I recently had the chance to exchange questions with the editor of TheJetsBlog, Brian Bassett. Look for my responses to his Dolphin questions over on his site sometime today. Below are his responses to my Jet questions:
Brett Favre has only been a Jet for about a month. So I'm sure that the offense will still be scaled back a bit on Sunday. What should we expect from this Jets offense this week?
Brian: Chad was a total bookworm, so week in and out, the offense was pretty much wide open, Favre has been in the same offense for twelve years and isn't exactly known for his studiousness, so Favre and his new OC Brian Schottenheimer are trying to find common ground. I think the Jets will look to work the running game to keep the defensive line on their heels mostly with Thomas Jones and some of the quicker Leon Washington (who can rip off big gains) but as far as passing the ball, it's not like years past. The ball is going to be coming downfield a lot to Jerricho Cotchery. It remains to be seen how much Coles will play as he's been battling an injury during the preseason ... I don't think it will hamper him much though.
Many media reports claim that Vernon Gholston, the Jets' 6th overall pick, has struggled a bit at times to make the transition to OLB in the NFL. So what can you tell us about this? And are you worried at all that Vernon might just be a "workout warrior" who might not ever reach his potential?
Brian: Gholston was always a project, so that people are concerned about his adaptation is kind of amusing. Gholston came out as a junior 4-3 DE, and is now playing OLB in a 3-4 ... it's going to take some time for him to settle in. Even so, he'll be the first first round pick of this regime that won't immediately start.
I think it's a concern, but there are a lot of other players that have struggled similarly in their transition recently ... Mario Williams was declared a bust, and now might be one of the best defensive lineman in the league. Gaines Adams had a slow start, but came on strong in the end. Shawne Merriman was inactive for the start of his rookie season, and now he's a household name.
So far, Gholston has had issues learning his new position ... he's used to pinning his ears back and going after the quarterback, but the Jets have been trying to teach and use him in contains as well as coverage -- since it's his something he hasn't done much, and he'll need to learn if he wants to start. During the season, he'll see time on the field in passing situations, and they'll gradually try to move him into a full-time role, but there's no need to rush him, as the Jets already have Bryan Thomas who can play the role well enough.
The Jets were 29th in the NFL in defending the rush last season (almost as bad as the Dolphins were). But the addition of Kris Jenkins will surely help a bit. What do you expect from the Jets' rush defense? Are you worried at all that the Dolphins will be able to control the ball on the ground with Ricky and Ronnie?
Brian: It's a real concern for Jets fans for the past few years, but so far in the preaseason DT Kris Jenkins has been a beast at the nose, pushing into the backfield and making some tackles for loss while being doubled and disrupting the offensive line. When you add the much larger OLB Calvin Pace (who Parcells himself wanted) instead of Victor Hobson, the ability to stop the run on the inside and out becomes a reality. I think Ricky, Ronnie and the new offensive line for the Phins with Justin Smiley and Jake Long versus the revamped Jets front seven will be a real key point of determining the winner of this game.
A big thanks to Brian for taking the time to do this. And remember to head over to TheJetsBlog to see my responses, which will be posted sometime today.