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EA Q&A: Expect an Inspired Jets Team in Week 5

(Programming Note: Jets Talk LIVE will air at 3:45 Thursday.  Jets DT Kenrick Ellis will join me in studio and you will also hear from a number of other players including a pair of talented rookies — DL Quinton Coples and LB Demario Davis.)

SGT Doc JohnsonSomewhere, AfghanistanQ; Greetings from Afghanistan!  Looking forward to the weekly Jets games — keeps me going on a weekly basis.  Unfortunately a couple of issues have me concerned this season.  Since the "Ground and Pound" is not so Groundy nor Poundy and since the Wildcat option has been a flop, what do you think about trading some of the key players of those packages for a quality running back to help out the offense?  Say Andre Brown from the Giants, who is a quality starter but is filling a backup role?  Get a quality running game, spend some cheddar for a veteran WR and we're right back in this.

EA: Doc, I salute your service and thank you for sacrifice.  As a nephew of a former Lt. Colonel who served in both Vietnam and Korea, I am humbled that you took a moment to write us.

I don't anticipate the Jets trading for a running back this season.  And to be honest with you, why should they?  Marshawn Lynch leads the NFL in rushing and yet the Seahawks are 28th in scoring at 17.5 points per game.  The Jags have MJD, but there they are dead last in scoring at 15.5 points per game.  Shady McCoy is nasty and yet Philly's Birds are 30th in scoring at 16.5 points a contest. 

What do all the top scoring offenses have in common?  They either have elite quarterbacks or they sling the rock all over the field.   I am not knocking on Andre Brown, but the young man is the definition of a journeyman who is said to be questionable in pass protection.

The Jets will work to be more efficient in the run game, but they'll do that with Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight and Tim Tebow in 2012.  The line has to do a better job of getting some push and creating some openings.  This is a Texans defense that ranks 11th against the run, but they just yielded 158 yards rushing to Tennessee at 5.4 yards a clip.

Be safe!

RobertDeltona, FLQ: I know injuries are a big deciding factor if a team can be successful or not.   Now we have a few main players who are injured, do you think it would help the Jets if we signed Plaxico Burress or even Terrell Owens at this point? We could use a downfield threat.

DavidLewisville, TX

Q: Please tell me why the Jets have not gone and grabbed a veteran receiver to help out that passing game. Last time I checked, Plaxico is still out there and he had 8 TD catches with Sanchez last year. With Holmes likely to miss significant time, shouldn't they make the move?

EA: The Jets signed veteran wideout Jason Hill on Wednesday.  Hill played for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011 and finished with a stat line of 25-367-3TD.  In his six previous NFL seasons, the 6'0", 202-pound Hill totaled 76 receptions for 1,028 yards with 8 TDs. 

Hill, who had some interesting comments about the New York market and Darrelle Revis before his Jags were routed in Week 2 at MetLife Stadium, is 27-years-old.   He was timed in the 4.3s in the 40 at the 2007 NFL Scouting Combine and the Jets were intrigued by his athleticism.  This Hill can also get down the field and he'll have an opportunity with the Green & White.

Age is critical factor that doesn't make the 35-year-old Burress or the 38-year-old Owens inviting targets.  Burress, who isn't going to stretch the field anymore, did produce in the Red Zone last year.  But the Jets have to seem little interest there and Owens couldn't crack a Seahawks lineup that is desperately searching for someone to step up on the outside.

NickNew York, NY

Q: Do you think that something might be solved with trying to get our backs more carries? I've noticed that after a first down 3-yard rushing gain, (OC Tony) Sparano seems to always call a pass or a sneaky Tebow play, as if acknowledging failure…Have any of the coaches acknowledged a lack of commitment to the run game?

EA: Coach Sparano will address the media Friday afternoon live on in the 4 o'clock hour.  The pass play percentages have increase each week from 43% in the romp over the Bills, 57% in the loss to the Steelers, 61% against the Dolphins and 66% against the 49ers.  The Jets are going to do whatever is in their best interests to win football games and they've been down frequently the past three weeks, so numbers get skewed.  But as Rex Ryan said Wednesday, this team has to be more efficient running the football.

Everyone wants to blame the signal caller when the offense struggles, but Sparano is a smart coach with a lot of common sense. 

MichaelEast Rutherford, NJ

Q: The Jets offense hasn't been clicking since Week 1.  Mark Sanchez hasn't been good as everyone expected him to be and if this trend continues — will Sanchez be benched?

EA: After the shutout loss to the 49ers, Mark Sanchez said, "It's on me to this lead the team and lead these guys and play better than I did today."  His numbers aren't good and that 49.2 completion percentage sticks out like a sore thumb.  But Sanchez was near flawless in Week 1 and gusty in Week 3.  This team is 2-2 and I wouldn't even think of pulling the QB at this point.  The entire offense has to play better and you hope they can find something they can hang their hat on.  This running game hasn't been consistent enough and injuries have set the passing game back.   What would you have said to me if I told you in Week 5 that the Jets top three wideouts would be Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens and Jason Hill and the No. 1 tight end would be Jeff Cumberland?  Losing Tone is another devastating blow and Dustin Keller has been a non-factor this season due to injury.  It's possible Stephen Hill could miss another game this week.

BobNorth Attleboro, MAQ:EA, you are the eternal optimist. I wonder if the scheme Tony Sparano is employing is any better than Brian Schottenheimer's, who we ran out of town after last year. Rex said he is going to brainstorm with his staff. Do you think solutions are in coaching, or is there really just not enough talent in the players?  A few injuries can't be an excuse — that just says the Jets have no depth.

EA:If optimism is one of my worst qualities, I'll take it.  I understand the frustrations of Jets Nation, but I'm just trying to keep it real.  Bob they aren't using injuries as an excuse — I'm the one continually pointing out the injuries.  Darrelle Revis is the team's best player and Santonio Holmes is a game-changer on offense, and I think losing that pair is extremely damaging.  Go look up any team's roster right now and tell me what you'd think about that club if they were without their No. 1 player and perhaps their No. 1 offensive playmaker. 

Rex Ryan has had success against the Texans in the past and I anticipate this defense playing an inspired game Monday night.  That points explosion in Week 1 was an anomaly (especially with the injuries at this point), but that doesn't mean the Jets offense can't convert on short fields or after takeaways. 

Lastly, why in the hell was everyone upset that Coach Ryan gave his players Monday and Tuesday off?  That just meant they didn't meet formally on Monday because I saw a lot of dudes in here getting treatment, working out and getting their game films early this week.  The coaching staff just took a long and hard look at this roster, and that's an intelligent move.

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