While the 0-4 Jets are struggling mightily to get things going on offense, their defense faces a very tough challenge in the Cowboys on Sunday.
Dallas is the NFL's leader in total offense, averaging a whopping 452.8 yards per game with the ability to run and throw the ball at whim. Jets head coach Adam Gase fully realizes what the Cowboys brings to the table, and when asked about it, he couldn't help but to smile while describing the weapons they have to work with.
"Probably their Pro Bowl offensive line," Gase said on Thursday. "Probably one of the best running backs in football. Explosive wide receiver. Good slot wide receiver. Hall of Fame tight end. Quarterback's pretty good. Outside of that, I mean..."
And on the other side of the ball, the Cowboys' defense isn't too shabby either with their sixth-best defense in the league. They've allowed 18 points per game, but allowed their largest point total of the season thus far last week -- 34 points to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Their defensive coordinator in Rod Marinelli is someone Gase has been around in the past, so he knows his schemes have evolved to fit today's NFL game. And Gase believes the Cowboys have finally put together the right personnel to execute Marinelli's schemes perfectly, especially at the linebacker position.
"That linebacking corps is legit man," Gase said.
Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander-Esch man the middle with veteran Sean Lee also providing quality snaps. But with edge rushers like Robert Quinn and Demarcus Lawrence to go along with a stout secondary led by Chidobe Awuzie, the Cowboys are an extremely well-rounded group that will make it hard for Gase to dissect.
With Sam Darnold back, though, Gase noted he has "no restrictions" as to what he can call. He'll certainly need all his bells and whistles if he wishes to defeat this Dallas defense as well as keep the high-powered offense on the sideline.
Here's what else Gase revealed during his Thursday presser...
On protecting Darnold after coming back from mono
The main reason Darnold had to miss another week was due to his enlarged spleen, but he has finally been cleared for contact. Still, that first hit Darnold may take on Sunday will have Jets fans holding their breath.
After seeing Luke Falk getting sacked 10 times last week, Gase definitely needs the O-line to be better so Darnold doesn't suffer the same fate.
"He should be good," Gase said of Darnold. "We should not have him dying on the field, so we need to do a better job protecting the quarterback. ...We have to do a better job as a unit and that will help the quarterback."
On Kelechi Osemele injuries
Osemele has not had the best week, as Gase said he'll be out of practice again on Thursday with shoulder and knee injuries. He was also sick earlier this week.
With the O-line already struggling, losing their veteran left guard is less than ideal heading into this matchup. But Gase said with a player like Osemele, who has played many NFL snaps over his career, getting banged up is something the team anticipates.
"When you get veteran O-linemen, you get banged up a little bit," Gase said. "It's not as easy to come back and stay on the field. So we're just trying to get him as healthy as can and get him back on the field."
On what he likes from defense thus far
The Jets' defense has had a tough time getting breathers on the sideline, but Gase has loved what he's seen from that group through four games.
What they bring to each game -- playing it through from the first snap to the last -- is what Gase hopes his offense can do this week.
"I like that they play four quarters," Gase explained. "I like that they come out there with the right energy, right attitude, preparation and if things aren't going exactly the way they should be going, they don't change. They've done a really good job, especially since that first game, we talked about playing the first quarter and the fourth quarter exactly the same. And I feel like those guys have done that. I feel like special teams has done that. That's what we're trying to get on offense."