Lots to get to on this Tuesday and I apologize for being a little late this evening.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the passing of Steve Sabol. The President of NFL Films, who was just 69, died today after a long battle with brain cancer. He was a true legend and a wonderful gentleman who along with his father, Ed, made monumental contributions to the National Football League.
It feels like yesterday that I had the honor to interview Steve Sabol when the Jets made the decision to appear on Hard Knocks. He was graceful and charming, a man whose voice was so reassuring. He helped make football such a beautiful sport to watch through innovation and hard work, and we all should be forever grateful.
Remember we will run our next Q&A on Thursday.
Q: I know it's early, but I see the same things happening to the Jets. They are always a middle of the pack team that can't beat better teams. Now I have to watch the 49ers become a great team again while the Jets seem to stay the same or are worse. If the Jets fall apart, then it's time to put Rex on the clock because his way isn't working. I just don't why the Jets can't come up with a big-time player beside Revis?
EA: Well I would expect any fan to be down after Sunday's 27-10 loss to the Steelers, but there is a lot of football left to be played. The NFL has a record 20 teams that own 1-1 marks after two weeks, so the Jets aren't alone. That list also includes some of the "elite" like the New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens, the Green Bay Packers and the NY Giants.
If losing at Pittsburgh makes you a middle of the pack team, then I think you probably have a rather large middle.
Nobody has been more impressive that Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers thus far, but let's see what happens when they come to MetLife Stadium on Sep. 30.
It goes without saying that Darrelle Revis is the Jets' top player and he belongs in the top 10 in all of football. I would argue there are other "big-time" players here including the likes of C Nick Mangold, LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, ILB David Harris, DL Muhammad Wilkerson, etc…
Queens Village, NY
Q: Will Jets wear Titans of New York jerseys this season?
EA: No Titans jerseys in 2012. The Jets will actually be in their green jerseys Sunday in Miami as the Dolphins have selected to wear their whites in the South Florida sun. As of today, the Fort Lauderdale forecast for Sunday calls for temperatures in the mid-80s with a 40% chance of rain.
New York, NY
Q: What happened to the defense with the 11-minute drive?
EA: The Steelers put the final nail in the coffin with that painstaking 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended on a 2-yard run from Isaac Redman. After holding the Steelers on three consecutive possessions, the Jets defense finally broke. The problem on the drive was a microcosm of the game as the Steelers converted on four third downs.
Safety Yeremiah Bell was called for a key holding penalty on a 3rd-and-4 play from midfield that kept the drive alive. Then on 2nd-and-18 from the Steelers 47, Ben Roethlisberger eluded a David Harris blitz and got 14 yards with a pass to Redman. Antonio Brown simply made a hell of a catch on a 3rd-and-4 play from the Jets 39, hanging on to a high ball despite getting rocked by LaRon Landry.
Then there was that whole review on the Redman rush. I thought the ball was coming out as Bell made a terrific play and the replay actually seemed to indicate Redman's knee was down in the backfield, but the officials didn't see it either way.
Tackling became a problem late and I also think some fatigue set in as the Steelers controlled the rock for more than 36 minutes.
Q: Was Coples in the lineup? I did not notice him on the field much. How many snaps?
EA: Thanks for the question Stan. Please send in your hometown next time as we like to make sure Jets Nation is represented. DE Quinton Coples was credited with 16 snaps, so he was on the field for 24% of the defensive plays. Coach Ryan pointed out that the Steelers have a huge offensive line and he wanted to get more girth out there on the field as Coples weighs 280 pounds. The rook had a couple of pressures and missed big Ben on what wold have been a big sack.
Q: When are they going to play Tim Tebow more? We need him in there ASAP.
EA: I think you will see No. 15 a little bit more this week on offense. He has totaled 13 offensive snaps in two games — 10 in the rout over the Bills and three in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers. Tebow has yet to throw a pass and has carried six times for 33 yards while running the Wildcat and the read option.
There are three factors to take into consideration regarding Tebow — the Jets didn't want to show too much of their package in Week 1 because they were so comfortably ahead, the offense was moving the ball early in Week 2 and there were some long first half possessions on both sides and Rex Ryan said Shonn Greene's injury limited the Jets as far as the Tebow package is concerned.
Howard Beach, NY
Q: I think the Jets LBs are too slow in pass coverage. On third down, should the Jets move Pace up front with Coples and put Maybin and DeMario Davis at LB?
EA: Calvin Pace may not be dominant in any skill-set, but he is solid in all areas. Pace is perhaps the best coverage linebacker the Jets have and he also can apply pressure. Aaron Maybin is a pass rush specialist and he is at his best when he is moving forward. He played 13 snaps against the Steelers and 16 snaps against the Bills with zero stats and he told the media Monday that he has to "step it up". DeMario Davis has been a core special teams player early and he totaled just four defensive snaps against the Steelers. Davis is going to have to earn his time on defense and they'll insert him into the game when they feel he's ready. But I do believe he'll get more work in passing situations and the Jets like his coverage ability.
North Attleboro, MA
Q: The "EA Q&A" is the best Jets' Insider info you can ask for. I am very interested to see if the Jets front 4 can put pressure on teams without exotic blitzes. It will be key when cornerbacks like Revis are missing. Do you think Wilkerson or Coples will ever get to the level of the NY Giants DEs?
EA: Muhammad Wilkerson is a terrific player. He'll be a Pro Bowler and the only question is when. Did you see how much time No. 96 spent in the Steelers backfield on Sunday? I like the selection of Quinton Coples and the rookie had a solid summer. He is just two games into his NFL career and he didn't even play 20 snaps against the Steelers. I don't want to compare these guys to the Giants DEs. The Giants play more of a base 4-3 and the Jets are so multiple in their fronts. You are going to see Wilkerson and Coples inside on third down sometimes, freeing up some traffic on the edges. You could make the argument that Jason Pierre-Paul is the most dynamic pass rusher in all of football. The arrow is pointed up on both of the Jets' youngsters.