Each week Coltzilla will preview the upcoming game by speaking with fellow bloggers or writers who cover the week’s opponent. This week Coltzilla speaks with John Butchko, lead blogger at GangGreenNation.com to get a Jets perspective on the Colts game Saturday evening.
CZ: We have been hearing that Sanchez has some sort of shoulder injury that is bothering him. Do you think this is going to affect him? Is it anything serious?
JB: It doesn’t seem serious. We first heard of it two weeks ago, and Sanchez played a fantastic game, throwing for 269 yards against the Bears. We never know the full extent of injuries at this point of the year, but it looked like he could make every throw.
CZ: What do you believe the Jets game plan is going to be for this game? Do you see them attempting to stick with the run-and-pound the ball? If so how long do they stick with it if it isn’t working and put it on Sanchez?
JB: They ran the ball about 60% of the time last year, but they have relied much more on the pass this year. I’m not sure the injury is very serious so I don’t think they’ll do anything special. The past few weeks, they have given Sanchez a lot of easy throws to make early. I’m talking about screens, bootlegs, slants, etc. I’m sure the Jets will take a few shots downfield, but when they have gotten into trouble this year, it has been because they have made things too complicated for and asked too much of Sanchez. It seems like they have learned their lesson so I think we’ll see an offense based on short simple routes to try and move the chains.
CZ: Who would you compare Greene to? In the last three weeks we have completely shut down McFadden, MJD, and CJ. Colts fans have much more confidence than before in stopping the run. Do you think this is misguided? How much success are you expecting?
JB: Greene is a different kind of runner than those guys. He is a guy with good speed who can have success taking plays outside and getting the corner, but he is also very good running hard between the tackles and pounding on a defense. He’s also bigger than those guys. The Colts have a small front. I think Greene can be effective. The Jets are also getting right tackle Damien Woody back. Woody was playing at a Pro Bowl level before suffering an injury. That will help.
I think the bigger question is whether the Jets will give Greene the bulk of the carries. They have been splitting carries somewhat equally between him and LaDainian Tomlinson even though Tomlinson has looked a step slower and been less effective. In this way, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer might be Indianapolis’ most effective run defender.
CZ: I read and basically agree with your WR match-up article. However, you really only addressed the #1 and #2 targets. How do you think your CB/LB’s will matchup with our slot players in Tamme and White? Who do you see covering them?
JB: Drew Coleman is the nickel for the Jets. He will probably cover White for the most part. You remember him getting torched in the AFC Championship Game by Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie last year. Most Jets fans did not expect him to return to the team at that point because it looked like he had no cover skills. He has improved a lot this year. Some fans have been riding him lately, but a lot of the times he has been burned, it has been because there has been no pass rush. He has just been hung out to dry with the impossible task of covering receivers for 5 seconds. He’s not Darrelle Revis, but I think he has the potential to hold up well against White.
CZ: I am sure you have confidence in your team. What it is your prediction for the game? What is the key factor to the outcome?
JB: You know that I’m going to pick the Jets.
I think the biggest key offensively is the play of Mark Sanchez. He is playing well entering this game, but his low points have been very low this season. You can attribute three of the team’s five losses directly to him playing horribly. In those games, even an average quarterback performance would have given the Jets a victory. If he plays well, this team is tough to beat with its defense and run game.
On defense the Jets must get pressure on Peyton Manning. The scheme they run puts a lot of stress on the corners. They need to be able to cover with minimal help. If no pass rush gets there, they are hung out to dry. If a quarterback has four to five seconds to throw, one of five receivers is going to get open. Manning is so good that he will take advantage of any opening. The Jets need to get to him so those receivers don’t have time to get open, and number 18 can’t go through his progressions. The Jets blitz a lot. A lot of guys will be coming at him. The two key guys, though, are Jason Taylor and Calvin Pace. New York has had an inconsistent pass rush because these guys haven’t always won their assignments. They are both hot after a big Week 17, though.
Coltzilla would like to thank John for taking the time to answer questions. To learn more about the Jets, visit GangGreenNation.com and read John and his staff’s work.