David Aron: Do the Jets have the pieces to repeat Rex's blueprint to a win over the Colts? Also, in your opinion, would the jets have resigned Jason Babin if he hadn't already signed with the Ravens?
I'm not sure what Rex's blueprint to beat the Colts actually is. He went 3-1 against them, but the only one during the Andrew Luck era was the 35-9 blowout in 2012, aspects of which included a complete shutting down of the run, some good pressure numbers led by Coples and Wilkerson, an excellent running game so they didn't have to pass very often and Cromartie shutting down the number one receiver.
They still have Coples, Wilkerson, a good run defense, a decent running game and a shutdown corner on the roster, so maybe they will match up well.
As for Babin, he would have made sense as a temporary back-up for Mauldin who was only being used as a situational rusher, but I'm not sure Babin himself would have accepted such a role with a built-in expiry date, especially from the team that just snubbed him.
NYPCE in Germany: Can you elaborate on why you thought the Marshall catch would have been upheld by the replay booth? The announcers said that he didn't have full control and that also appeared to be the case to me, that the ball was moving in his hands after his feel were out of bounds. Is he allowed to shift it before establishing full control? Also, five turnovers feels like more than we had all of last year under Rex. Is that scheme-related or simply regressing to the mean?
Having re-watched it closely, my view was that while the ball appeared to be moving, Marshall had it in his hand the whole time, so they would hopefully have viewed that as demonstrating control or at least not indisputably failing to demonstrate control. Your understanding is correct though, if the ball was judged to have been moving or switched from one hand to another after the point at which both feet contacted inside the field of play then that would lead to it being overturned.
The team that recovers a fumble is viewed by the statistical community as completely down to chance, so regression to the mean is perhaps an explanation there. However, I'd attribute it mostly to the fact that the Jets were playing against an inexperienced quarterback and with the lead. They didn't do enough of either last year (remember that murderer's row of quarterbacks after Carr in the first half of last year?)
williamg1: Do you think Fitzpatrick has enough arm strength to use D Smith effectively to stretch the defense?
The thing about arm strength is that even the weak-armed quarterbacks in this league can loft the ball 50-60 yards down the field for a receiver to run under. While a post-shoulder injury Chad Pennington was unable to make use of Santana Moss, he was able to have some success getting it down the field to him earlier on in his career, not to mention the fact that this might just have been something the coaching staff simply chose not to do because they were so risk-averse. While Fitzpatrick - whose arm strength is closer to average than poor - might not have the zip to make some long outs or tight window throws, he can complete passes over the top if he has a receiver that can get a step deep. He just needs to learn how fast Smith is so that he doesn't underthrow him.
lcg12: Does Revis Island still exist? It seemed like there were 5 or 6 balls caught on Revis, including that spectacular one handed grab from Hartline.
For me, "Revis Island" represents those games where Revis gets an assignment that he sticks to and (ideally) shuts down a number one receiver. As the Browns don't really have a number one, Revis wasn't used in that way, which will be useful in future because when they face a team with a number one and use Revis in that way, the offense won't be able to anticipate any traps the Jets haven't used yet. So, I wouldn't worry too much about a game where he gave up a few catches here and there.
In terms of the catches he gave up during the game one came as the Jets had a big blitz that got picked up perfectly leaving him totally isolated for longer than would have been the intention. As for the Hartline catch, that was a complete fluke. The pass wasn't even intended for Hartline - Manziel overthrew his tight end and it was just fortunate to land right in Hartline's lap. Prior to that both Hartline and Revis had slipped on the turf so it's not like he got beaten.
With that said, I did say during preseason that I'm not convinced Revis is the same player so I am eager to see him match up with a number one receiver. With TJ Hilton's status uncertain for Monday, I'm not sure when that will be. I guess the Odell Beckham match-up in preseason was somewhat informative - they each had wins and losses - but it was just preseason at the end of the day.
carlhungus: Do you see a reason to carry Bohanon on roster? Fullback doesn't seem to be a priority for Chan Gailey, and I think his roster spot could be better used for a TE (Saxton) or LB.
It's all about flexibility. While the Jets motion other players into the backfield to do the same sorts of things Bohanon can do, those plays are designed to get a match-up advantage. So, maybe you put an Enunwa back there and if they match him up with a defensive back, he can motion to fullback and muscle that player out of the play, but if they put a linebacker on him, you can split him out and use his speed edge. Bohanon should still be superior to Enunwa at doing these fullback plays against a conventional defense and that could be somewhere that the Jets will have an advantage against certain opponents.
idothis2: Is it me or does Revis have more of a Safety frame than a Cornerback frame now? does he look a lot thicker up top to you?
BDarc23: In your opinion, would the Jets defense be better off against the Colts with Cromartie on the bench or starting with a possible injured knee? Also, I was surprised that Decker only got 3 targets to Marshall's 9. Did you see Decker open but passed over to force it into Marshall who out muscles guys? Finally, it felt like the Jets were terrible on 3rd down defense and that the Browns were constantly picking up the 1st down. Could you see where they went wrong and did they improve later in the game?
They will certainly be better off starting someone else if Cromartie is less than 100% and he even admitted that himself yesterday. Over the past few seasons the difference in his performance level when playing hurt and when apparently completely healthy has been significant. I have confidence in the likes of Marcus Williams to step up. After all, his performance at the NFL level has been consistently better than Cromartie was in 2013 and the second half of last year while nursing injuries. Skrine should also see an increased role but he did well for most of last year as a full-time starter.
For Decker, he had three targets in the first half, but Fitzpatrick only threw seven times in the second half, so I wouldn't worry too much about him not being targeted. Had the game remained close, he probably would have had six or seven targets at the rate they were going. I didn't catch any obvious plays where Decker was open but not targeted.
The Browns were pretty good in the scripted portion of the game, converting their first four third downs, but only went 4-for-12 thereafter. Also, three of those first four were 3rd-and-2 or less. So, it wasn't that bad and, yes, the Jets did improve, although that could be attributed to Manziel being inferior to McCown.
r_in_ct: Why do you think the Jets were so susceptible to so many long QB runs? I know Luck likes to run, is this going to be a problem this week?
Bowles told the media that the Jets hadn't prepared for Manziel, although maybe that was gamesmanship on his part. You'd like to think that they could have spied him and contained him in the open field a little better.
As bad as it seemed, Manziel had five scrambles for 35 yards. His two longest gains were both negated by holding penalties. Had those been missed by the officials, Manziel would have had seven carries and 77 yards.
Yes, Luck is dangerous in those situations too, but I doubt the Colts will be hoping that's a major feature of their offense on Monday.
benjam: OT but I need to know if Matthew Dellavedova and Stan Wawrinka are different people?
C'mon man, I don't see Stan Wawrinka locking down Steph Curry in the postseason. Ok, so I didn't see Dellavedova doing that either...
This comparison would only be legitimate if the semi-final at the US Open was conducted with Wawrinka just lobbing point after point into an empty court while LeBron James randomly vacillated between barging Roger Federer off the court, crying to the umpire and checking his lip for blood...and Federer still won.
Rocky Mountain Jet: How often did Fitz try a hard count to see if the defense would flinch and make adjustments at the line, and how successful were those plays? Also, were you surprised that Willie Colon and Breno had no penalties?
The play I highlighted in the BGA was actually the only one where they killed a play. If you can believe it, they did more of that in preseason! There was just one other series where they had some hard counts and it didn't work too well. Initially, it did, as they drew the Browns offside on 3rd-and-7. Then, on 3rd-and-2, after a hard count, Fitzpatrick was able to identify the MIKE but the run was still stuffed. Finally, on fourth-and-1, they did a hard count and Bohanon motioned over to the left side, then another and he came back to the right, after which they snapped it and handed it off to him but he was stopped short.
Most of the cadences were the same, but they did mix in some different calls at the line which may have indicated a run-pass option or a check-with-me. I spotted some interesting patterns actually, but I'm going to do a bit more research into how that corresponds to what Fitzpatrick did last year, with Gailey in Buffalo and what he does in the next few games before I cover that in any detail.
It was good that neither Colon or Giacomini were penalized but that did happen five times last year. Hopefully pre-snap penalties will happen less by virtue of the offense being more organized with the veteran Fitzpartick in charge, holding calls will happen less because they won't have to cover for mistakes by or give extra attention to the left guard and unsportsmanlike penalties will be reduced because it will generally be a less frustrating season than last year was! We can but hope.
jetsjerk: Did you happen to see the Browns gunners running right past our guys to our returner? I noticed it more than once and, I'm sure, so did Bowles and Westhoff.
The Browns only actually punted twice and the Jets did quite well in terms of slowing down the gunners on the first one (albeit by double-teaming both sides). On the other, they again doubled and Walls got burned. Ironically, Kerley got a longer return on the second one because the first man missed.
Wilkershakes: Can we get side by side GIFs of a typical Todd Bowles reaction on the sidelines alongside a Rex Ryan one?
That is actually an animated GIF, he's just not moving.
Sackdance99: No BGA on Fireman Ed leading the cheers? He was limited and rusty; but what's your professional take?
Apparently this is just a one-shot deal, although Marshall was campaigning for him to return full-time. To me, it sounded like it was pretty effective on TV. I still think they should put a cartoon or puppet version of him up on the Jumbotron to lead the chants. Pay him (or, better still, his choice of charity) royalties if you have to.
Guy incognito: I remember reading somewhere that a QB coach criticized Brady because he only really has one throw. He went on to say that he's never seen someone be so successful with just having one throw in their toolbox. I admittedly don't know much about the technical specifics of being a QB, so I'll pose this question: any accuracy to the above statement?
I agree with the sentiment, although I don't know that I'd characterize this as a criticism. Brady is good at what he does, but he's blessed with efficiency and decision making abilities rather than natural arm talent.
Have you ever watched a Tom Brady "highlight" reel? IT'S SO BORING. His style works, though, and - when coupled with certain other in-game approaches - wins* games. It's just doing easy stuff over and over again with ruthless efficiency, not ever doing anything extra-ordinary. Can he make all the throws a Favre, Vick or even Eli can make? No, but he never needs to, because he does the simple stuff so well, they rarely get into a desperate enough situation where he has to do that.
JZ (via e-mail): I saw a crazy thing on the play where Leonard Williams ran Manziel out of bounds and was wondering your thoughts on it. As the running back ran into the flat he was spied by Big Snacks who actually had him covered well (especially for a 350+ dude) until he turned up field. Do you think having Snacks or another lineman cover a RB in space is a scheme concept or was that Snacks reacting as others were closing in for the sack? While Snacks did a great job on that play he could easily be over matched in space, even though I think I remember him getting a pick in practice once or twice.
No, it would never be a core concept to have a defensive lineman covering a running back in space. It happens sometimes because someone blew their assignment, but if a team drops a defensive tackle off the line it's to get in the passing lane or to make an immediate tackle and the ultimate responsibility in behind them would be someone else's. It may happen if the tackle senses the screen is coming or if they start to rush and can see that they're not going to get home so they drop into a passing lane instead, perhaps creating more room for someone else to get there.
Harrison, Wilkerson, Richardson and even Douzable are outstanding at sniffing out screens and dropping off to get in on the tackle, although we're told there will be less read-and-react from the linemen this year. Whether Harrison's play was a wrinkle, him smartly reacting to the situation or just an example of someone going maverick is unclear, but he's athletic enough to disrupt a play by doing that sort of thing - just don't ask him to chase the back on a wheel route.
And finally: The GIF of the week featuring Muhammad Wilkerson and Alex Mack...
I'll be back on Monday with an Expendables update and a preview of the Colts game.