Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comThis weekend, the Jets face off against the Oakland Raiders. Here are three match-ups we’re interested in watching come Sunday…
Antonio Allen (NYJ DB) on James Jones (OAK WR) — James Jones is out to prove that he’s more than a creation of the Packers, but it would seem that the Raiders coaching staff has some conflicting views on the receiver. First, Jones saw himself stuck behind Andre Holmes on the depth chart, then the San Francisco Chronicle reported coaches might think Jones “has too much wear” to play the number one spot. To me, that sounds like a coaching staff who isn’t thrilled with Jones’ speed … and while Jones might be a veteran who knows the ins and outs of the game, it still seems like an opportunity for a converted safety like Antonio Allen to keep up with Jones. Allen is at his best when he’s jamming receivers at the line, so up against Jones Allen would get to bump Jones off his route. If Jones’ speed isn’t great, then that would allow Allen more opportunity to hang around in coverage as the route progresses, provided Allen has some help over the top.
Eric Decker (NYJ WR) on Tarrell Brown / Carlos Rogers (OAK CB) — Last year, Rogers and Brown played together in San Francisco. Rogers logged the tenth-most snaps as a corner, while Brown saw less time on the field, but was more effective. Rogers played at below replacement level, according to Pro Football Focus ranking 66th among corners allowing receivers to catch 61.3 percent of the passes thrown his way. Brown played at a slightly higher (43rd overall) level, allowing 57.5 percent of passes to be caught. Decker should be able to get the better of both players, but we would guess that Rogers is the one which OC Marty Mornhinweg and QB Geno Smith will look to pick on a little more. Expect the Jets to try and test Rogers at the intermediate and deep levels of the secondary.
Quinton Coples (NYJ RLB) on Khalif Barnes (OAK RT) — Second-year pro Menelik Watson was projected to start the season for the Raiders as their right tackle, but poor play has seen him benched in favor of veteran Khalif Barnes, who is on his last legs as an NFL player. Donald Penn, an offensive lineman who can hold his own, will play the left tackle spot for the Raiders this season. While Coples tends to line up on the left side of the offense’s formation, passing on the opportunity to take advantage of the slipping play of Barnes might be too good of an opportunity for Rex Ryan. Deploying Calvin Pace to the left side of the formation makes even more sense when you consider that pushing the rookie quarterback to the left makes life harder on the scrambling and play-extending Derek Carr.
While we expect situational pass-rushing backup Jason Babin to get his shots, it is Coples who regularly plays more than 80 percent of the snaps for the Jets and so on a down-by-down basis, it will be Coples that gets the best crack at Barnes. As the Raiders left tackle for ten games last year, Barnes graded out negatively as a pass blocker seven times. With Coples down 20 pounds this year to get more quickness, expect him to be able to pressure the quarterback around the right side of the formation.