The Jets' coordinators — Mike Pettine (defense), Brian Schottenheimer (offense) and Mike Westhoff (special teams) — speak with reporters every week. Here are highlights of their news conferences Wednesday afternoon:
The Bengals have the No. 6 rushing offense in the league with 132.3 yards a game. Cedric Benson, their top runner, has 301 carries for 1,251 yards and six TDs.
But Brian Leonard, their third-year RB from Rutgers, is a big threat as well. He has 26 rushes for 76 yards, but he also has 30 catches for 217 yards. Of those yards, 158 have been gained on third down.
"One of the guys on their team, I'm not sure who it was, referred to him as the MVP of the team, just because of what he's been able to do for them on third down," said Pettine. "He's excellent on blitz pickup and he gets out of the backfield and he's got great hands."
The coordinator said he will probably keep Eric Smith in at safety on Sunday to help against the run.
WR Chad Ochocinco has 72 catches for 1,047 and nine TD's, almost double what he had last season. But other than him, there hasn't been as much production in the passing game as the Stripes are ranked 22nd in the league with 192.7 yards per game. That could be attributed to the Bengals losing T.J. Houshmandzadeh, their No. 2 receiver, in the off-season.
"I think it hurts them not having Houshmandzadeh. You still have to double Chad, but there will be some cases when he's singled up," Pettine said. "I think we have the right man for the job."
That man of course is Darrelle Revis.
The Jets don't know if or when, but they may face backup QB J. T. O'Sullivan instead of starter Carson Palmer at some point Sunday night.
"He's good on his feet, he can keep a play alive," he said. "He's a bit of a gunslinger. He can make some things happen outside of the pocket."
The Bengals have the No. 2 run defense in the NFL and they are going up against the Jets offense, No. 1 in the league not only in rushing yards per game but also in attempts.
That being said, if they get behind on the scoreboard and have to catch up, Schottenheimer is not afraid to open up the playbook. "Our game plans aren't conservative. Our game plans are intelligent," he said. "We have plenty of things that can allow us to attack people. If we were down 17, we'd change the way we play to a point."
To help rookie QB Mark Sanchez's development, Coach Schotty's tried some "positive reinforcement", using "little anecdotes" that the QB used in high school and at Southern Cal. "Little trigger words like 'focus in,' 'repeat the down and distance,' 'throw completions,' " said Schotty.
One example was something they used to do on the sidelines at USC, where they'd put their hands over their eyes and say "focus." "He's getting more and more comfortable every day with the system," said the OC. "He's got a better feel for the guys, having been working with them for a while now."
In the Colts game DE Dwight Freeney came in twice unblocked to sack Sanchez, leaving some wondering why one of the best pass-rushing DEs in the game would have a free lane to the QB.
Sanchez, Schottenheimer said, "knew the route but he tried to make a signal, and he signaled it the wrong way. We kind of joked about it after the game: 'I wouldn't turn my back on Dwight Freeney very often.' The second time he called the play wrong."
Sanchez "took his medicine" on the play but it was better than floating the ball up for an INT.
"There's positive things that came from it," the coach said, one of them being "the fact that he was willing to take the sack and live to kick the field goal."
Brad Smith's 106-yard return of the second-half kickoff Sunday put the Jets ahead of the Colts, 10-9. Despite Pat McAfee's kick again going 6 yards deep in the end zone, Westhoff gave No. 16 the go-ahead to return it.
"' If it drives you, than feel free to come on,' " Westhoff told Smith. "He always has the green light."
The ST coordinator said a big reason for Smith's success as a kick returner is his previous role as a blocker for Leon Washington, when No. 29 was a headache for opposing kick cover units.
"We give our lead blocker lots of different assignments," he said. "Many times he has the exact same read as the returner." On the big return in Indianapolis, Dwight Lowery was the lead blocker for Smith.
"He bumped him, and it opened up the hole," said Westhoff.