When the Jets defense takes the field in St. Louis this weekend against the juggernaut that is the Brian Schottenheimer led 24th ranked Rams offense, there will be a great deal of familiarity. Schottenheimer coached against the Jets defense every day in practice for three years. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine coached against Schotty's offense.
My feeling in situations like these is Schottenheimer has a slight edge. While there is no real schematic edge, Schottenheimer knows intimately details about personnel on the Jets defense that the Jets side does not know about the Rams offense. In most cases, I feel this ends up being overblown. As much as we love to talk about football being a game of deception, it really is a game of execution. You can know what the other guy is doing and still not be able to stop it.
I think in this game, it might be a bit more important. The Rams have serious issues keeping Sam Bradford upright. If you look at Pro Football Focus' numbers, he gets pressured more than one in every three times he drops back. No, you shouldn't be shocked. The Rams were a team that traded for Wayne Hunter for offensive line HELP after all.
Getting pressure to Bradford might be the difference in the game. He's been excellent when he's had time to throw. He's completing 68.3% of his passes with a 95 rating when facing no pressure. When under pressure, he's a 47.1%, 61.9 rated passer.
The Jets' issues getting to the passer consistently are now well noted, but their scheme certainly can make them a nightmare to face for teams with suspect offensive line play. The many looks the Jets show can lead to communication breakdowns against bad offensive lines, and communication breakdowns are a trademark of bad offensive lines.
This leads to a question. How much can Brian Schottenheimer teach his blockers about the Jets' fronts heading into this game? It is going to have to be a real cram session, much to take in with little time since the Jets do so much on defense. Give Bradford time, and he can make the Jets pay. If he doesn't, the Rams don't really have any gamebreaking receivers. Getting open quickly against the Jets corners will be a real challenge.