Thanks again to Joe Caporoso of The Cockpit, for participating in a question and answer exchange about this week’s Titans-Jets game. You can read Joe’s questions with my answers here. Following are Total Titans’ questions about the Jets, with Joe’s answers.
Total Titans: How are you liking your new gunslinger under center? After seeing how well Chad Pennington has done with the Dolphins, who would you rather have, him or Bret Favre?
The Cockpit: I am liking him a lot more the past few weeks. He has been protecting the ball, while providing his usual big plays and leadership. I am happy for Pennington and glad to see him doing so well, but I wouldn’t go back on the trade. We are 7-3, in first place, and have beaten Miami already in their building.
Total Titans: The Jets seem to have had more success running the ball this year. How much of that improvement do you think is attributable to an Alan Faneca-led upgrade to the offensive line, and how much is due to the presence of Favre, Peter King’s BFF?
The Cockpit: Faneca has been pretty good this year, but nothing too special. Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson have taken big steps forward, while Brandon Moore and Damien Woody are both quietly having very good years. Thomas Jones has also looked a step quicker to the hole and is showing more burst around the goal-line. I am sure having Favre behind center helps loosens defenses up, but most of the credit should go to the entire offensive line and Jones.
Total Titans: Cotchery or Coles: who should the Titans fear the most?
The Cockpit: Cotchery has more catches and yards, although less touchdowns than Coles. They are kind of a 1A/1B option. If forced to pick, I’d probably say that Cotchery is more dangerous. He has hurt the Titans in the past. I think he had over 150 yards receiving against them last year and a touchdown.
Total Titans: Give us the name(s) of one or two players to watch who we may not have heard of (special teams, role players etc.)
The Cockpit: The Jets coverage units on special teams are excellent and they are led by Wallace Wright. I can promise you the guy will make a few open field tackles on Sunday. On defense, outside linebacker Bryan Thomas and defensive end Shaun Ellis are both having big years. Ellis has 7 sacks, which is a huge number for a 3-4 DE. Thomas has 4.5 sacks and numerous tackles for losses.
Total Titans: The Jets are ranked 28th in pass defense, despite being third in the league in sacks and having two very good DBs, Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes. What gives?
The Cockpit: The Jets have had some issues opposite Revis at corner. Rookie Dwight Lowery had a strong start to the season but has struggled recently, as teams are starting to pick on him. They also were having problems at nickelback, with Drew Coleman routinely getting beat. Eric Smith began the year as the starting safety opposite Rhodes and wasn’t playing well at all. He has been out recently with an injury and his replacement Abram Elam has looked good and created a few big plays. I think their secondary will improve with Elam playing full-time and the addition of Ty Law. Expect to see Law eventually become the starter opposite Revis, he looked better than expected on Thursday night against New England.
Total Titans: What are the matchups you want to watch and what is your prediction for the game?
The Cockpit: I am interested to see Nick Mangold vs Albert Haynesworth and the other side Kevin Mawae vs. Kris Jenkins. You have two great centers going against two massive defensive tackles. I am going to predict a Jets victory, 17-14. I think they are playing their best football in years right now and that the Titans are due for a loss.
Thanks again to Joe and thanks to all who suggested the questions for him.