I asked former Jets great and current SNY analyst Joe Klecko Tuesday what he thought of the Jets chances against the Colts Saturday.
Here is what he said:
I think last year they surprised a lot of people. When they got on a roll near the end of the year there, I think Rex’s defense really did take over a lot. I think he had more things in place at that time. I think injuries a little bit this year have decimated them, because he hasn’t had the aggressiveness that he has had in the past because the personnel he has in the backfield now, even though he has Revis and Cromartie, has let him down a little bit just talent-wise. I think that’s been a little bit of a downfall for him. And then also, just lining up and trying to play a regular defense by dropping seven, the pass rush hasn’t got there. And that’s been real big.
But I think he had an eye-opener this weekend in Buffalo when he turned the ends loose and the outside linebackers loose. In other words, he didn’t hold them down inside. He didn’t have them playing a five technique, a seven technique. He had them outside playing a nine technique to where it loosened them up a little bit. Because, I think, the biggest thing this week against this guy is you have to get on him. You have to make him feel it at least, if not hit him. I think that had a lot to do with why Rex did that this weekend against Buffalo. We haven’t seen that much. As a matter of fact, we haven’t seen that hardly at all, all year. And that’s really one of the great reasons they’re so good against the run and really not that well against the pass sometimes, because they don’t loosen those ends up unless the defenses call for it. I think that’s one of the things that he’s doing a little bit now is he’s getting back at that aggressiveness.
A lot of teams play a little bit of helter-skelter defense, and they get caught up in their own wash, one being Indianapolis. Indianapolis is a perfect example of a defense where they don’t have a lot of gap responsibility and lane responsibility, but if you watch the timing and the responsibility on blitzing situations with the Jets, they have areas covered. You never see two or three of those guys falling on top of each other. This is a very disciplined, blitzing defense if that’s understandable. That’s why Jim Leonhard was such a big deal to him, because he has two wonderful guys to play off of in the middle in Harris and Scott because of the way he brings them. Leonhard was almost uncanny in his timing ability, the way he came on the blitz. They don’t have that right now, because he was a big, big plus to them. And I think it’s going to hurt them.
I think offensively, going into the game, the offense is going to have to do more. There’s no doubt. Without a doubt they’re going to have to want to run the football against Indianapolis, because that’s what got them in the playoffs where they were. One note that comes to mind, in San Diego last year they looked like they trounced San Diego. I think the Chargers got out-coached tremendously, especially in the second half, where they didn’t make any adjustments, where Manning in the second half of the AFC Championship Game made a lot of adjustments.
The point I’m making is against San Diego, Sanchez only threw for 100 yards. How do you whup up on such a good offensive team? Now, the defense played well. He disguised a lot of things they hadn’t seen, which worked out well. But they ran the football, they ran the football. And against Indianapolis in the first half, they ran the football well. But, when Peyton starts getting ahead in a football game it becomes a little bit of a track meet, and it’s hard to catch up. Not as much this year, which the last game is a perfect example: 20-20, two fumbles, bang, they go back and they win the game. But it was a mistake. But he’s scary. He’s still scary. He’s Peyton Manning.
The one great thing about Mark Sanchez is, Mark Sanchez has the ability to be a franchise quarterback. There’s no doubt. You can see him make plays with his legs, he throws the ball well, he is accurate with the ball. But where he gets in trouble is if it’s not in the game plan, and if it hasn’t been reviewed with him, he doesn’t have the experience of a Peyton Manning to where if a safety is sitting in his position and makes a certain move, whether he drops right or drops left, and he’s showing you cover two or cover one or cover three, whatever he’s showing you, and that safety makes a certain move Peyton knows what he’s doing.
My son Danny was there with him when they went to the Super Bowl run against Chicago, and he was the short-yardage fullback, so Danny was privy to Peyton’s short yardage meetings. And they were talking about pickups, and Tom Moore was talking about, 'Dan, you’re going to have the WILL on this, because this is going to be your pickup,' and so forth. And Peyton says, 'Danny, if he lines up where he’s at in the hash there, he’s not coming.' My son said to him afterward, 'How do you know that?' He goes, 'He’s never come in the 16 games I’ve seen him.'
Who in the world is a robot that remembers 16 games of that WILL linebacker coming on either a linebacker or weakside blitz, whatever it may be? Who remembers? Only that guy. So that guy has got a tremendous work ethic, skill, and he has a great memory bank. He has seen it.
The biggest downfall that the New York Jets have with Sanchez, which I see proved out, with the New England game, with the Miami game, if they don’t review it and go over it, and he doesn’t see it during the week, he doesn’t know what to do with it, because of his youth. He’ll come to it, but that is a big difference.
Now, that can’t happen this week, because the offense has to help this defense. They gave up 300-some yards against Chicago. The Buffalo game really isn’t worth talking about. The Miami game he gives up 400 yards. The New England game he gives up 400-some yards. They’re not Rex Ryan defenses. It’s not like he wasn’t trying to prevent that. He was working against it, but they still did it.
Now Miami, what in the world were they doing gaining that kind of yards? Plus the offense didn’t help them. In the Chicago game it was back and forth, a shootout, like there were no defenses on the field. That’s the offense that we have to see for the New York Jets this weekend. And they can do it, because I now Freeney is a great pass rusher, but D’Brickashaw Ferguson, I would put him against anyone as a pass blocker in this league. He has tremendous length in his arms, he’s got great balance and he’s a great, big guy. And Freeney always has trouble with him anyway. Mathis on the other side, they’re going to get Woody back, hopefully and that’s going to be a big deal for them. But the biggest thing about it is to get them guys upfield, now let’s go play havoc on the linebackers and the safeties and run the football.
And I think that’s what they have to do.