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Can the New York Jets Control Jason Witten?

New, comments

Jason Witten is one of the best tight end receiving threats in the NFL. He is one of the few capable of putting up top wide receiver networks. He is also arguably the most integral part of the Dallas passing game. In the past three seasons, he has not averaged less than 7.5 targets per game.

Matchups like Witten are why I am leery of a Jim Leonhard-Eric Smith starting tandem at safety. Athletes like Witten will provide slower guys like them with big problems. 

I think the Jets might be able to slow Witten down in areas other than coverage. The Jets' blitzing schemes have a chance to take advantage of Dallas' shaky looking line. Tony Romo cannot get the ball to Witten if he does not have time to set himself and throw. I think the potential for protection problems could take away from Witten a bit. The Cowboys might need help to keep Romo protected and keep Witten in to block more than they might otherwise.

I think the Jets will throw different looks in coverage at Witten. Since they really do not have anybody who can match up with him one on one, they will have to use a bit of deception. I could imagine the Jets looking to bracket him consistently with linebackers and safeties and leave the corners alone on the outside, where they can stand on their own. I could also see the Jets adopting the strategy they used against San Diego and Antonio Gates in the Playoffs two years ago. On passing downs, we might see some mixed coverages, even Darrelle Revis moving on him at times.

The Jets are probably going to be able to eliminate Miles Austin with Revis on most downs. The other critical receiving target is Witten. The Jets might not be able to eliminate him, but they will need to try and contain the damage he can do.