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No matter how you spin it, the upcoming Monday NIght Football match with the Houston Texans is tough sledding. Here are a few things we need to see, win or loss.
The game against the Houston Texans is going to be tough. Valid arguments can be made for another struggle for the New York Jets, as well as ones for a "trap game" for the Texans. Regardless, there are a few things we need to see from the Jets if they want to improve as the season progresses.
1. SPEED KILLS
The first thing we need to see are our younger, faster players. Guys like Quinton Coples, Aaron Maybin, Demario Davis, and Joe McKnight. With injuries to Sione Po'uha, Bart Scott, and Shonn Greene's inability to fall face forward, Rex Ryan might finally be forced to put our speedier players into the game. The defense's motto coming into this season was, "One step faster," and the only way to get that is to get our faster players in the game. They're going to mistakes, sure, but so are our "experienced" veterans. Let the kids play and let them get better.
Tim Tebow has been used in a lot of great ways this season. Obviously on special teams, but also as a FB, WR, TE, etc. And in all of those roles he's done very well. He had the converted fake punt, some great cut blocks and he's run some good routes. In fact, the only way I don't like how he's been used has been at quarterback. If Mark Sanchez stumbles again, Tebow needs to be brought in for a series to spark the offense. He needs to be used in short yardage situations. He needs to get more passes. He's had one pass attempt to nine rushes. That just ain't gonna fly. Why should any defense respect his ability to throw if we won't? It doesn't matter if he bombs it and the passes are incomplete. More pass attempts will bring the opposing defense away from the line of scrimmage.
3. HIT 'EM WHERE IT HURTS
The next thing I want to see is improved tackling on defense. It doesn't need to be perfect. But we do need to see improvements on the defense's tackling in space. That's been arguably our biggest weakness on defense (possibly pass rush, see below). We cannot win if we do not tackle. It really is as simple as that. Tackle the ball-carrier, get off the field.
4. INTRO TO CHEMISTRY 101
Each week, much less each season, it feels like Mark Sanchez is dealing with an entirely different receiving corps. This week, he'll be partnering with Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, Clyde Gates, Jason Hill, and Jeff Cumberland. Say whaaaa? Yeah, seriously those are his weapons. Regardless, I want to see some signs of chemistry between Sanchez and his guys. I'm not expecting an aerial rainstorm, a veritable Greatest Show on Turf. No. I just want to see Sanchez and his receivers make some catches and show that they have something to work with as the season progresses. It's a long battle uphill, but here is where it's gotta start.
5. BRING THE HOUSE
The final thing that I want to see is just a glimmer of a pass rush. I expect to see some four man fronts with Quinton Coples, Kenrick Ellis, Damon Harrison (or Mike Devito, but I have a feeling Harrison will be active), and Muhammad Wilkerson. That's a lot of youth. In the middle, that's a lot of man, and on the edges, a lot of speed. Line up Aaron Maybin off of Coples and tee off on the offense. Blitz Davis or LaRon Landry. One of the biggest problems we've been having is that other teams have been running on us so much, it doesn't give the defense much of an opportunity to pass rush. If we get a lead, or can just keep it close, the pass rush has to go to our youth and to our speed.