Now for the big pass rush battle in Sunday's Jets-Broncos game. In that corner, in the navy blue and orange crush uniform ... Von Miller of the Broncos. And in this corner, wearing the green and white ... Henry Anderson.
Henry Anderson? Yes. It's true that Anderson's career 5.5 sacks pale in comparison to Miller's 87.5. But this year, Anderson's 2.5 sacks aren't just a career season high but they are also the Jets' top four-game sack total.
"Ha-ha, probably in college," Anderson chuckled when I asked him, no offense intended, the last time he led a team in sacks. "I might've led my rookie year in Indianapolis because I had the first sack of the season. It's been a while. But it's still early."
Indeed it's true that in Anderson's rookie season of 2015, after two games he had the Colts' only sack. It just happened to be a 1-yard takedown of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the Jets' 20-7 Game 2 MNF win at Indy.
Sack Study Hall
It's also the case that, while he probably won't be among the league leaders by the end of the season, he still watches a weekly video compilation of all the sacks around the NFL.
"Von's already popping up there. You always try to pick up certain things that guys do on that tape," Anderson said. "I've just been trying to work the edges a little bit more, not trying to run down the middle of guys. I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel I've had decent success so far and I'm trying to build on that."
But the man called "Goose" — Anderson won't reveal the "secret origins" of the nickname other than to say it started at Stanford, a college teammate kept it alive at Indy, and former Colts C Jonotthan Harrison revived it on the Jets — is about more than just sacks. He has five QB hits, tied for second on the Jets despite playing in less than 60% of the defensive snaps.
And initially, Anderson was credited with three defenses of Blake Bortles passes in Jacksonville. If that number had held, he would've joined Kony Ealy, with four PDs also against Bortles last year, and Shane Burton, with three PDs against Chicago in 2000, as the only Jets D-linemen with three PDs in a game since 2000.
The Elias Sports Bureau review of the play-by-play correctly removed one PD, but two in a game has still only been done 12 other times by Jets D-linemen since '00.
Anderson said playing volleyball with opposing passers is not a special skill in his bag of tricks.
"A lot of quarterbacks, Bortles in particular, have a lower release point," he said. "Our coaches made a big emphasis during the week to get your hands up. I'm 6'6" so I'm a little bit taller than a lot of interior linemen. If you're not going to get to the quarterback on a rush, the next best thing is to get your hands up. I don't know if you can really be good at that. But if I don't win that rush and I see the quarterback looking over my head and I see him winding up to throw, I know he's probably going to throw it right over my head."
Henry Anderson's numbers aren't necessarily eye-popping. But on the other hand, he is showing that the Jets were right to be excited about acquiring him for a seventh-round pick in a draft-day trade with the Colts. Now if he whips a few Von-like moves on Broncos QB Case Keenum and his blockers on Sunday, it could be a sign that he's goosed his game to a new level.