20 late in the fourth?  Wow.  Anyway the Jets didn't come out with the W in Foxboro, but Sanchez played some solid ball.  He was 16 of 20 in the 2nd half for 190 yards with 1 TD.  Who knows what happens if Stephen Hill (who otherwise played very well) holds onto the ball late or JK doesn't slip out of the break on those final two 3rd downs in regulation? 

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