1. Attack on the ground
- The Jets’ rushing attack has been nothing short of dismal this year, but if they’ve got one chance to get it going this year, it’ll be against the Colts. Indianapolis has the sixth-worst run defense in the league, and Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell and Tim Tebow should be able to find running room. If they can do that, it should take some of the pressure of much-maligned quarterback Mark Sanchez, and open up the play-action passing game.
2. Stop the run
- Indianapolis does not have a strong ground game, as they rank 19th in the NFL in that category. Making matters worse for the Colts is that starting RB Donald Brown will be out for this game after undergoing some minor knee surgery. The Jets run defense has been awful this year, but they should be able to contain Vick Ballard….right? If so, it should force the Colts into becoming one-dimensional on offense. While Andrew Luck isn’t your average rookie quarterback, it should be easier on the Jets defense if they know they’ve only got to stop the pass.
3. Utilize Dustin Keller, Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley
- This is as close as the Jets’ passing attack is going to come to having a full complement of weapons this year, now that Santonio Holmes is out for the year. Kerley has come on strong in the past weeks, showing big play potential as a slot receiver. He had five catches for 94 yards against a tough Houston Texans defense last week, and probably would have had a touchdown or two if not for J.J. Watt’s passes defensed. Joining him will be tight end Dustin Keller, who has been Sanchez’ favorite target throughout his career, and Stephen Hill, who can stretch defenses and showed good chemistry with Sanchez during their Week 1 victory over Buffalo, during which the pair hooked up five times for 89 yards and two scores. Keller’s been out since Week 1, and Hill has been out since Week 3. Their return should inject a stagnant Jets’ passing game with some life, and Keller’s return should give Sanchez a familiar target, something that should improve his dismal completion percentage (48.4, worst in the NFL). And the less Sanchez is throwing to Jason Hill and Chaz Schilens, the better.
4. Set the edge
At this point, it’s probably too much to ask the Jets to sack the quarterback on a consistent basis. Their pass rush really is that pathetic. However, they’re going to be dealing with a mobile quarterback this week in Andrew Luck. The Jets cannot allow Luck to hurt them by rolling out of the pocket, extending plays, or even scrambling downfield for big gains. The Jets need to keep Luck in the pocket and force him to try and complete passes against a secondary that’s shown solid coverage ability the past few weeks, even with the loss of Darrelle Revis.
5. Eliminate clock-management mistakes
- The Jets made crucial mistakes last week that killed momentum during drives and cost them valuable timeouts. They want to involve Tim Tebow on offense, and that’s fine. But they’ve got to do so at times when it doesn’t take them so long to switch offensive packages that the play clock nearly expires and they’ve got to burn a timeout. Little things like that will cut the knees out from a team, especially one that struggles on offense as much as the Jets. If they want to win, they’ve got to play a clean, fundamentally sound game.
By Arun Morace
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