Former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano returns to Miami this week as the offensive coordinator of the New York Jets.
Week 3 of the NFL season means one thing this year....It's New York Jets week! This Sunday, the Miami Dolphins welcome their hated division rivals into Sun Life Stadium. We hate the Jets. Jets fans hate the Dolphins. It's awesome. There really is nothing quite like Jets week.
To get us better prepared for this week's game, I turned to Scott Salmon from Gang Green Nation, SB Nation's New York Jets blog. Salmon was kind enough to answer my five questions about the Jets. You can see my answers to his questions by heading over to Gang Green Nation.
Kevin Nogle (KN): Obviously, all of the media focus this year is on Tim Tebow, and when will he take over for Mark Sanchez.However, Sachez has not been that bad this year. What's the temperature of the fan base? Are they behind Sachez, or has the call for Tebow started to dominate?
Scott Salmon (SS): The fan base is pretty solidly behind Mark Sanchez. He's looked significantly better this year than previously. More confident, more zip on his passes. Generally better decision making. If he has a terrible (think three picks) game then it may pick up, but for now, nearly everyone seems to want to keep Tim Tebow in the Tebow-cat.
KN: After having seen Tony Sparano against the Jets twice a year for four years, and now having him as the Jets' offensive coordinator, how similar is the offense? Are the Jets really a ground-and-pound team still?
SS: It looks a lot better than what I saw with the Miami Dolphins. It's very up-tempo, and generally unpredictable, in a good way. The game against the Buffalo Bills and the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in particular, Tony Sparano seemed really dialed in. The rest of the Pittsburgh game was a different story, but nearly everyone seemed off that game. It definitely has a lot of vertical elements, which the Jets haven't seen in years. Right now, I would say that we're still a ground-and-pound team, but if Shonn Greene gets injured, we have zero proven depth and I suspect we'll become much more heavily dependent on the pass.
KN: What's the current health of the Jets? We've seen Darrelle Revis and Mark Sanchez in the injury report, although they are both expected to play. Anything serious or major losses?
SS: Dustin Keller is the most notable person that's been injured. He missed last week with an injured hamstring, and was ineffective Week 1 with the same injury. He's slated to play this weekend, so he should be an interesting case. If not, Jeff Cumberland and Konrad Reuland will have to step up. Sione Po'uha is another notable that was injured Week 1, but he played last weekend and will anchor the line against Reggie Bush. His lower back is something to watch though. Bryan Thomas is also likely to not play, but his replacement in Garrett McIntyre had five tackles and two sacks last week, so he isn't a concern. Joe McKnight has been nicked up lately, but he seems to be healthy going into the weekend. Finally, Eric Smith is still injured as well and likely won't play, from what I understand.
The Jets as a whole are fairly nicked up with small injuries here and there (lot of pulled hamstrings in training camp) but generally they seem good to go. If Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, and Sione Po'uha all play, like they should, the major injuries will all have been averted. Keep an eye out though for McIntyre, who should be good in replacement duty.
SS: Bell has been very solid. He's starting alongside LaRon Landry. He doesn't seem to be very flashy, and has more of a workman-like approach, which is what I seemed to notice in Miami. He already has 14 tackles, second only to David Harris. Gates has been surprising, at least to me. I expected absolutely nothing from him, except maybe in the return game. Honestly, I expected him to be cut once he gave us some dirt on the Dolphins. But he had a catch this past week, and probably should have had at least one more, which isn't bad considering he's the #5 receiver. His route running has looked a lot better than I was expecting, so I'll be looking forward to seeing him this week. Expect both to be out for the coin flip, as Rex loves to give ex-players of an opponent that sort of opportunity.
KN: If you were asked to make the game plan against the Jets, how would you attack them on offense? On defense?
SS: On defense, I would do my best to get Reggie Bush in space. The Jets have had some issues with tackling, notably in the Pittsburgh game, so they will need to put a lot of effort into bringing Bush down. Otherwise, I would get Anthony Fasano involved in the passing game early, as they still struggle against the tight ends (although better at covering them this year, so far, than last year).
On offense, I would line up Cameron Wake over Austin Howard and blitz like hell from that side. Howard has been pretty impressive so far, but he's still inexperienced and liable to make mistakes. That's your best chance at bringing down Sanchez. Another thing I would do is press the receivers. Santonio Holmes tends to get frustrated when things aren't going great so if you can get under his skin, he'll probably get less productive. And Stephen Hill, as talented as he is, is still raw, so he might struggle under that sort of pressure.
A big thank you to Scott for taking the time to give us a look into the Jets.