Phil Simms, who will be at MetLife Stadium Sunday for Week 7 action between the Jets and the Chargers alongside Jim Nantz in the CBS broadcast booth, believes the Jets offense will continue to progress in the weeks ahead.
“Rex Ryan is the coach. There is a mentality and a culture that comes with that,” he told me on a “Four Quarters” installment that will air on the site throughout the weekend. “They’re not going to be the high-flying San Diego Chargers when Dan Fouts was the quarterback. There is going to be a toughness — that’s why they went to two straight AFC Championship Games. You don’t want to lose that.”
After a disastrous Week 4 setback in Baltimore, Simms thinks the “O” took steps forward in the Week 5 loss at New England and in Monday night’s 24-6 victory over the winless Dolphins.
“I’ve seen the Jets getting back to that a little the last couple of weeks. I think Jets fans should be somewhat excited about that,” he said. “Maybe it’s not the prettiest football in the world, but who cares? When it’s all said and done, it is about winning. They didn’t complain when they got to the championship game last year.“
While many pundits have questioned Mark Sanchez’s progress, Simms thinks the third-year passer has been solid the last two weeks. Sanchez completed 59 percent of his passes (30 of 51) with three TDs and zero turnovers in divisional play against the Pats and ‘Fins.
“Look at the last two games and look at the numbers,” Simms said. “I think he has three touchdowns and no interceptions, completion percentage OK and the yards are OK per attempt. Man, Rex Ryan must go into his office and go, ‘That’s what I want.’ ”
And while many in Jets Nation scream for long aerial strikes, Simms has an interesting take on Sanchez’s greatest strengths.
“He is a very good quick-rhythm thrower, the three-step game. Why? Because he has a great — not a good — drop. He has big hands and long arms. That makes him a good over-the-top short thrower,” he said. “He is one of the top-five ball fakers in the NFL, so that makes him a pretty good play-action quarterback. He throws good on the run and can move in the pocket behind the tackles well enough.”
The Jets defense will be tested by an excellent Chargers offense this weekend. Quarterback Philip Rivers loves to go down the field with his outside receivers and the Jets are confident on the outside with their talented corner tandem.
“The No. 1 thing I’m interested in watching this week is Vincent Jackson of the Chargers going against Darrelle Revis,” Simms said. “Darrelle is probably the best defensive player in the NFL and Vincent Jackson, people know about him but I don’t think they really respect how good he is. He is a fantastic receiver.”
Referring to the ‘Bolts as a “sneaky” running team, Simms says the Chargers’ approach in the pass game is unique.
“If you’re a Jets fan and you come out there to the game on Sunday, I don’t care where Philip Rivers throws it. He may throw it short, but you watch how many guys are running down the field every play,” he said. “It’s like worms — they’re wiggling in and out and it’s going to be great to see it against the Jets’ man-to-man defense.”
Simms, a quarterback for the crosstown team from 1979-93, does not minimize the importance of this game for New York’s AFC representative. Sitting 3-3, the Jets need a win headed into the bye or else it’s going to be a treacherous climb to return to the postseason.
“The room for error — that’s why it’s so critical for the Jets,” he said. “It will probably be one of the first things I say on the air that it is critical.”
Tags: Jim Nantz, Mark Sanchez, Phil Simms, Philip Rivers, Rex Ryan, San Diego Chargers
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