Let's be honest with ourselves: if the Bills are going to win a game before their Week Six bye week, they have a much better shot of beating the 1-2 New York Jets this weekend than the 3-0 Dallas Cowboys next Monday Night. You know, the Jets that just picked up their first win against the Dolphins, or the Cowboys that just demolished the Bears. I choose the Jets - this is a must-win for our Bills.
The Jets are a bit of an enigma right now - they've lost to two very good teams (Pats, Ravens), but no one is sure just how good they really are. We have a guest with us this morning who has a far better idea than most - it's Jetfighter from NY Landing Strip. He was kind enough to answer some pressing questions I had in regards to the Jets; here's his view on the Gang Green heading into this weekend (my questions in bold):
There's been a lot of controversy surrounding Jets fans in regards to the cheering of Chad Pennington's leg injury. Were you amongst those fans, or are you still of the mind that Pennington is the right QB for your team?
NYLS: Yikes! Yes, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the celebration of Chad Pennington's injury. I for one was not cheering and was extremely disgraced at being a Jet fan. Reports came out that they were cheering for him getting off the field on his own, but I am still a little suspicious. However, right now I am still in the state of mind that Chad is the right QB for the team...for now. Obviously Kellen Clemens is the future of the franchise, so I am not sure what to expect from Chad next year. The Bears need a QB, right?
If the Jets miss the playoffs this season, do you envision a scenario where the Jets look to deal Pennington and go with Kellen Clemens as their starter for 2008?
NYLS: Yes, there is a great chance that Chad can get dealt and Clemens will be the starter on opening day 2008. It is a shame because I am such a huge Chad Pennington fan, it would hurt to see him do good somewhere else. He is a game manager, and with a good defense and a decent RB, he could shine (a la Ben Roethlisberger). After seeing Clemens in the 4th against the Ravens he looks to have potential, so Pennington being gone is a definite if they miss the playoffs, which I think they might.
Thomas Jones has to be licking his chops this week facing arguably the NFL's worst run defense in Buffalo. How has he looked as he recovers from his pre-season injury?
NYLS: TJ has looked pretty decent since he has recovered from his Achilles strain. He was out for most of the pre-season, and wasn't 100% against the Pats and the Ravens, so this past weekend's game against the Dolphins was his first quality start. I don't think the Bills are that bad on defense, they just have played 3 extremely good AFC teams in the first 3 weeks. TJ looked decent against the Fins, but the Jets O-line needs to open some holes to get him some more yards.
Eric Mangini's defense has given up 86 points in three games, most in the AFC East. What's been the biggest problem defensively for the Jets?
NYLS: This is such a great question....The main problem with the Jets defense doesn't even account for the players on the field, or football for that matter. Brian, take a square and try forcing it into a circular opening....it just doesn't fit! Mangini and the Patriot way are convinced on making the defense a 3-4...when their best players (Vilma, Ellis, Robertson, Barton) are pretty decent 4-3 scheme players.
They have traded this all in for a 3-4 that doesn't have the right personnel. The only player to benefit from the change? Former bust Bryan Thomas... big whoop. If the Jets want to re-build the defense, that's fine, but that means we need a 400-pound D-tackle who can suck up bodies and free the linebackers, and a pass rushing specialist, not run stoppers Shaun Ellis and Kenyon Coleman. The Jets will not be an elite team until they address their 3-4, 4-3 dilemma.
Take off your green gear for a moment and speak objectively. If you were the Bills, how would you attack the Jets to try to secure your first win of the season?
NYLS: If I were the Bills, I would the run often and hard. The Bills' line is monstrous, and Marshawn has looked great. Like the aforementioned answer I gave, the Jets don't know what they're doing on defense, to pursue or to stand still. It is a complete mess. I would run the ball to set up play-action, and pick on David Barrett and rookie Darrelle Revis.
As for the defense, blitz Pennington all day. Aaron Schobel kills D'Brickashaw Ferguson and the Jets are weak between D'Brick and Nick Mangold. Get Pennington flustered and there isn't much left. Press the corners because you know Chad can't beat them deep.
The one final thing is the cheap plays. The Jets love to do the no-huddle and get a 12th man on the field of play, or encroachment penalty, so when the play is over, get back onsides on defense.
Thanks, Jetfighter, for the great analysis about the Jets and, what's more, some surprisingly kind words about our winless Bills. Be sure to stop by NY Landing Strip over the next few days to get your fill on the Jets and check out the reciprocal interview I gave Jetfighter as well!