Jets vs. Broncos: Players Who Need to Bounce Back Strong for New York
After flying high on a three-game winning streak, where the Jets were able to get back to their successful ground-and-pound game, where they found a role for Plaxico Burress and with their defense flourishing, New York was all set to take over the lead in the AFC East.
Then that debacle happened on Sunday night with a little over 20 million people watching.
Gone was the strong running game. Gone was the defense. Gone was Mark Sanchez's turnover-free play. Gone was the usual strong special teams play. And gone was any real chance at capturing the division crown.
The Jets should be grateful for a quick turnaround game against the Denver Broncos on a very short week.
New York needs to use the Broncos like they used the Miami Dolphins earlier in the season. They need to exorcise their demons on the—what should be inferior team—in order to get back on track.
These five players need to bounce back strong against the Broncos for the Jets to win the game and to start their battle for the wild-card spot.
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Shonn Greene, where did you go?
Greene might not deserve all of the blame here, but he definitely deserves some. He was only given the ball 13 times, which really did not give him that much of a chance to start going.
But with those 13 carries, his longest run was for eight yards. Greene simply needs to produce more. He is too inconsistent.
The Broncos run defense ranks 16th overall in the league. Greene should be given the ball early and often.
It's Greene's job to give the coaching staff a reason to keep giving him the ball. He needs to break off runs that are more than just five yards.
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Mark Sanchez hardly looked like a franchise QB against the Patriots. His flaws were magnified with him facing Tom Brady.
It should have been a breakout game for Sanchez. He was up against the league's worst pass defense.
By the end of the game, Sanchez was sacked five times and intercepted twice, one on an awful read that was returned for a TD.
He held on to the ball too long at times and made some head-scratching throws.
Against Denver, Sanchez has to be conservative, make quicker decisions, and take what the defense gives him.
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Joe McKnight has been special this season on kickoff returns. He's fifth in the league, averaging 36 yards per return; he even returned one for a 107 yards.
All of this was forgotten after McKnight fumbled a kickoff on the Jets' 13-yard line against the Patriots, which they recovered, leading to a field goal.
McKnight must make up for his costly mistake. He has to get back to what he's been doing all season, returning kickoffs and giving the offense good field position.
And for God's sake, no more fumbles.
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The defensive secondary was torched by Brady for 329 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. They need to perform better.
The thing is, I don't know if they are really going to have to against the run-first Broncos.
The suspect pass-rush will have to though.
Aaron Maybin had a clean sack on Brady but let him out of his grasp. Other defenders also had chances to get Brady but failed.
This can't happen against Tim Tebow. If they get to him, they must wrap him up. I'm talking to you, Calvin Pace and Muhammad Wikerson.
The Jets' run defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 5. They must continue this streak against Denver.
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It looked like New York was back to the ground-and-pound game, but apparently they're not.
In the victory over the Buffalo Bills, the Jets ran the ball 39 times and passed the ball 28 times.
In the loss against the Patriots, the Jets ran the ball 25 times and passed the ball 39 times.
Now, although the run/pass disparity was somewhat due to the fact that the Jets were behind, it was more than that.
There was a lack of commitment to the run game.
Schottenheimer must find the right balance again and call a game similar to the one he did against the Bills or the Chargers, where the Jets ran 31 times and passed for 33 times.