The Safety Dance
Daniel Marcus , theJetsBlog.com
We all get that it’s Patriots week and many people’s predictions for Sunday’s game are very similar to that of Clubber Lang’s in Rocky III, “Pain.” However, one would be remiss to write the Jets off in this game even if New England will undoubtedly be out for blood after a heart-breaking loss to the Seahawks in Seattle but this year’s Jets squad has something that previous versions never had and that is a formidable safety tandem.
Earlier this week, Antonio “Slash” Cromartie said that the Safety chemistry is better than it has ever been: “One of the things that beat us last year, we were never on the same page on the back end. Even with Darrelle in the secondary, we never communicated the right way. I think we’re doing a better job of communicating than the past two years.” Laron Landry and Yeremiah Bell have provided that athleticism that has been missing for the Jets at Safety and the onus will likely be on them to limit the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
In addition to Landry and Bell, the Jets have also amassed some significant depth behind them in the form of veteran Eric Smith and rookies Josh Bush and hybrid-type Antonio Allen. The Patriots love to spread teams out and having a plethora of capable defensive backs is most definitely a plus in trying to stop Tom Brady and New England’s high-powered offensive attack. Couple that with the fact that the Pats love to run the hurry-up and are even expected to expedite their pace this Sunday, it is likely that many if not all of these guys will see some significant action, “next man up” so to speak.
Safety play will also be crucial for New England as they have a couple of inexperienced rookies roaming center field in Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner. I would expect the Jets to take full advantage of this, coming out in a lot of multiple Tight End sets, trying to work the ball to Dustin Keller who appears to be getting healthier, working his way back from a hamstring injury.
That said, the Pats secondary has been pretty suspect for the duration of Rex Ryan’s tenure as Jets head coach and there have been seldom times when the Jets have actually been able to take advantage of it. I would wager that Sparano has been scheming up a pretty creative game plan but whether or not the Jets have the talent to take advantage of the Pats weaknesses remains to be seen but with first place and the inside track on the division at stake, things should be interesting.