The more I thought about the Baltimore defence, the clearer it became. We absolutely need Sanchez to win this game. Last year we could run the ball effectively and recover from some of Sanchez's mistakes, but Monday night I don't believe that we are going to be able to do that. We will only win this game if Sanchez plays a smart controlled game that takes advantage of the Baltimore weakness, that being it's secondary.
I know a lot of fans from Baltimore refuse to accept that their team, notorious for it's ferocious defence, has a weakness. A chink in the armour if you will, but unfortunately for them, I can't see how they can say that the secondary is not a weakness in 2010, especially with the injury and absence of Ed Reed & Domonique Foxworth. Fabian Washington who looks to be the corner starting opposite Chris Carr Monday is just returning from a serious ACL knee injury.
Lardarius Webb is expected to be the Baltimore nickel back this season, but this mornings Baltimore Sun commented that he had an uncertain "but not too distant" return. So with Foxworth gone, Washington returning from a serious knee problem, Chris Carr a decent cornerback but hardly elite and Webb's status up in the air, it's not hard to identify the weakness.
Baltimore recently traded for Seattle Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson, a player who has recorded 24 starts in 40 games including 6 interceptions, 2 sacks and 3 touchdowns. This is an upgrade for Baltimore without a doubt. However he is new into the system, week 1 is a week we probably don't see his full potential.
Unfortunately for us, their weakness needs to be exploited by our own weakness. I brought this up with a good Baltimore Ravens buddy of mine, and he admitted the secondary gave him reason to be concerned. However he expressed his confidence in the pass rush being effective enough to limit our offences time to exploit the secondary.
We all know that you can not judge a pass rush on sacks alone, but Baltimore registered just 32 last season. Good for joint 18th in the league with our very own Jets, the Giants, Bills and Titans. I fully admit that our pass rush is one area of this defence that needs to get better, luckily we have the corners to manage.
The addition of Cory Redding to play with Trevor Pryce who recorded 6.5 sacks last season could work. However this is a complete unknown. Which Terrell Suggs are Baltimore getting this year, the 4.5 sack 2009 one or the 8.0 sack 2008 one. So while I think the Baltimore pass rush will be improved, I'm not buying that it can completely compensate for the secondary situation.
Sanchez unfortunately has the annoying habit of lock-on syndrome. If he continues to telegraph passes, it doesn't matter if it's Sanders or Justin Miller out there, the CB will have success. However if Sanchez can shake off a rusty pre-season and pick up where he left off in 2009, the Jets can have success through the air.
We will need to be able to pass the ball on Monday night to walk away with the "W". Running against a front that includes Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata is not going to be easy. Bring Terrence "mount" Cody into the frame and that's a lot of beef (correction, Cody will not be playing Monday night. Thanks Crack). While I think we can have mild success with Greene and LT, the passing game will win or lose us this game in my opinion. We have the receiving weapons, but like John pointed out yesterday.....the receivers are only as good as the guy throwing them the rock.