By: Steve Balestrieri
The Patriots game for the Bills is now in the books and like Bill Belichick likes to say, we’re moving on the Jets. Here at PatFans.com we’ll break down the game later in the week and give a closer look at the matchups.
So the Jets come into New England on a short week for both teams, Gang Green is 1-0 with a hard fought if improbable 18-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There is never a shortage of story lines around the team and this off-season was no exception.
Demario Davis is part of faster, more athletic Jets defense.
Here are five first impressions on the Jets:
Geno Smith Era Begins- The rookie QB made his first start and came away with the win and more importantly with a confidence building game-winning drive at the end of the game. Like all rookie signal callers, he had his good and bad moments but overall the Jets have to be pleased.
He passed for over 250 yards and added another 47 more with his feet. At times he held onto the ball too long and did have two turnovers, but he kept his poise and rallied his team to a victory.
Smith asked about facing a Bill Belichick defense on Monday said, “Yes, I embrace the challenge. I know Coach Belichick is one of the masterminds in this league. (I have) a ton of respect for him and his team. I expect everything, every single look. I will appreciate it because it’ll help me out in the future.”
Jets’ Defense Has Lots of Speed/Athleticism- With many of their additions, the Jets defense is a much faster and athletic bunch than the Patriots faced last season. With Rex Ryan going back to a more blitz heavy look in his overloaded packages this season it plays right into his hands.
The front four of the defensive line Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Kenrick Ellis, and Damon Harrison is both disruptive and explosive and will be a tough matchup for the Patriots OL that had its issues in Buffalo last week.
They shut down the Bucs Doug Martin in the running game (65 yards on 24 carries) although the corners, (Antonio Cromartie, Dee Milliner) struggled against Tampa especially in applying press coverage.
Kellen Winslow Shines in Debut- A rookie quarterback’s best friend is his safety valve and Winslow did that and more on Sunday. Winslow finished the day with 7 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
Given the Patriots struggles in the middle of the field, and Jerod Mayo struggled against the Bills in the passing game, look for Winslow to be a frequent target of Smith on Thursday evening. Given the fact that Jeremy Kerley suffered a concussion against the Bucs and may not be available and Santonio Holmes is still not 100 percent physically, Winslow will probably be a big part of the offense.
Running Game Struggled- Surprisingly the Jets running game ground to a halt against the Bucs front seven gaining only 90 yards in the opener, 47 of which came with Smith scrambling. The Jets OL usually is very solid in run blocking but had their hands full on Sunday.
Running backs Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell know that this isn’t going to cut it and should be ready to put on a better effort on Thursday night.
Player NE Fans May Not Know But Will- Jets linebacker Demario Davis, Davis is an athletic 3rd round draft pick from the 2012 NFL Draft who started three games last season.
He’s part of the more athletic and speedier unit that Ryan is fielding this season and his athleticism was on display Sunday when he chased down and made a game saving tackle of Vincent Jackson.
Davis is known as an excellent linebacker in coverage and is an upgrade over Bart Scott and can fly around the field…just ask Vincent Jackson. Keep your eyes on # 56 this week.
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