Schwartz: Ravens Vs. Jets Preview
By Peter Schwartz
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While last week’s loss to the Raiders was ugly and leaves the Jets with more questions than answers, we found out the following from Gang Green’s 34-24 loss in Oakland: It’s just one game.
The Jets quickly turned the page as they get set to face the Ravens Sunday night in Baltimore.
One week after a flat out disaster, the Jets have a chance to bounce back.
“The good news is we get to play Sunday,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “The bad news is that we have to play against a team that is rolling right now. You have Baltimore and then New England right after that, probably two of the toughest teams that you could face. So, we’re going to find out about ourselves big time these next couple weeks.”
Rex spent ten years in Baltimore as an assistant coach. He was the defensive line coach of the Super Bowl championship team in 2000. He was promoted from defensive line coach to defensive coordinator in 2005 and held that job through the 2008 season before leaving to take the head-coaching job with the Jets.
Great memories, but that was in the past.
“I love the people in Baltimore,” said Ryan. “They treated me great. They treated my family great, but quite honestly right now, I’m not concerned with them at all. I’m just worried about our football team.”
And this week, there is a lot to be worried about in Baltimore. The Ravens have always been a terrific defensive team, but now they have a pretty good offense to go along with it.
Let by quarterback Joe Flacco’s three touchdown passes, the Ravens set a franchise record with 553 total yards in their 37-7 win over the Rams last week.
Ryan was with the Ravens when Flacco was drafted in the first round out of Delaware in 2008. He recalls some internal discussions about the signal caller.
“I just remember (Director of Player Personnel) Eric DeCosta and Ozzie (Newsome) telling me about this quarterback, Joe Flacco,” said Ryan. “I’m like, ‘Joe Flacco? Let’s go with a defensive player’. I’m like, ‘Come on, let me see this guy. He’s not any good.’ Then, when he got here, it took about one day and then you saw him throw. It was like, ‘Whoa.’ He was so much better than anything we had that it was so obvious that when (Ravens Owner) Steve (Bisciotti) asked my opinion, it was like, ‘Oh, please. It’s not even close. It’s Joe Flacco.’”
And the rest is history.
The Ravens offense can score but they can also push people around. That sounds like a good challenge for the Jets defense.
“We are a physical team,” said cornerback Darrelle Revis. “That’s what we go by. That’s our identity. We know this upcoming game is going to be very physical and tough. We know the Ravens are going to bring it.”
Revis will need plenty of help in shutting down Anquan Boldin and company. That help will come from some of his friends including former Ravens safety Jim Leonhard who will be back at his old stomping grounds in Baltimore.
“It’s an emotional game,” admitted Leonhard. “Anytime you play them, they bring a lot of emotion. You have to match that, especially at their place, it’s a great crowd. They’ll be ready to go, so there’s no doubt about it, we have to go in there with the right attitude. We need a win.”
From the Ravens perspective, it’s a special week as well. There are so many connections between the two clubs that it makes for an exciting match-up come Sunday.
Are the Ravens pumped up?
“I think you kind of have to be,” said linebacker Ray Lewis. “It’s going to end up being the same thing, a lot of familiar faces on both sides. We know each other very well. Who was over here is over there now. It has natural fire by itself.”
Under fire is the Jets offensive line for what has been a rough first three weeks. Quarterback Mark Sanchez has taken a beating getting banged up in all three contests. He has been checked for a concussion, suffered an arm injury, and this past Sunday he sustained a minor break to his nose.
Keeping Sanchez upright this week will be paramount.
“Nothing’s changed,” said Sanchez. “We pride ourselves in protecting the quarterback. That’s a part of me making sure I understand the protections, making sure I get the ball out on time. And when I do stretch a play out to the sidelines, to get rid of it in time or complete the ball early enough to where I’m not putting myself in harm’s way. The onus is on me, just as much as anybody else.”
This will tough sledding for the Jets offense. The Ravens have the best scoring defense in the league at 13.3 points per game.
“This is one of the best groups we’ll face all year, a physical group,” said Sanchez. “They know their schemes really well. They’ve played together for a long time, so this is probably one of the best teams we’ll play, and we need to play well on the road, answer the call, and play well against this really good team.”
This certainly has the makings of a black and blue affair. The game features two physical teams, a hostile environment for visitors, and emotional homecomings for the likes of Rex Ryan, Jim Leonhard, Derrick Mason, and Bart Scott.
Faith Hill will say it best at around 8:15pm Sunday.
“I’ve been waiting all day for Sunday night!”
This is a bad match-up at the wrong time for the Jets. They have a suspect line that may or may not have Nick Mangold and a running game that has been far from stellar. Going up against the Ravens defense, that’s a recipe for failure.
From a defensive standpoint, can they stop Ray Rice? The odds are no either on the ground or receiving out of the backfield. The Jets just won’t have any answers for him.
By the way, the Ravens are 20-5 under head coach John Harbaugh at M&T Bank Stadium in three plus seasons.
Ravens 27 Jets 10
BROADWAY JOE NEEDS A MUZZLE
The last time I checked, Joe Namath is not on the Jets coaching staff. And, after checking the media guide, I noticed that he’s not even part of football operations. So it a bit puzzling to me why so many people are interested in hearing his thoughts about how the Jets prepare for games and how he thinks that Rex Ryan has the players believing that they are better than they actually are.
One thing is for certain. Ryan has enough to worry about without the media telling him about Broadway Joe’s big mouth.
“I welcome him to come out here and watch our guys prepare,” said Ryan this week. “He’d see a team that, in my opinion, prepares as well as any team I’ve been around. I disagree with him (about the preparation).
This might sound a bit unprofessional, but most of you know that I grew up a Jets fan and I appreciate what Namath means to this franchise. Just the mere mention of his name either brings back fond memories of Super Bowl III or, for those of us who are too young to remember it (I was one), it’s a reminder of the one glorious day in franchise history that Ryan and company hope to replicate someday.
In fact, conjuring up the memory of Super Bowl III actually paints Namath as somewhat of a hypocrite.
Why was it okay for Namath to guarantee a win over the Colts in 1969, but it’s wrong for Ryan to pump up his players?
Isn’t that the job of a coach?
“The great thing is I’m confident with our football team. There’s no question about it. I’ve told you this many times, I’ve never gone into a game I didn’t think I’d win. I haven’t won them all, but I certainly think we can and will. I’m not going to change who I am because Joe Namath said something. Namath can come in here, and if he can still throw, we’ll have him as a backup quarterback, but you know what?
He doesn’t know our team. He’s on the outside. Even though he’s a Jet, and once you’re a Jet, you’re always a Jet, but he’s on the outside. He’s not in these meetings. I think if he was, he’d be shocked with the preparation.”
Again, Namath is royalty when it comes to the Jets and the team’s history. But he is not a high-ranking football official and he is not doing Ryan, GM Mike Tannenbaum, or any other hard-working member of the front office any favors by questioning how the team goes about its business.
I hope that Namath takes up Ryan on his offer to come spend a day with the Jets. Maybe Namath will realize that ripping the team during a paid interview is not in the Jets’ best interests.
He will always be Broadway Joe, but for now, he’s persona non grata.
The Ravens lead the all-time series 6-1 and have won six straight including last year’s 10-9 victory in the Jets’ first regular season game at what is now called MetLife Stadium. The Jets actually won the first meeting between the two teams. That was back on November 2nd, 1997 when John Hall kicked the game winning field goal in overtime as the Jets prevailed 19-16.
Hall had missed five of his last six field goal attempts heading into that game. But on that day he booted four including the 37-yard game winner prompting this classic quote from head coach Bill Parcells after the game.
”We’re trying to get this kid out of his diapers and into his street clothes,” said Parcells. “Today, he took his Huggies off.”
Now if the Jets could only get off the schneid against the Ravens.
It’s not the official Super Bowl XLVIII game logo, but the NY/NJ Host Committee unveiled its logo this week while also adding new members to the organization. The game is not until 2014, but preparation begins years in advance for the biggest sporting event in the world.
The logo features the George Washington Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey. Also, in the spirit of the NFL’s first cold-weather Super Bowl, there is a snowflake.
The committee is co-chaired by Jets owner Woody Johnson and Giants executive Jonathan Tisch.
JETS RANK IN SI KIDS BOOK
Sports Illustrated KIDS has a new book out called “1st And 10”, a collection of ten lists for various football categories. The book is for kids and my five-year old son Bradley loves it, but I have to tell you that an adult football fan is going to have a hard time putting it down.
Some of the categories in the book include top ten quarterbacks, top ten play innovations, top ten nicknames, top ten coaches, and top ten helmets.
Another subject is top ten rivalries and the Jets are on that list. The Jets/Dolphins rivalry is listed as #8 on the list. The picture below was a rather interesting choice by Sports Illustrated. It’s from the 1993 season when the Jets wore throwback jerseys and helmets.
The only issue is that the helmets they wore were green instead of white. I guess that’s because the Jets were wearing green helmets at the time and they didn’t want Boomer Esiason to get confused.
In any event, the book is terrific and it makes for some great debates when you see how some of the lists turned out.
I don’t want to give too much of the book away, but the Jets are in there a few times.
That’s all for now! Check back after the game for more. Enjoy the game on Sunday night.
Prediction time! How will the Jets fare against Baltimore? Sound off below…