*I'd like to thank everybody for their heartfelt condolences on the passing of my grandmother. She was a wonderful woman, and had an incredible 85 years on this planet. We should all hope to live as full of a life as she did. As sad as this time is, I take a lot of comfort in both knowing she is happy in a better place and all of the well wishes.
While I might not post with the same frequncy I normally do over the next few days, I will attempt to do as much as I can because at the end of the day, I really do enjoy writing here. It's one of my favorite things to do. It helps. On with the post.
Sometimes I think we might draw the wrong conclusion from statistics. Last week the Bills averaged over 8.5 yards per rush against the Raiders in what can only be described as an Oakland defensive meltdown. The conclusion one might draw is that this is the week for the Jets to go ground and pound and reestablish the run. I am not sure this is the case, however, simply by looking at the matchup.
The strength of the Oakland defense is the line. They are deep there. They are particularly strong up the middle. Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly start there, two guys well above average. Their line has success because one of them usually draws a double, and the other guy can win his matchup. That also leaves one on ones on the outside. The Raiders rotate up front. They also rotate in John Henderson and Desmond Bryant and shift defensive end Lamarr Houston inside. They are all pretty good run defenders.
The Jets are likely starting an undrafted rookie at center for the first time in his career Sunday replacing the best center in football. Running between Nick Mangold and Matt Slauson was about the one spot the Jets have been successful in this young season. I think Colin Baxter has good potential down the line, but I think expecting him to perform at a high level against some really good players might be a bit much right now. He might be able to better identify his assignments and work out snap issues with a week of film study than he did against Jacksonville where he had a lot of problems, but he is an undersized guy taking on some powerful linemen. Film only helps so much. Part of the game is execution, and he faces a real challenge. It could be a struggle.
The Jets may have been ground and pound the last two years, but this year's recipe of asking the passing game to carry the load might have to continue for the near future.