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Defense Knows What’s at Stake on Sunday

Posted by Andrew LeRay on November 25, 2011 – 2:21 pm

When the Jets and Bills met for the first time this season in Week 9, the game featured two teams with winning records battling for position atop the AFC East. Three weeks later, both sit at 5-5 and both are in dire need of a win.

The Bills come into MetLife Stadium riding a three-game losing streak in which they have been outscored, 106-26. A year that had started so promisingly has taken an abrupt turn for the worse, and Buffalo is left scrambling to save its season. The Jets are also looking to stop the bleeding after consecutive losses have dropped them to .500 and in danger of missing the playoffs.

“It’s always a tough game between us and the Bills,” said CB Darrelle Revis. “We’re familiar with them, they’re familiar with us, and we know they’re going to bring it. It’s a must-win for them, too. Both teams know what’s at stake this Sunday.”

After shoring up early-season defensive woes, the Jets have settled in and are playing their traditionally stout defense. A masterful performance in Denver was marred by the late-game 95-yard touchdown drive led by QB Tim Tebow. Nonetheless, the Green & White think they learned something about themselves – and the Bills – after that clinic earlier this month in Orchard Park, N.Y.

“If you can disrupt the short passing game and defend the run, you can stop them,” said Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. “I think that’s the blueprint that we kind of laid out. If you watch, there have been a lot of similar elements of our game plan against them in the last couple of games.”

Coming into the Week 9 tilt, the Bills had averaged 380 yards of total offense per game. The Jets defense mauled Buffalo, holding them to 287 yards of total offense. The Bills possessed the football for only 22:08, easily their lowest possession time of the season.

“If you have the ability to match them 1-on-1, get in the passing lanes early and get decent pressure on the quarterback, that helps,” said Pettine. “We have the challenge of how much do we stay the same, knowing they’ll adjust.”

The Bills will have to adjust without the NFL’s third-leading rusher, RB Fred Jackson, who fractured his fibula in their 35-8 loss in Miami on Sunday. He was ruled out of this week’s game on Wednesday, then placed on season-ending IR shortly thereafter.

Jackson will be replaced by C.J. Spiller, the multithreat second-year speedster. Drafted as a running back out of Clemson in 2010, Spiller has seen an increased workload as a wide receiver since Jackson tightened his stranglehold on the tailback position.

“We have to make some adjustments in our matchups because you are essentially taking a player with wide receiver ability and putting him in the backfield, so you can’t really play him the same way,” said Pettine. “That’s the one advantage he gives them is that he’s both.”

Despite the Pro Bowl-type season Jackson was enjoying prior to his injury, Pettine sees the Bills as a more dynamic passing attack than a damaging rushing squad.

“I think their run game is fairly straightforward,” said Pettine. “I would say the pass game has some complexity to it. They can throw out of two-backs, they can throw out of one-back. It’s a lot more empty backfield than most teams. They have a lot of routes that are very complementary to each other, that are all predicated on what coverage you’re in.”

The win at Ralph Wilson Stadium was one of the best games the Green & White have played all season. Both sides of the ball stepped up to earn the road victory at a critical juncture in the season. Now at another crossroads, the Jets need to duplicate that effort at MetLife Stadium.

The defense is playing well, but has not lived up to the “elite” moniker the coaching staff wishes to apply to its squad. According to Pettine, there is a hurdle in the way.

“We’re close, but if we want to be elite, it’s the closing-games part of it. The inconsistency has led us to where we’re a good enough defense to be 5-5. You are what your record says you are. We’ve had opportunities to close out some games and we haven’t been able to do it.”

Injury Reports

Rex Ryan at today’s news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center laid out his 16-player injury report, with only two players listed as questionable and the rest as probable for the Bills.

The two questionable players are important pieces to the Jets’ offensive puzzle, though — RB LaDainian Tomlinson and WR Jeremy Kerley.

“With LT, I never know if I should put him questionable or doubtful,” Ryan said. “He’s in that range. He’s probably right in the middle there. I think he’d play, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ll go,” but what are we going to get? What’s going to happen to him if we play him? That’s a balancing act. We absolutely have to win, but we have to win the rest of ‘em, too.”

Kerley seemed a little closer to returning to action, although he did not participate in today’s shorter practice either. Ryan called his rookie WR a “gametime decision.”

LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson (ankle) was added to the Jets’ list but he practiced full and is listed as probable. Click here for the Jets’ complete injury report for the game.

The Bills are listing six players as out for the Jets, including three that they’ve placed on IR this week — Jackson, WR Donald Jones (ankle) and CB Terrence McGee — plus S George Wilson (neck), WR Naaman Roosevelt (shoulder) and K Rian Lindell. Dave Rayner has been kicking for the Bills since Lindell hurt the shoulder trying to tackle Joe McKnight on his long kickoff return to start the second half at Buffalo three games ago.

Probables after full practices today in Western New York are WRs Stevie Johnson (shoulder) and David Nelson (illness) and T Demetrius Bell (shoulder).

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Posted in Andrew LeRay | 26 Comments »

26 Responses to “Defense Knows What’s at Stake on Sunday”

  1. By Charliejet on Nov 25, 2011 | Reply

    Did I just hear right? Schotty one year extension on his contract through 2012?
    Why doesn’t that surprise me?

  2. By joe on Nov 25, 2011 | Reply

    Pettine says the Defence is close to elite- REALLY..Do defences that are close to elite allow Tim Tebow to go 80 yards in a few minutes (The very same Tim Tebow who couldnt HIT THE OCEAN IF HE WAS STANDING ON THE BEACH )Mr Pettine should respect the words of Joe Namath because this entire team THINKS it is better than it actually is.Mr Pettine your record says your 500 =AVERAGE NOT ELITE

  3. By joe on Nov 25, 2011 | Reply

    pS And the really crazy thing is other than Brady (and we all know know how that turned out twice )this D really hasnt faced a Rothesburger,Manning Brees or Rogers this year )

  4. By Karan on Nov 25, 2011 | Reply

    Are you kidding me Jets?!!! I just read somewhere that the Jets gave OC Brian Schottenheimer an extension this past off-season, are you kidding me? really guys?? really?? Out of all the problems on this team, you give the #1 problem a contract extension? Bravo! Good luck offensively the rest of the way. Tannenbaum and Johnson will regret this, I just hope coaches contracts are not guaranteed, this is pretty frustrating as a fan, we’ve had enough of schottenheimer this season, and now we get to see his “awesome” offensive mind go to work again a whole new season, can’t wait…..sigh (horrible offseason decisions)

  5. By joeyjets12fla on Nov 25, 2011 | Reply

    Defense Knows What’s at Stake on Sunday. What About the Offense?

  6. By joe on Nov 25, 2011 | Reply

    Why would Schottys extension suprise you guys ,were talking about the Jets here.Lets look at the facts -the past 3 years REX RYAN has flat out guaranteed us a Super Bowl win every year.At this point in time we have never won an AFC Championship or an Eastern Division Title much less than a Superbowl and are nothing more than a GLORIFYED 500 TEAM .Our recent drafts have been terrible to say the least and upper management holds Rex and his staff to absolutely no accountability whatso ever.

  7. By joe on Nov 25, 2011 | Reply

    Ps did you guys check out Bellicks R rated comment a few great weeks ago about the Jets having a GREAT DEFENCE (right after BRADY LIT THEM UP).Because of REXS MOUTH and failures to back up ALL OF HIS TALK were becoming a joke

  8. By jetfan1 on Nov 25, 2011 | Reply

    Can the new RT start? Lol

  9. By Jimmer on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    Charliejet, get a grip, no way is he back after this suicide.
    6 years of getting QB’s killed is enough for me, or any gm.
    Any all-pro OL cannot protect a QB enough for a shotty offense to work.
    We already have 1 dead QB, and on our way to another.
    How about we protect the QB and not the OC? We might score.

  10. By Karan on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    AFC Championship 2011: Jets vs Ravens

  11. By Charliejet on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks Jimmer ! (for putting things in perspective- now that makes sense).

  12. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    I’m with you, joeyjets12fla, what’s with this constant harping on the D’s alleged problems when the O almost NEVER comes thru to win the game and more often loses it? Pettine must be terrified for his job and I can understand that, given the way Rex runs the team — or rather, half the team. A day that will live in infamy in Rex’s tenure, and perhaps prove indicative of his Achilles’ heel, was the day he went crazy on the D after the 10-6 MIA loss last yr. That’s largely what started me thinking that we have an irrational, excessively impulsive HC who also lacks a solid vision for how we’re supposed to win. To Rex, it’s “ground and pound,” score 10 pts, and expect the D to hold everyone to 3. Earth to Rex: Never gonna happen, hombre.

  13. By GaryC on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    jets have as much a chance to win 6 in a row, as Jet Fan Tom will be on the same float with Sanchez at the tournament of roses parade.

  14. By GaryC on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    Jet Fan Tom, looking back on it no wonder Cotchery was upset that he would be playing behind Burress,playing behind a guy who is way past his prime and all the solid years he put in.Just another bonehead decision by management.

  15. By GaryC on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    maybe shotty is a member, of the OCU, offensive coordinators union, he has a job for life.

  16. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    A word to the wise is sufficient, as my dad always used to say: Everyone in Jets Nation should read the ESPN piece today entitled, “Deep Passing Game Propels Packers to 11-0.” On second thought, maybe it’s okay if just Woody, Mr. T, and Rex read it. Schotty can read it from his next job at Podunk State and if Sanchez were to read it, he’d just say, “That’s on me, I gotta play better.” (Yeah, and it wouldn’t hurt for the O line guys to read it, too.)

  17. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    Actually, GaryC, if Campbell can be traded instead of let go as an FA, it’s occurred to me that Sanchez would make a swell back-up to his USC buddy Carson Palmer if we traded him to OAK for Campbell and a pick next yr. Not exactly the ideal scenario but there WILL come a day when Rex and Schotty, to say nothing of the front office, will just wanna see a QB lead the O reasonably well without everyone having to make these contrived arguments about how “Sanchez is on pace to have stats of…,” “We’re better with our backs against the wall,” etc. The plain truth is we don’t play consistently well and don’t scare ANYONE on O, and all that has to change. And yeah, Schotty must be the Richard Trumpka figure of that OC’s union!

  18. By jetfan1 on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    64 Tom …Lol… I haven’t read the article and I do not need to, I hear it all week every week when I watch weekly recap shows on any of the winning teams and/or the lack of a deep passing game while reviewing the losing/stalllng, turnover prone teams….. WITHOUT THE DEEP PASS the defense fills the box and takes away the long runs, short passing game, screens, dink & dunk offense like our very own OC’s! This must sound all too familiar and is totally not necessary after SOOOOOooooooo LONnnnnnnng!

  19. By jetfan1 on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    Bring back BRAYLON!

  20. By scjoe on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    Two teams that are reeling right now. To be outscored 106-26 in your last three games is about as bad as it gets. Based on those stats alone you would think “mismatch” But I have witnessed a lot from this team over 51 years and nothing is automatic with them. I remember the losses to the 1-13 Colts, the 0 for the season Saints, the 2-10 Bills, etc. etc. etc. With many of those Jets teams in contention at the time, so hold on to your hats.

  21. By Steve on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    Jetfan Tom, why would you want to trade for Campbell, who hasn’t has any real success with any team he’s been with? That is just crazy man. What I’d like to see like a lot of Jet fans is to build a team with the draft instead of trading those picks away for players that are past their prime. I agree that a change in offensive philosophy has to take place if MS is ever going to reach his potential. Right now he has lost his confidence, which makes a player think too much instead of just playing. The offense would have been better off if stuck with ground and pound from the beginning, instead of getting so pass happy. I think Ms would have been more consistent had they done so. A change at OC is needed.

  22. By Ed in Tucson on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    It’s a lot easier to say that the Jets should use the long passing game than it is for MS to complete long passes. I’ve criticized Schotty’s play calling for years but lately I’m starting to think that the plays he calls are limited by MS’ abilities. I would be afraid to call long passes with MS as my QB. Brad Smith made up for MS’ shortcomings when he ran the Wildcat for us; now we don’t even have that to fall back on. MS doesn’t play D but his inability to sustain long scoring drives negatively impacts our D, especially late in the game. The D gets tired after a bunch of 3 & outs. I’m sure that, & Denver’s thin air, played a big role in Tebow’s run at the end of the game. That said, I still wish we would have looked for another OC.

  23. By joe on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    Exactly correct every d we play has absolutely no fear of Chad P i mean Mark S throwing deep so they move the safteys into the box. Chad P i mean Mark responds the entire game with the only pass he knows =SLANT

  24. By wayne ennist on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    Offense has to STEP UP and protect Sanchez. We now know he cannot take a biog hit. He has been playing scared since the Ravens beat him up. We have good recievers but no one to get the ball to them. I am tired of the damn excuses….

  25. By GaryC on Nov 27, 2011 | Reply

    Here is a thought all Jet fans should shudder at, Seeing that Shotty signed an extension,how would the fans react if Tanny left the organization, Rex moved up to the general managers post and they selected Shotty as head coach.It would bring back the days of Charlie Winner and Lou Holtz.

  26. By Jet Fan Tom Since '64 on Nov 27, 2011 | Reply

    Steve, I’m not that high on Campbell but given the starting job for sure and the same OC for at least 1 yr, he was starting to do okay in OAK. If the Jets get fed up with Sanchez after this yr, I’m not sure they’ll see McElroy as enough competition. Campbell has never in his NFL career looked as pitiful as MS did in the last 2 games vs. BAL, so it’s hard to say for sure that he’d be a step down from MS. MS played better today overall (more on that later) but against a team missing key D guys and he had his usual awful start. I don’t think we’re going to beat too many teams better than BUF with the level of play we showed today, but we’re still in it, so we’ll see. But once we’re not in it, if we’re not, I think lots of changes will be made.

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