The New York Jets started the 2015 season 4-1, but have gone 1-4 in their last five games due in large part to their lack of consistency on offense.
1. Get back to the basics on offense
In the last five games, New York has tried to be more aggressive on offense by taking shots downfield in the passing game, but in doing so they’ve abandoned the one thing that got them to 4-1 in the beginning of the season–the running game.
Chris Ivory has struggled ever since he tweaked his groin/hamstring against New England, but he’s shown improvement in recent weeks. If the Jets are going to win this game it starts with getting Chris Ivory the ball early and often.
Chan Gailey wasn’t wrong to call the passing plays that he did against Buffalo and Houston–both teams have stout run defenses and Gailey chose to attack through the air instead. But that doesn’t mean you abandon the run altogether. Both Ivory and Bilal Powell need to see more action today against Miami’s 29th ranked run defense if the Jets want to stay in the playoff hunt.
2. Bring the heat all day long on defense
The Jets secondary will be without Darrelle Revis today, meaning someone (Cromartie, Skrine, Milliner?) will have the tall task of manning up Jarvis Landry all afternoon. With or without Revis though, Todd Bowles should be bringing the heat up front in the passing game.
With the secondary banged up and Miami’s pass protection a mess, I expect to see Bowles get creative in his blitz packages today and I expect to see a lot of Lorenzo Mauldin IV. Mauldin has impressed as a third down pass rusher and will undoubtedly see increased PT moving forward after the team cut ties with former first-round pick Quinton Coples earlier in the week.
Miami likes to run a lot of misdirection plays in both the running game and the passing game on offense–moving the defense one way, and getting the ball out quick to their playmakers (Miller, Landry) the other way–which is why it’s so crucial for the Jets front seven to get penetration early on.
If the Jets defense can sniff out these misdirection plays on early downs, they’ll be able to force Tannehill to stand in the pocket and throw the ball downfield with pressure coming at him. The question is whether the Jets secondary will be able to come away with takeaways without their biggest playmaker back deep.
3. No big plays on special teams
That’s right. Special teams.
The New York Jets have been downright awful on special teams all season long–the return team, the coverage team, you name it–and they’ve lost games because of it (Philadelphia, New England).
Coming off of two division losses in the last four weeks, New York cannot afford to lose this game against Miami and they certainly cannot afford to do so because of poor play on special teams.
Obviously Jarvis Landry is a threat whenever he gets the ball in his hands, but even more so when he gets the ball on special teams. Earlier this season we’ve seen instances in which Landry is getting shut down on offense, and all it will take is one punt return where he makes a few guys miss, the sideline starts screaming and he starts to get into a groove.
Bowles and the Jets cannot let Landry, or any other player influence the momentum of this game with plays on special teams. If Miami wants to get the ball to their precious number 14 they’re going to have to call some pass plays, and when they do, Sheldon, Mo, Leonard and Snacks will be coming.
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