New York Jets (2-9) at Miami Dolphins (0-11)
Like I said yesterday, Jet fans are basically watching these remaining December games for the same reason that us Dolphin fans are watching their last few games. And that reason is to get a read on the starting quarterback to try and figure out of he's "the guy" to move forward with. For the Jets, it's 2006 2nd round pick Kellen Clemens. Clemens is a guy who is mobile, can scramble when he needs to, and has a very strong arm. He opened a lot of eyes back in week 2 when he made his first career start against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore and threw for 260 yards and a touchdown (and 2 interceptions). But since his 2nd career start, Clemens has struggled. In his last 2 games since New York's bye, Clemens has completed just 45% of his passes for 304 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. His average yards per attempt in those 2 games is 5.24. He'll be looking for a bounce back game in Miami against a Dolphin secondary that has allowed the 3rd most yards per attempt (7.66) and a pass rush that has just 17 sacks in 11 games. Back in week 3, Chad Pennington didn't put up a ton of yards, but he was efficient, completing 68% of his passes, and threw for 2 touchdowns.
It's looking like the Jets' leading receiver, Jerricho Cotchery, will not play on Sunday. But Laveranues Coles likely will, and he's been a Dolphin killer his entire career. Despite just having 3 catches for 30 yards in their first meeting, he did score yet another touchdown against the Dolphins. For Coles, that now makes it 10 touchdowns in 12 career games against Miami. With Cotchery likely not to play, that means the Dolphins have to shut down Coles. There's no excuse for Coles to have a big game. Part of the gameplan for Sunday needs to be not to let Coles beat them. Will Allen has gotten a lot of kudos recently, and for good reason. He has played well this year. But he really needs to step up on Sunday and shut Coles down. If he can do that, then that will force Clemens to have to throw to guys like Brad Smith and Justin McCareins more often to make plays. And I'll take my chances with those 2.
Speaking of a gameplan, I think the most important thing for the Dolphins to do on Sunday will be to shut down Thomas Jones and the running game of the Jets. Seriously, the guy is averaging 3.7 yards per carry on the year. But against us in week 3, the Dolphins let Jones total 110 yards on 25 carries. That's a really good way to lose again on Sunday. The fact of the matter is that Jones really isn't that good. I never understood why the media loved the signing by the Jets. I personally liked it, but that's because I figured it wouldn't help the Jets at all. And I seemed to have been pretty accurate. Signing a 29 year old running backs who has already been on 3 teams in 7 years generally isn't a good way to spend your money. Nice move, Mangini and company. Back to Sunday, stopping the run will be key for the Dolphins. It would force the Jets into a lot of 2nd and longs and 3rd and longs. It would put pressure on Clemens to make plays, and that's something I'm not sure Kellen is ready to do yet.
And speaking of pressure, how about the Dolphins actually get some on Clemens when he drops back to pass. I though that Dom Capers did a good job with blitzing against the Steelers. I loved the corner and safety blitzes a lot. And Will Allen is a great corner to blitz with because he's got great speed and is a physical player. I hope Dom brings the heat even more often on Sunday. I think knocking Kellen around a bit will be a good way to keep him from getting into a rhythm. But the key matchup along the line will be Jason Taylor versus D'Brickashaw Ferguson. In their first meeting, Ferguson shocked many by winning that battle in the trenches much too often. Taylor needs to step up and play like we all know he's capable of. Getting manhandled by a 2nd year left tackle for the 2nd time this year would be intolerable. Get your act together, JT!!
And last but certainly not least, can I please sit through the game on Sunday without having to see Leon Washington sprinting 50+ yards for a big play. Last Christmas, it was the screen pass. Back in September, it was the kick return in the 2nd quarter right after Ronnie Brown had tied the game up. Can somebody please control that short little sh*t on Sunday? Maybe take his head off on a kick return or something? That might be a good idea. Just please don't make me have to come onto this site on Sunday night and write my post-game thoughts and be forced to mention a big play by Washington. Please, please, please!
Alright. That's enough from me. Your thoughts below...