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O-Line Makes the Grade for Its Patriots Game

Posted by Randy Lange on January 21, 2011 – 4:36 pm

As usual, the big fatties, the guys on the O side of the O/D trench can get lost in the deluge of championship game coverage. But not the Jets’ offensive linemen, who have drawn kudos from their head coach, a Green & White icon, and a new system of weighing the contributions of O-lines around the NFL.

“You’re seeing a prideful unit, a group that has a lot of ability,” head coach Rex Ryan said of his line at today’s final news conference of the week before Sunday’s Jets-Steelers title game. “There’s three Pro Bowlers in that group, or should be with D’Brickashaw [Ferguson], Nick [Mangold] and Brandon Moore. Wayne Hunter’s stepped right in for Damien Woody.

“And oh, by the way, Matt Slauson has done a great job, but he’ll never be considered as a Pro Bowl guard because of the fact that he’s a sixth-round pick, so it doesn’t matter how he plays. But I know one thing — he’s done a tremendous job for us.”

The icon is none other than Joe Namath, who always knew that his exploits for the Super Bowl III Jets started up front and mentioned it again regarding these Jets linemen after Mark Sanchez connected on three touchdown passes behind impeccable protection at New England.

“These things are only possible when the offensive line does their job,” Namath said on his Website. “So they have improved, and Bill Callahan, nice going getting those guys ready.”

Moore agreed with Coach Call’s input and noticed the vibe for him and his linemates all week long before the Patriots game.

“I thought we played a solid game,” B-Moore said. “During the week I felt like Bill Callahan and the guys in the room did a good job of setting ourselves up to play efficiently.”

Yet how to measure efficiency for an O-lineman or for a group of linemen. We can measure sacks allowed, for instance, and the Jets have given up only three sacks for a mere 12 yards in losses over the past five weeks. We can rank the rushing games, and the Jets, after finishing third in the NFL in the regular season, have gotten it done to the tune of 144.5 rushing yards per game and 4.3 per carry in two road playoff games.

Penalties? After their prolific pace at committing infractions most of the season, the Green & Whtie have settled down to have exactly three penalties marked off against them in each of the last five games. And the linemen have done their part, committing only seven of those 15 penalties and in the two postseason games getting caught for only one false start in each.

All very good, but might there be a passer rating system for O-lines?

There might. New York Life has partnered with Stats Inc. to create the New York Life Protection Index, which factors in passing attempts, ball-in-the-air passing yardage (excluding YAC), sacks, knockdowns and hurries allowed, and holding and false start penalties. All the numbers are boiled down to a grade from 0 to 100 for each line in each game.

The reason this is appropriate now is because the Jets graded out at 93.7 at New England, which was easily the best mark by any of the offensive lines that played in last weekend’s divisional-round games, and was also the Jets’ third-best mark of the year.

All impressive to the Jets’ linemen. But the right tackle made a fair point.

“I’m in the middle of it, I’m in the filmroom,” Hunter said. “We’re critiquing every foot and hand placement. I could see where, looking downward from the stands, you could say, yes, that was probably one of our best games this season. But for me being an offensive lineman, I think we could’ve done a lot of stuff way better.”

Translation: The Jets are gunning for an A+ two nights from now in Pittsburgh.

History Buff

Ryan fielded one more question about Dennis Byrd coming to Pittsburgh to serve as the Jets’ honorary captain on Sunday. And his answer revealed him, if fans didn’t no it already, to be a fan of this franchise from way back.

“I believe in the history, in the guys that went out there and laid it on the line for this organization,” he said. “It means something for me, and also having my dad here for eight years. The history of the guys who’ve played and coached here, I wanted to make sure we recognized that. That’s why we have team pictures of every Jets team we’ve ever had downstairs, outside the cafeteria.”

Rex also had  plaques put up of every jersey number ever worn in Jets/Titans history, along with every player who wore each number.

“That’s almost a college-y thing, but I want players to know who wore that jersey that they’re in right now,” he said. “And when our former players come here with their families, they can look on the wall and say, ‘There it is, No. 67, Dave Herman.’

“I wanted our former players and former coaches to be a part of our team’s success. When Dennis Byrd sent me that jersey of his and that note, it just blew me away. It’s such an honor and he thought I was worthy to have that jersey, which I’m not even close to being.”

One more reason Ryan is a coach that many players around the NFL might want to play for someday.

Rex Cetera

As Ryan predicted, Jason Taylor (concussion) climbed the injury ladder, from did not practice on Wednesday to limited on Thursday to full-go today. He is probable to play against the Steelers. The only other difference in the Jets’ I-list was DE Shaun Ellis, one of the stars of the Patriots victory, not practicing today and being listed as questionable.

But as Rex summed it up, “He’s going to play. They’re all going to play. They’re questionable … they’re playing. That’s pretty much it.”

Mark Sanchez, conducting a rare Friday news conference, was asked about that sore right shoulder of his. “It feels, honestly, really good,” he said. “Every week it’s gotten better. Last week is the best it’s felt. This week’s even better.” … Ryan declared today’s final practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center fieldhouse as “outstanding. The focus was great, as you would assume it would be for a game of this magnitude.”

The Steelers’ health also improved for a game of this magnitude, as we expected it would. Only four players remain on their I-report. DE Aaron Smith (triceps) is doubtful, CB Bryant McFadden (abdomen) and S Will Allen (knee) are questionable, and S Troy Polamalu (Achilles) is probable after his first full practice of the week.


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Posted in Randy Lange | 21 Comments »


21 Responses to “O-Line Makes the Grade for Its Patriots Game”

  1. By wayne on Jan 21, 2011 | Reply

    I will continue to not expect these guys to win…….Although this game is as even as a game can get….Team with the fewest mistakes will win….If Sanchez can keep go turnover free ……..I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO SAY IT……….

  2. By Steven on Jan 21, 2011 | Reply

    1. Why is the safety going that way?’ ” Ward said. “Whatever he did, I’m open. Then I look on tape. ‘Oh, Ben pump-faked.’ That is a quote in an article and I hope the Jets have figured out Ben’s secret of the pump fake. Mark I noticed you had a good pump fake to help get the ball to Edwards. Hope you use the pump a lot.
    2. Many expect it to be a stingy football game in which one mistake, one big play will be the difference between going home or going to the Super Bowl. Another quote. I think it is true. If everybody plays with the proper form and technique and limit the mistakes, the Jets should win.
    3. In another article I read, Harrison said he plans to lay Santonio out.
    4.Steelers will come after the ball for turnovers-play like Jets

  3. By wayne on Jan 21, 2011 | Reply

    More good news for the Jets. Not only am I expecting them to lose, so is Peter King…..I’ll just shut from here on and watch.

  4. By Steven on Jan 21, 2011 | Reply

    PS:
    Crowmartie, please JAM JAM JAM. You are strong enough to knock them off their routes, disrupt their timing, knock them off their routes and disrupt their timing. You can be every bit as good as Revis. If you are in this game it will be hard for the Steelers to win. Please don’t give the receivers a ten yard head start and all he has to do is turn in five yards and catch a quickie and run for yards. Please
    Jam, Jam, Jam

  5. By dougmc on Jan 21, 2011 | Reply

    Give Sanchez some time and our guys will be open. Listen to In the Huddle from Total Access and they see Palamalu isn’t at 100% or the other two guys in Steelers secondary. We stopped Mathis and Freeney, we can stop Harrison and Co.. Like I said,beating Pats was like winning the Superbowl and I was OK if that’s as far as we went, but I’m feeling more confident in our Jets more and more every day. We can do this and we should have beaten the Pack and the Bears this year. We can do this…Let’s Go!!! Gimme a…
    J————E————T————S…JETS…JETS….JETS…!!!

  6. By jay on Jan 21, 2011 | Reply

    JETS
    I believe

  7. By NorCalJet on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    I love me some Jets!!! This organization has given use a year to remember. We find ourselves once again in the AFC Championships. These are the new “Same Old Jets” and they will do us proud no matter the outcome. Play hard, play smart and give Pitt what you got! From a long time,die hard Jets fan growing up out west, living in 49er/Raider Nation, I believe!!! Let’s go GANG GREEN!!!

  8. By Christopher on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    Wayne, I hear ya, I don’t even want to think of saying what might happen, we’ve all had our doubts, but this could…….

    This game may very well come down to the refs…Pitt continues to get calls their way at home. The team that makes the fewest mistakes wins. Pitt’s O line can be beat and when we get the chance we must go for the strip. Their will be opprotunities for turnovers, unlike the Patriots game, we must get those loose balls and create turnovers. If the O-Line plays great Sunday, the D creates turnovers, and the refs do not kill us, or maybe another special teams play

    In Rex we trust….he knows this Pitt team very well, should be entertaining.

    Go Jets!!!!

  9. By Christopher on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    It would be bitter sweet to see Holmes catch the winning TD with seconds left.

    if I survive the heart attack, it would be the ultimate way to win.

    In my opinion though the Jets should go early and often to Edwards. When he is on look out. Go Jets!!!!

  10. By mark on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    wow! I thought colts and patriots – thats a tough line up to get through and didn’t think jets would make it but I LOVE TO BE PROVEN WRONG! yeee haarrr! my team!

  11. By charliejet on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    More often than not – championship teams had the best offensive line unit for that year – truly the backbone of any team. The unsung hero and don’t you forget it!

  12. By Patty on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    I’m Going To The Super Bowl. I’m NOT Going Home Without It!
    I’m Going To The Super Bowl. I’m NOT Going Home Without It!
    I’m Going To The Super Bowl. I’m NOT Going Home Without It!

    May this be your mantra throughout out the whole game.

    Remember guys! They are going to hit you hard, often and late.
    They are going to try and takeaway the ball.
    They are going to play dirty and try to get you to have penalties and mistakes.
    They will be desparate. Play like champions and you will be champions
    The Super Bowl is a once in a lifetime event and you are ALMOST there.
    Whoops; I said the “Same Old Jets” word which is ALMOST but you can do it!

  13. By dave on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    without max starks and willie colon, our pass rush should be able to get going. is flozel adams hurt as well?

    I really hope rex puts wallace on revis island, because while ward is a great receiver, he is not a threat to score on every play like wallace is.

    we played the last two weeks by not blitzing and dropping a lot of guys into coverage, but this week we need to blitz and confuse their patchwork o-line.

    last two games we ran and ran, but his week, we may have a hard time running against the top run D in the league. We need to try to run the ball on every opportunity, but his willl most likely come down to sanchize. Good thing pit has a week secondary. mcfadden is hobbled and ike T is slow. Just keep the ball away from troy P.

  14. By dave on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    they have the best OLB’s in the game. Brick can stop either harrison or woodley, but whoever is on the other side …

    this is the key matchup of the game. If Wayne hunter can stop the OLB lined up against him (with help from backs and tight ends) we will win.

    On the other side of the ball, the steelers go in with back-ups at the o tackle positions. Pace, ellis, taylor and thomas have to win the match-ups against these 2nd stringers.

    Our WR’s are far supirior to there CBs, but Poole and Smith need to lock up heath miller. our blitzing D tend to be vulnerable to TEs and they have a good one. ES and BP need to lock Heath and Spaeth down.

  15. By frank on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    sanchez sanchez sanchez its all up to sanchez. get him out of the pocket or we lose. this is the game where he needs to tuck it n run even though he doesnt do it that often. he cannot take chances or we lose.please no late throws tuck n run mark

  16. By Ed in Tucson on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    I watched my copy of the SB III video yesterday. Once again I was struck by the number of passes Joe Willie threw in the 4th Q; none! Weeb Ewbank & his staff knew how to play with a lead. With the O line they had, & the way the D was containing the powerful Colts’ O, it made sense to ground & pound the time away.
    Tomorrow’s game is a similar match-up, these Steelers are similar to those Colts. They can be beat with a relentless ground attack. But we need to stretch their D out by running outside a lot, or making it look that way, then running inside. If MS is gonna throw, let him do it on the run. :)
    I’m confident that our D can contain Pit & hold them to 17 pts or less, assuming no turnovers. Our O line is good enough to drive for 3 TDs.

  17. By Walt on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    Why is everyone thinking that this game is any more difficult than our game against the colts or the patriots.The colts were AFC champions and they played us at almost full strength.The patriots had the best record in the NFL.If we play as good against the steelers as we did against the patriots we will definately win.The jets may have already played the two best teams in the NFL.

  18. By Christopher on Jan 23, 2011 | Reply

    Walt, I’m sure the boys will handle business Sunday, but every game has challenges, every team left is good.

    I believe this game will be all about LT. His presense, his leadership, not to mention his great play. It has this whole team believing it can be done. If LT has a big day, no way this team loses. However, I believe Sanchez can get it done as well. He may need to pass early to setup the runs, which can be scary, if Sanchez is off, it’s 3 and out, where running 1st and 2nd takes time, and hopefully sets up a manageable 3rd down. If Mark makes a couple of throws early, it could open up running lanes for the whole game. Steelers will do everything they can to put the game in Mark’s hands. He must avoid turnovers and the big hits.

  19. By Chris Sorgie on Jan 23, 2011 | Reply

    If NY Jets Offensive Line holds up and Keeps Mark Protected — JETS WILL WIN!!!!!!

  20. By Ed in Tucson on Jan 23, 2011 | Reply

    4 hours till game time, my 2nd grandson is being born in Livermore, Ca. Today is certainly a day to remember 1-23. My 1st son was born the same year as SB III, having a grandson on the year of the Jets’ 2nd SB would be a nice bookend. :)
    I hope MS is focused but relaxed. I believe that we can run against Pit but it would be very helpful if the good MS shows up. If he’s sharp early then it’s no contest. Short rollout passes to start the game & lots of runs are the way to go. Long, time killing drives are key to winning. Berger Boy is more of a threat than Pretty Boy Brady who seldom leaves the pocket unless he absolutely has to. Big Ben loves to run & shoot.
    Ironically, throwing on the run is when MS is at his best, I hope Schotty uses that

  21. By ELLIS on Jan 23, 2011 | Reply

    O line will win this game! Protect Sanchez from Polamalu and Harrison!

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