FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Odell Beckham Jr. is getting rock star attention in the lead-up to the Giants-Jets game. But while the Jets respect the star wide receiver, cornerback Antonio Cromartie, perhaps a bit weary of this week’s Beckham-mania, said Thursday, “He’s not the whole focus point of the team.”
It sounds as if the “focus point” for the Jets’ defense really isn’t Beckham — it’s the guy who’s going to throw him the ball. The best way for the Jets to stop Beckham may be to get to Eli Manning early and often and disrupt the Giants’ passing attack before the ball even leaves the quarterback’s hand.
The Jets are confident they can stop the Giants’ running game, so the battle between the Jets’ pass rushers and the Giants’ banged-up line may be more important Sunday than Beckham vs. Cromartie, et al.
“We’ve got to try to get him on the ground,” defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said of Manning. “You sit there and look at Eli and this guy can make all the throws. The way they run that offense, he’s taking a look, studying the defense and putting them in the right situations. Right now, with him we’re going to try to disrupt him as much as we can.”
Defensive lineman Damon Harrison said the Jets are going to try to “push the pocket, like you do with all the good quarterbacks. Make him uncomfortable. Just have the coverage and the rush work together.”
The Jets are going to try to contain Beckham without Darrelle Revis, who coach Todd Bowles conceded is going to miss his second straight game because of a concussion. Marcus Williams, who started for Revis in Sunday’s 38-20 win over Miami and picked up his fifth interception, will be a game-time decision because of a sprained MCL. If Williams can’t go, Buster Skrine likely will start.
The Jets held Miami to 12 yards, a franchise low for yardage allowed, on only nine carries. The Giants had only 33 yards on 13 carries in their 20-14 loss to the Redskins. Manning threw 51 passes, which is not the kind of offensive balance they want. The Jets say they would be happy if the Giants abandon their running game early, even if it means more chances for Beckham.
“It makes them one-dimensional,” Cromartie said. “I don’t real ly see any negatives to it because now you’ve got your guys in the front seven throwing their ears back and going after the quarterback. That’s the biggest thing, trying to make a team one-dimensional. If you can make a team one-dimensional, now you know exactly what to expect.”
Said Harrison: “It’s big, man, it’s big. Every game, the No. 1 thing is to stop the run. When you’re able to make a team one-dimensional, have them abandon it, that’s a good feeling.”
That’s not to say the Jets don’t respect Manning, too. After all, he threw a 99-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz in the teams’ last meeting four years ago.
“He’s pocket-savvy,” Harrison said. “He’s a veteran. He knows how to move in the pocket. It’s my job and a couple other guys’ jobs to make that uneasy for him and not give him a chance to step up in the pocket.”