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Dixon Shows Signs of Life in D-Line Rotation

Posted by Randy Lange on December 29, 2010 – 4:55 pm

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.

Health Watch

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.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “Dixon Shows Signs of Life in D-Line Rotation”

  1. By davetharave on Dec 29, 2010 | Reply

    Runing Backs – LT and Shonn. I thought we got LT as a third down receiving back, split some runs with Shonn, share time so neither one would be all beat up come season end. Instead, LT impresses in training camp and ends up starting. Many times this season we never even saw Shonn until the 2nd quarter. Lt looks a lot slower now and Shonn is ripping off 5 – 7 yards every carry. Conclusion – Shonn is young, big, fast and tough and needs to start in the playoffs. LT comes in for third downs and to spell Greene occasionally. This was the original plan.

  2. By JOE on Dec 29, 2010 | Reply

    Mr T is always good at finding talent,i guess the Pats can only find players in the UFL.Has to be some D lineman or safties that can help.I noticed when Trvevor Price went down teams seem to run us .

  3. By JOE on Dec 29, 2010 | Reply

    I think if moved Revis around a little more like they do with Charles Woodson it would help out in the middle of the field more.We have to keep making team adjust more

  4. By scjoe on Dec 29, 2010 | Reply

    Why not give Dixon and Gilbert a shot, it is not like anyone else on that D line is playing lights out, or even close to it, with the exception of Pouha. Or maybe we just want to put them out to stud so they can become someone else’s version of Woodhead. I know that is a sore spot with some, but lets be realistic, that is what WE could have been seeing this year instead of our arch rivals. There have been some really head scratching personal moves this year, lets hope that trend don’t carry over in to next year as well.

  5. By 10and6jets on Dec 29, 2010 | Reply

    Good point Joe! I have been thinking about this too. Our only true playmaker on defense is Revis, and then Cromartie. When we play them on the outside QB’s throw away from them. Last year Revis made our opponent’s top weapon a “non-factor.” This year teams are giving us a taste of our own medicine. We should line Cro and Kyle up outside, give Kyle safety help and let Revis man the slot. Also, what do you all think of drew coleman on woodhead? Could he be used as a spy to match with Woodhead anywhere on the field?

  6. By sal on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    Ok now we are starting to see the real offense, I believe they had this version like last yearfor the playoffs! I hope it is the same for the D,rex has not been calling his type of game, maybe to keep a limit on how much teams can study their blitz game, if not the case look for a early exit
    Cause this version of D is not good enough for the playoffs

  7. By J.Z. on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    Dixon made that sack on cutler. it was more than i ever remembering kroul doing!!!! maybe that’s why he was waived.new young guys could add that extra spark the jets D that has been missing!!!!!!!!just look at the patriots.

  8. By IRA on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, You beat me to the punch mentioning Dixon. I like what i saw from him in his limited action vs the Bears. I am sure he will get a lot more snaps this week vs the Bills. Maybe they have something with him. Time will tell. What i am looking forward to the most this week is to watch McKnight and i think he will play very well. Also i want to see what Cole and Cook can do with more snaps. I would also think Ducasse should see some time in the 4th and maybe gilbert can get some snaps too.
    Lets stay healthy and finish of the season at 11-5 heading into the playoffs.

  9. By GaryC on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, first off happy holidays to you and yours,My question is how is the draft compensation determined.If jets lose one of the free agents they haven’t signed yet is it determined by years in the league or salary, and are the jets looking into this to get more draft picks.

  10. By Randy Lange on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    GaryC, happy holidays to you as well. The formula for awarding compensatory picks is complicated. It is based on number of unrestricted free agents signed and number lost plus years of service, salary, etc. I don’t know that teams use compensatory picks as a primary drafting strategy but the Jets and other teams are very much aware that if they lose more players than they’ve signed in a given year, they should be in line to receive a pick or picks somewhere at the ends of Rounds 3-7.

  11. By Pranit on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    How about playing Kyle Wilson for the entire game? …let him cover their best reciever…Its the last game of the regular seasoh, lets see if he has anything or is a big question mark for next year…another set back if they have to draft a CB next year….shucks…

    I am also worried, they Kyle Wilson isn’t physical….he seems to shy away from tackles..,he and cromartie….

  12. By Mike Jet Vet on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    I have to agree with using a steady dose of Dixon Gilbert Cole and Cook… Wilson had his shot and didn’t impress me ..If Rex don’t play these guys then I will question his thought process we all know how bad a pass rusher is needed lets see what they have, the way our Defence is playing certainly can’t hurt lets see Conner the back QB get some work in get these guys playoff ready

  13. By Joe on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    How about playing a little more 4-3 with jayson Taylor at de something different.I know the offense is clicking and not to take anything away from brad smith but when he is the 4th receiver he never gets opened maybe time to activate Cumberland he is big and fast must be good if he stayed on the roster all yr

  14. By russ on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    a team that doesnt pressure quaterback will lose …al else is fluff

  15. By GaryC on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    Next year the first thing the jets need to do is convert Cromartie to free safety,he needs to be as far from the line of scrimmage as possible seeing that he is not a good tackler.jets have no safety with his ball skills and he wouldn’t get beat against the smaller, quicker receivers.Also the draft this year I don’t believe has a lot of good safeties, and the jets will need to replenish the front and linebacking group first.

  16. By Jets Fan Tom for a Long Time on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    Everybody who’s saying we should play all these young guys is right, and we shoulda done more of that all year. GaryC, the main reason we’re impressed with McCourty and not with Wilson is…THE PATS HAD THE GUTS TO PUT HIM ON THE FIELD!

  17. By GaryC on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    jet fan tom, but remember we drafted wilson because he was going to be the third corner and man the slot receiver, I know revis holdout retarded his progress but still he had all year and he still couldn’t get on field.like I said if he didn’t play the jets could of went in different direction to help aging defense.See patriots when through mccourty’s growing pains early and he became an all pro.Like I said rex will need to be watched to see if he gives the young players the same rope as he does his veterans.

  18. By Jets Fan Tom for a Long Time on Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

    I like all your ideas about the DBs, GaryC, but my impression is that the Jets largely panicked on Wilson after the opener with BAL, just like they panicked by cutting Woodhead to get Clowney back, just like they panicked on McKnight when he wasn’t in shape and fumbled in pre-season. I wouldn’t be surprised if this type of panic is the result of a front office and HC that put unrealistic pressures on themselves and the team to win the SB ASAP. McCourty got beat like crazy in the first half of the year but got better in the second half and if Wilson had played, he might’ve done the same thing.

  19. By john ski on Dec 31, 2010 | Reply

    Unless we’re looking to go to a 4 man line I think getting red of Kroul could be a mistake. He has a great push for the 3 man, he put on some nice pressure in pre season and then they never played him…. Remember, a bunch of our D-line guys should be retiring soon! Coleman was impressive most of the year and he didn’t commit nearly as many penalties as everyone thought he would, but with us hurting in the secondary, whenever he gets on the field they’re going for HIM. He shoulda been pulled last week for his lack of defensive efforts last week… horrible. Revis and Wilson have to hang together for a while, get Wilson to look at the ball more often because he can be very good.

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