The Jets are faced with a defensive “dilemma” Sunday.
They would like to pressure Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner as much as possible, but they don’t want to provide too much space for Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald to roam.
“You’re going to live that on both sides of that sword,” said defensive coordinator Bob Sutton.
If Warner passes for 248 yards against the Jets, he’ll reach the 25,000 mark for his career. He’s completed 64.3 percent of his passes this season with six touchdowns and just one interception.
“You’d definitely like a lot of pressure because I think Kurt is a very accurate quarterback, he’s seen a lot things and he’s played a lot of games and broken a lot of huddles,” Sutton said. “You’re not going to shock him with too many things. You do have to try to make him uncomfortable.”
Through three games, Warner has been sacked seven times and the Jets have eight sacks. While sacks are always welcome, it’s important the Green & White hit the veteran passer on his dropbacks.
“He gets hit, but I guess he keeps getting back up,” defensive end Shaun Ellis told me yesterday as we stopped for a brief chat on a staircase in the Atlantic Health Training Center. “You just can’t get one hit and then go seven plays and not get a hit again. Every third play, you have to get a hit.”
If Kris Jenkins (back) is able to return Sunday at close to full strength, he has the ability to ruin Cards center Lyle Sendlein’s afternoon. A former undrafted free agent, Sendlein (6’4”, 300) has started five career games and likely has never seen a player of Jenkins’ caliber.
Ask any quarterback and he’ll tell you he hates the push up the middle. The Jets can blitz, but Sutton would love to get pressure from the base and periodically change the landscape for Warner.
“It’s just making him not sure of what’s going on — either from a coverage standpoint or just getting pressure on him in the pocket — so he’s not comfortable there,” he said.
But when the Jets blitz, they have to get to Warner. Neither Boldin nor Fitzgerald are burners, but don’t misinterpret that for a lack of big-play potential. If the accurate Warner has time to survey, set his feet and deliver, the Cards’ receivers will make it happen.
“They’re talented in all of the ways you think — from speed and catching ability. But they’re also talented in the sense that they’re physical guys,” Sutton said of the prolific pair. “They can go up and get the ball. They can take the ball away from you in some of those singled-up blitz situations.”
Warner might be 37 years old, but he still can pull that trigger. He’s a relatively stationary target in the pocket, but he can wait and unload at the last possible moment.
"I think the reason he will hold onto the ball is he has a quick release," Ellis said. "He can hold it to the last second and get rid of it real quick.”
Known for fumble troubles in the past, Warner has yet to put the ball on the ground this season and he’s had just that one pick. Conversely, the Jets have just two takeaways and a good performance from their defensive unit would go a long way toward reaching 2-2.
"We’ve had a good week of practice. From their standpoint, I give the players a lot of credit," Sutton said. "Their attention and their ability to drill down and really get into the game plan right away I think has been really good. We’re anticipating being in good position."
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Bob Sutton, Kris Jenkins, Kurt Warner, Shaun Ellis
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