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Oakland Raiders Austin Howard: 'New York Jets Can Be Pushed Around'

Opening weekend wouldn't be the same without a bit of verbiage.

Oh, behave!
Oh, behave!
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

There were a few interesting comments in the San Jose Mercury News from a former Jet ahead of the game this Sunday as Austin Howard opened up on what it will be like to travel back to New Jersey to face his former team mates:

"This will be a good evaluator for where we are as a team," Howard said. "But I believe we can go up there and push them around a little bit."

Howard obviously left the Jets to sign with the Oakland Raiders this pre-season, signing a 5 year $30 million deal. Although he had a solid year in New York in 2013, I would never call him an elite talent, and in 2012 he has some serious problems to start his Jets career, I would actually call him a liability for much of it. However credit to Howard, he really upped his game in 2013 in both pass protection and run blocking and earned his shot at a long-term contract. I think the question is, which Howard is the real one? The revolving door or pre-2013 or the solid lineman of 2013.

Oakland have spent a lot of time improving their offensive line. First they brought in Howard, who was quickly followed by left tackle Donald Penn who signed on for two years and $9.6 million. Both players were then followed by highly rated Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL draft, all big men who will be able to push a lot of teams around.

However the Jets may not be one of them. For all the questions surrounding the Jets as we head into the 2014 season, the defensive line is certainly not one of them. Rated as one of the best if not the best defensive line in football, the new look Raiders line will come face to face with a wall of strength, speed and general athleticism. They will need to content with the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson, all 6'4 315lb's of him. As well as defensive rookie of the year in 2013 Sheldon Richardson and the diamond in the rough, Damon Harrison. When they need to take a breather they will be replaced by Kenrick Ellis and Leger Douzable, not to mention the pressure coming from the outside in former first round selection Quinton Coples.

What's so good about all of this? well there is a little chatter going on in the trenches.

Sheldon Richardson is certainly looking forward to lining up against his team-mate although Howard will be dealing with Wilkerson for the majority of the game.

"I've been waiting on this one," Richardson said. "I circled it on the calendar. We were cool when he was here. We went against each other in practice and stuff, but now it's for a whole game so I can't wait to see how it turns out."

Howard knows he will be in for one heck of a battle when it's all said and done.

"I'll be looking forward to it, we'll see," Howard said. "They're a good group of guys. Relationships aside, I know they're going to come out to play and that's going to be likewise on our side as well.

"Obviously this game is going to mean a little bit more to me with the history I have with the team," Howard said. "With that being said, one thing I have noticed and have come to realize is you have to show up to play every game. You can't go out more amped up for one game than you are another."