Marcus Dixon says his favorite TV shows are CSI and Law and Order, and for a while he must have thought his career was headed for one of those crime shows since it was approaching room temperature.
But for many guys in the Not For Long, it takes a few years to become an overnight sensation. And Dixon is now alive on the Jets’ D-line.
“It’s good to get in there, and if you can get a stat under your belt, it shows your definitely not taking up a spot,” Dixon told me today. “I just want to play like a Jet. And hopefully, this game against the Bills will be a good game, if I can get more reps, to show that I can be that guy to relieve Shaun [Ellis] and [Mike] DeVito.”
Dixon’s finally getting some traction in all those regards. He broke in as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys in 2008 but didn’t play in his first NFL game until the Jets traveled to Pittsburgh two weekends ago.
That day Dixon got in for one play on defense. Against the Bears, “it was maybe 10.” And he was in the right spot in the rotation at the right time to get his first pro sack. On a five-man rush, Dixon was bouncing around the line looking for an opening. Finally he found it, and the Bears’ Jay Cutler was having trouble finding an open receiver.
“Our guys had everybody on the field covered and some guys on the sidelines, too,” Dixon said modestly about how he bore down on the Bears QB, who couldn’t get rid of the ball, and took him down at the Chicago 3 for a 10-yard loss. “I’ll take the sack, but I’m one of those guys who’d give it back just to get a win. I’ll take that every day.”
Dixon’s program size is 6’4″ and 295. He said he’s been working mostly 3-technique and end but also has been doing some work at nose behind Sione Pouha. In other words, he’s learning to play anywhere and everywhere he’s needed. It would be great if he could hook a few more pelts to his belt as he and the Jets head toward Buffalo and from there into the playoffs.
Vets vs. the Bills
Rex Ryan’s instruction to his players today as they began preparations for the Bills on Sunday was this: Prepare as if you’re playing.
“This is not a preseason game, with a ton of players,” Ryan said. “We’re going to sit all these guys? That’s hard to do. Somebody’s got to play. So I’m telling them right now, prepare like you’re playing. As the week goes on, I’ll do what I think is in the best interests of our team.”
The coach also stressed “this is not a bye week” and so he said today he’s not ready to declare how much Mark Sanchez, his other veterans and his young players will go against the Bills. But he refined his list of reasons for seeking the proper personnel balance so as to treat this game like the regular-season finale it is.
“I just want to win,” he said. “I think everybody wants to win. Winning 11 games, it’s been done three times in this club’s history so that would be great. It would be nice to accomplish 4-2 in our division reversing those numbers from last year. Winning two more games than last year in the regular season, I think that would be great. And just that little edge if we win our last game. How much does momentum matter? I’m not sure. Last year’s Super Bowl winner lost their last two. But I don’t want to do that.”
Rex was asked the trap question: Looking past the Bills, does he know who he’d rather play in the wild-card game? He deftly avoided the trap.
“Even if I really did know, I don’t think I’d say it,” he said. “Whoever it is, we’re playing a division-winning team at their place. Both teams are tough to play. So I would say no preference.”
The Scenarios Again
Just in case you missed the original scenarios for the Jets and their first playoff opponent, the NFL has distributed those scenarios now and we’ll lay them out for you one more time.
If the Jets finish with the sixth seed, they will play at the three seed, which will be either Indianapolis or Kansas City. If they finish with the fifth seed, they will play at the four seed, which could be either of those two or Jacksonville. Here are the scenarios again (leaving out possible tied games):
For the Jets to finish with the 6th seed:
1. JETS lose to BUF OR
2. JETS win vs. BUF and either (a) PIT wins at CLE OR (b) PIT loses at CLE and BAL loses vs. CIN
For the Jets to finish with the 5th seed:
1. JETS win vs. BUF and PIT loses at CLE and BAL wins vs. CIN
For the Chiefs to finish with the 3rd seed:
1. KC win vs. OAK OR
2. KC loses vs. OAK and IND loses vs. TEN
For the Chiefs to finish with the 4th seed:
1. KC loses vs. OAK and IND wins vs. TEN
For the Colts to finish with the 3rd seed
1. IND wins vs. TEN and KC loses vs. OAK
For the Colts to finish with the 4th seed
1. IND wins vs. TEN and KC wins vs. OAK OR
2. IND loses vs. TEN and JAX loses at HOU
For the Jaguars to finish with the 4th seed:
1. JAX wins at HOU and IND loses vs. TEN
The Jets hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Pittsburgh but Baltimore holds the HTH tiebreaker over the Jets. Further, the Steelers also hold the tiebreaker over the Ravens in the AFC North, so the only way for the Jets to bump the Steelers for the 5 seed is for the Steelers to lose Sunday and the Ravens not to lose. And that’s the only way for the Jets to play at Jacksonville, if the Jaguars slip past the Colts into the 4 seed.
Here’s one more scenario for thought: If the Jets finish 6 and win, their next game WILL BE at New England in the AFC Divisional Round. If the Jets finish 5, they can avoid the Patriots one more week only if Pittsburgh, the 6 seed, also wins in the wild-card round. Then the Steelers would play the Patriots and the Jets would travel to Baltimore.
Ryan’s injury report has a few changeups today. Ellis, with a back injury, T Damien Woody (knee) and S James Ihedigbo (knee/ankle) did not participate in any team drills, although the only one the coach said, “The only guy I count out in this is Ihedigbo.”
Meanwhile, QB Mark Sanchez (right shoulder), S Eric Smith (concussion), DT Trevor Pryce (hip), CBs Darrelle Revis (hamstring) and Antonio Cromartie (groin), and NT Sione Pouha (back) were limited. And four players were full-go, including Santonio Holmes (with a quad) and LB Bryan Thomas (ankle).
The Bills’ list is top-heavy with DNPs — 10 players did not participate in today’s team drills in Western New York, including QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (knee), LT Demetrius Bell (knee), WR David Nelson (ribs), NT Kyle Williams, the Bills’ leader with 5.5 sacks (hip), LB Chris Kelsay and CB Terrence McGee.
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Marcus Dixon, Mike DeVito, playoff scenarios, Rex Ryan, Shaun Ellis, Sione Pouha
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