For the inconsistency of the Jets the last few seasons, starting 0-2 is something they haven’t done in a while. Well, the Jets are underdogs for Sunday’s game at Oakland and could fall to 0-2 with a loss. The last time the Jets started 0-2 was 2007. That season, the Jets lost to the Patriots and the Ravens before finishing 4-12. It was also the second season for coach Eric Mangini, who ended his three seasons with the Jets at 23-25. Incidentally, since 2006, only 10 NFL teams have reached the postseason after a 0-2 start.
Del RIo: Some Jets impress
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said he’s impressed with some of the Jets wide receivers. While the Jets have a young core at the position, the late additions of veterans Jermaine Kearse and Jeremy Kerley bring experience.
“They have a couple of receivers I really like. Kearse obviously came over from Seattle, we’re familiar with him a little bit,” Del Rio said in a conference call. “He’s a good player, top target last week. They have two very capable backs that we think are good runners and good screen runners and they use them in the pass game that way. We’re getting ourselves prepared to have a team that is coming here that obviously didn’t start last week the way that they wanted, but it’s all about the next week and we’re getting ready for this opportunity.”
2.77 yards per carry
It could be his age, 31, or health, but Jets running back Matt Forte has struggled in his last five games dating back to last season. He’s averaging just 19 yards per game the last five games (2.77 yards per carry). Last week against the Bills, Forte rushed for 16 yards on six carries. Forte has gone six consecutive games without a touchdown run, matching the second-longest scoring drought in his career.
The dirt on kicking
Sunday’s game is at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, also home of MLB’s Oakland A’s, so some action will take place on the dirt infield portion of the field. To prepare for kicking on the dirt Jets special teams coordinator Brant Boyer took the specialists — punter, holder, kicker, long snapper — to a minor league baseball field near the Jets facility in Florham Park.
“The footing, the hold, everything,” Boyer said in regards to the challenge of kicking on dirt. Normally teams kick on grass, fake grass or turf. While the Raiders and A’s share their stadium in September, it’s too difficult to cover the dirt with fake grass, then remove it for A’s games.
So NFL teams, and this week it’s the Jets, have to deal with it.
The Jets will also be without two of Boyer’s better special teams players in Rontez Miles (eye) and Bruce Carter (ankle).
“It’s a huge deficiency when you lose those kind of guys,” he said. “They’re great players and good people and leaders in the locker room. Guys have to step up just like any other position, whether it’s offense or defense. I’m pretty confident that those guys will get it done.”
Raider ties for Morton
Jets offensive coordinator John Morton has a strong connection to the Raiders. He was a practice squad wide receiver for the Raiders in the early-1990s and he became an offensive assistant coach in 1997. He worked a variety of positions for the Raiders from senior offensive assistant to tight ends coach.
“Listen, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now if it wasn’t for Al Davis,” Morton said of the Raiders’ late owner. “He’s the one that got me started, and there’s a lot of love-hate guys out there, he’s the one that gave me a job and asked me — I was just a practice squad player there for a couple years, and we always talked football after practice. He’d bring me over and we’d always talk football, I was a football junkie, and he told me, he said, ‘When you stop playing, give me a call,’ and that’s what I did. I gave him a call and he gave me a job. I was just his little gopher for one year, making cut-ups for him, and then Jon Gruden got hired, and we had a relationship because I was in Green Bay and he was my receiver coach, so that’s how that started.”
Football junkies at safety
The Jets started rookies Jamal Adams (strong) and Marcus Maye (free) at safety in Week 1. Coach Todd Bowles praised the safeties’ work after they combined for 12 tackles and one pass breakup. One of the keys to the success is Adams and Maye have a high Football IQ.
“We talked going into it and how we think they were,” defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said. “But I thought they showed up and did their jobs. Those guys, since they’ve been here, they’ve done everything we’ve asked of them, and looking back at the [Buffalo] game after watching it live, then coming back in and grading, those guys graded out well.”
A bigger task awaits Sunday. Oakland has a better passing and running game than Buffalo so each player will need to be sharp.
“Those guys are really football junkies,” Rodgers said. “They’re here extra. We’re meeting Monday and Tuesday, game plans, these guys are in here studying. They just take it, they communicate, they’ve done everything you can ask. They’ve been a joy to coach.”