Good Morning
Good Morning

Jets aim to match Eagles' speed snap for snap

New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) celebrates

New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) celebrates an interception with defensive back Buster Skrine (41) and free safety Calvin Pryor (25) in the second half of an NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. Credit: AP / Darron Cummings

So how exactly do you simulate the Eagles' up-tempo offense?

You can't.

The Jets spent the past week trying to replicate Philadelphia's quick pace in practice, but they admitted there's little they can do to match it.

"You've got to practice running back to the huddle, practice giving out the calls as fast as possible," linebacker David Harris said in advance of Sunday's Week 3 home game against Chip Kelly's Eagles (0-2). "They do a good job of keeping guys off balance because they snap the ball so quick.

"This week, the communication on defense is very key because you've got to get 11 guys lined up and knowing what we're playing as an entire D. So it's a big challenge for us."

The Eagles, though, are hoping to notch their first victory of the season but they're struggling on offense -- particularly in the running game. Their high-priced feature back, DeMarco Murray, has rushed for 11 total yards on 21 carries, an eye-popping stat considering he won the NFL rushing title with the Cowboys last year, amassing 1,845 yards.

Complicating matters for Philly is that Murray has a hamstring injury that threatens to keep him out of the game.

In losses to the Falcons and Cowboys, the Eagles totaled 70 rushing yards -- 63 yards on 16 carries against Atlanta and seven on 17 carries against Dallas. But even with all that, the Jets (2-0) aren't taking them lightly.

According to Jets coach Todd Bowles, Kelly is "probably one of the brightest minds in the game, if not the brightest." And that means the Eagles will have some wrinkles for the Jets.

But even if Murray is slowed by his hamstring, Harris said that won't guarantee a win for the Jets.

"It doesn't mean it gets easier for us at all," Harris said with a smile. "Because they can still run their offense with other guys.''

At the top of that list is Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews, two running backs who could give the Jets' defense fits.

"We definitely have to know where Darren is at all times," said cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is nursing a groin injury. "He's a big part of their passing game, as well, so we definitely have got to identify him on every play."

According to Bowles, Mathews' style isn't much different from Murray's. "He's a one-cut, downhill runner. He's very quick, very fast. He's strong and he totes it just as well," he said of Mathews, the 12th overall pick in 2010. "I mean, they have three All-Pro running backs."

Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said facing the shifty 5-6 Sproles is "a matchup nightmare.''

"When you mix Sproles in, that's a whole different set of problems," Rodgers added. "This is a guy that can run, he can catch it, he can block, he lines up outside, he catches the ball out of the backfield."

Said Jets outside linebacker Calvin Pace: "He's been a problem since he was in San Diego. He's a guy that you have to be aware of."

Covering Sproles while adjusting to the Eagles' up-tempo offense could have the Jets gassed all afternoon.

"Hopefully, we can start off fast, make them slow down a little bit," Pace said. "It's more about us getting the call in, having the right personnel in, getting lined up. You don't want it to just be a fire drill out there, guys just all over the place."

Harris said the Jets' practice- squad players did "a great job" of trying to simulate the Eagles' offense in practice. But it was nothing like the real thing.

"Nobody can do it better than they can," Harris said. "Once the game starts, it's going to be a little quicker. But that's the challenge we face."

New York Sports