Schwartz On Sports: Jets/Dolphins Preview
By Peter Schwartz
“This game is huge. I’m not going to sit here and say that lie that’s it’s just another game. Yeah, it’s another game that if we win we’re half a game in front. If we lose it, we’re two and half behind them. This is a huge, huge game for us.”
Jets head coach Rex Ryan
I’m sorry. Did I miss something? Is there really a game this week?
Of course there is, but it’s certainly been another turbulent week for the Jets off the field. Sunday night’s AFC East showdown between Gang Green and the Dolphins in South Florida was certainly overshadowed by Braylon Edwards’ DWI arrest early Tuesday morning.
And the Jets decision to not start Edwards but play him has raised eyebrows all over the football world.
Head Coach Rex Ryan said he would decide sometime before the game just how much playing time that Edwards will see.
That uncertainly may cause offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to come up with some new wrinkles.
“Obviously, we always put our plans in place knowing that things can come up from different angles with injuries and things like that,” said Schottenheimer. We try not to over-think things. There might be some things we adjust and maybe hold off and look to run later, but for the most part, we’ll just go about our business. You get a chance to see a little more of Brad (Smith), (David) Clowney (and) guys like that getting an opportunity.”
Schotty said on Thursday that he does not know how much playing time Edwards will get but expects to know before the game.
So what do you say we use the remainder of this blog to actually talk about football?
I knew you would like that idea so let’s take a look at some of the storylines surrounding Sunday night’s battle for first place in the AFC East.
The Jets will be without cornerback Darrelle Revis because of a strained hamstring that he suffered last week against the Patriots. All he can do this week is be a cheerleader on his couch at home in New Jersey.
“I’m just supporting my teammates,” said Revis. “I want to be out there with them, but I can’t. I’m going to just take my time and get back to 100 percent and then I’ll be playing with them.”
In the second half against New England, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson held down the fort as the Jets pitched a second half shutout. So this week, Cromartie will get the start in Revis’ spot on the left side and will have the responsibility of covering Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
“You just have to get your hands on him,” said Cromartie. “It’s the same thing like with Randy Moss. Just play your game and go out and defend against (Marshall) the best way that you can.”
Cromartie knows Marshall very well from their days in the AFC West when Cro was with the Chargers and Marshall was a Bronco. In fact, Cromartie may still be having nightmares about that 2008 game when Marshall hauled in 18 catches for 166 yards.
WELCOME HOME JASON!
Jason Taylor spent 12 of his first 13 NFL seasons with the Dolphins and endeared himself to the Miami faithful by constantly having not so flattering things to say about the Jets and their fans.
My oh my have times changed!
Taylor is now a Jet and will be the enemy on Sunday night.
“It will be very different,” said Taylor. “I’ve never had to do this before. You play in one place for so long and have so much history there and you kind of become one of theirs and then you have to go somewhere else and play and come back. I don’t know what to expect. I will approach like every other game and try to play it like every other game and win.”
Just what kind of reception Taylor receives from the Dolphins fans will be interesting to see.
CLOSING IN ON A MILESTONE
Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson needs just 3 receiving yards on Sunday night to become the 5th player in NFL history to record 12,000 rushing yards and 4,000 receiving yards in a career.
So far this season, Tomlinson has shown that he can still play and admits he may have found the fountain of youth.
“That’s pretty much the way I play the game,” said Tomlinson. “I feel like I’m back to my old self again. I’m happy and enjoy playing with these guys. We have a great group of guys (and) a great coaching staff that really knows how to use the (players) well. It’s fun to play football.
It sure has for Tomlinson who has 180 scrimmage yards (138 rushing, 42 receiving) over the first two games of the season.
SHUTTING DOWN THE WILDCAT
The Jets defense had their troubles shutting down the Dolphins’ wildcat offense last year so how do they correct their mistakes?
“The key is having good eyes because it involves a lot of misdirection, said defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. “You have the motion coming across in most of the plays and there’s usually some sort of fake involved in it. A big part of it is making sure you’re in a fundamentally sound defense where all of your gaps are covered. “
The Jets will certainly have their hands full trying to defend the Dolphins’ two-headed monster of Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown.
The Jets lead the all-time series against the Dolphins 46-41-1. Miami has won three in a row including both meetings last year. The Jets have beaten the Dolphins 6 of the last 10 times that they have played. On Sunday nights, the Jets are 2-1 against Miami and 9-8 overall under the lights on Sundays.
THE STARS WILL BE OUT IN SOUTH FLORIDA
As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Dolphins have line up some big names to be a part of festivities for Sunday night.
Five-time Grammy award-winning singer Marc Anthony and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, both limited partners of the Dolphins, will sing the national anthem. At halftime, Enrique Iglesias will perform and will be introduced by seven-time Grammy-award winner and Dolphins limited partner Gloria Estefan.
Speaking of Estefan, here is my prediction. The rhythm is going to be with the Jets on Sunday night.
Jets 23 Dolphins 20.
Enjoy the game!