Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com
The Jets square off today at 4:25PM against one of the league’s best teams, led by Aaron Rodgers. While the Jets might have a tough game against one of the league’s best offenses, here’s some predictions as I look at today’s matchup with the Packers.
Jace Amaro will give the Jets a boost — A lot has been made about how the Jets rookie tight end has come along quickly in recent weeks and how the team expects his role and importance to increase quickly. According to Amaro’s coaches, he is grading out well and doing what is needed. It’s not really a surprise to us as the Jets want Amaro to play one of the newer and more complex positions in football, the “F” receiver spot. The role is dictated in part by the defensive alignments and his route/role then pivot based on the situation .. figuring that out is no small feat for a rookie. With a number of teams on the schedule with weak pass defenses, now is the time for Amaro to start stepping up and the Green Bay defense represents a good opportunity. In addition, look for Eric Decker to feast on this Packers secondary.
Dee Milliner will prove how much his presence helps the secondary — Milliner will most assuredly be limited this week and the Jets might choose to play him against situations/receivers that best suit him or against some of the lesser receivers for Green Bay … but that doesn’t mean that his presence won’t help to stabilize the secondary all the same. Watching the James Jones touchdown a few more times made me realize that while Walls can do some things well and that Jones made a great catch, but Walls has to be better positioned. Walls was over the outside shoulder of the receiver (on a boundary throw) instead of between the receiver and the ball, boxing out the receiver. So, while Walls and Allen did enough to keep the Jets in a game against a shaky rookie quarterback, the margin for error is going to be so much smaller against the likes of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Wherever and whenever the Jets do deploy Milliner, his presence will assuredly help the overall group.
If Bulaga isn’t there, the Jets will be — Once RT Bryan Bulaga left the game with an injury last week, Derek Sherrod got punished by Seahawks defensive line. Against a lesser Raiders team, the Jets might have “hid” Coples on tape last week by using him against the run and in more “linebackery” ways? Babin played his role perfectly, so between him, Coples and Pace look for the Jets to change this week against one of the best pocket passers in the NFL if Sherrod gets the start … or even if Bulaga plays but seems limited.
During the season, Bent’s Game Analysis charts games for some of the Jets’ upcoming opponents, enabling a break down of what to watch out for on gameday…
The Jets last played the Green Bay Packers in 2010, losing 9-0 at home in a game that featured two controversial interceptions, a couple of special teams blunders and disappointing offensive execution throughout from the Jets. With a chance to go 2-0, the Jets are underdogs, but will be hoping to exploit a couple of key injuries to give themselves a chance at Lambeau.
After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) to try and highlight what the Jets need to look out for. To read more of this story, click here
The Jets added defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson to the injury report Saturday. He’s listed as probable with a back injury for Sunday’s game at Green Bay.
Wilkerson had one tackle, assisted two others and knocked down two passes in last Sunday’s win over Oakland.
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com
For a week in the NFL fraught with bad news, the Jets got some of the good variety when it was learned that Dee Milliner will be playing for the Jets this weekend.
Is Dee Mililner, all the way back? It’s hard to say but one would imagine it’ll be a few more weeks before he’s fully in form, so how will the Jets use Their best cornerback in his first game against one of the best passing defenses? Aside from just lining him up on one side of the field all day, here’s some creative ways the Jets could use him.
Mix and Match — The Green Bay Packers of two of the best receivers in football in Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. Cobb and Nelsons games are about as complementary as can be; Cobb is a dynamic playmaker who racks up yards after the catch, while Nelson is one of the league’s supreme possession and red zone targets. If Rex Ryan wants to go into the lion’s mouth, he might use Milliner in coverage on Cobb between the twenty yard-lines and then switch him up to Jordy Nelson on third downs and/or in the red zone. That would be the toughest assignment the Jets might give Milliner and it seems unlikely for a player who just returned to the practice field after a month away with an injury which might still take more time from which to recover.
Upside Down — There’s a notion that because Milliner plays he must go up against the team’s best opposing player, but that might make for a long day for the Jets at every single corner spot. College and high school teams that play seeded matches (golf, tennis, etc) sometimes use a strategy where if they believe their talent is not on par with their opponents, they move their top player down a rung and cycle the low man up against the opposing team’s top player. The Jets might do just such a thing by letting a player like Darrin Walls match up against Jordy Nelson and then move Milliner against Cobb or Boykin. In such a scenario the Jets would employ back-end safety help on almost every play to the Nelson matchup while trusting Milliner with Boykin/Cobb. One of Milliner’s best strengths is his ability to stop the ball at the catch point and if that fails then to tackle the ball carrier quickly. The Packers like to use Boykin and Cobb in a way where they can get those two players the ball on high percentage throws and then let their vision and legs do the rest. If the Jets can double team Nelson and try to make Nelson catch window any smaller with safety help while stopping Boykin or Cobb at or near where they catche the ball, it might be the best the Jets can ask for in slowing down one of the league’s best passing attacks.
Turn on a Big Dime – This week the Jets re-signed Ellis Lankster to the team. It is unclear what his role will be for the Jets this weekend, but the team’s removal of Leon McFadden from the active roster and signing of Lankster should indicate that at a minimum they like his special teams work and that they might value his work on the boundary more than previously thought. While the Packers might have Eddie Lacy, Green Bay will win this game in the air. If the Jets can employ their base linemen against the Packers, they might also use an “all hands on deck situation” against the Packers and activate as many secondary players as possible as Ryan has done in the past against the Patriots. One package that might be particularly interesting is using their top three safeties (Pryor, Allen, Landry) alongside three corners (Milliner, Walls/Lankster, Wilson) to flood the secondary with versatile players who can defend the pass or run.
Let us know in the comments how you think the Jets will try to match up against the Packers!
Rex Ryan, Calvin Pryor and Antonio Allen discuss the Jets’ tough upcoming matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Week 2.