In addition to exchanging questions and answers with Joe Caparoso of Turn on the Jets, I also had the privilege of swapping ideas and thoughts regarding this week’s Tennessee Titans/New York Jets battle with Brian Bassett of The Jets Blog.
Here’s what Brian and I had to say about tomorrow’s pivotal matchup, after the jump.
Total Titans: Do the Jets fans expect a letdown of sorts after an impressive two weeks, from the dismantling of Houston to the emotionally charged victory over the Brady bunch? Or is Ryan the type of coach to keep his team…ahem….humble?
The Jets Blog: I think the fans are primed now that they’ve won two straight, both against teams that many pundits had picked them to lose to. Regardless of them being 0-2, I do think that the Titans are the best team that they’ve seen so far this season, and Ryan knows it. After a good game last week, he’s tried to keep it humble, yelling at the team for a bad showing from the defense in practice, and telling the team the moment they get complacent is the moment they get their block knocked off.
I think in his press conferences and to his team this week, Ryan’s shown that he can be what the moment calls him to be, and right now, he’s seeming to be less the “rah-rah” encourager and more the “watch yourself” guy.
Total Titans: Mark Sanchez has looked “Matt Ryan-esque” in his first two NFL starts. What are your thoughts regarding the rookie signal-caller’s performance and do you expect him to continue his solid play as the season goes on?
The Jets Blog: I think that it bears mentioning that Sanchez hasn’t played a top
tier defense yet, so he might have more of a challenge Sunday against
the Titans, especially if they can stop the run with their base unit
and drop more players into protection.
Sanchez will have to win the
game offensively for the Jets, but I do think that he’s way more
advanced than I thought he’d be by this time, and the Jets might not
have a world-beating offense, but they have a very solid offensive line
and some quality players at the skill positions to help him out. I
only see Sanchez continuing on smoothly for most of the season …
though there might be a few clunkers in there, he’s shown so far that
he belongs on the field.
Total Titans: The Jets 3-4 defense is FAST, and will be keying on stopping Chris Johnson. Will they drop 8 or 9 into the box and dare us to throw it? (knowing Revis is a stud DB)
The Jets Blog: I don’t think that the defense will feel the need to drop nine just to contain Johnson, I think that they’ll go more base package on him, and maybe try and spread a little wider with their front seven to contain him.
On passing plays, I’ve seen one pundit write that the Jets best hope is to blitz right at Johnson, and by that way, try and contain him from where he is most deadly, out free in the passing game.
Total Titans: Tell us a little bit about Vernon Gholston…What impact has he had in first two games this year and will he keep his starting job when Pace returns?
The Jets Blog: Gholston is most definitely a project and someone who I’m determined to keep patience with, but the biggest knock on him isn’t his athletic abilities, it’s how his brain does (or doesn’t) translate desire, etc. onto the playing field. Gholston could knock over anyone on the field, but it just doesn’t seem like he cares to do so.
If anyone can coax him into playing, it will be Rexy, and we’ll just have to be patient until then. He’s fine in sub package situations but man, we can’t wait for the return of Calvin Pace, he could make this defense world class.
Total Titans: Last but not least, look into your crystal ball and tell us who will win this Sunday’s Titans/Jets matchup?
The Jets Blog: Honestly, I have no idea … all the NFL pundits are picking the
Jets, which has me very afraid. I do think it’s going to be a close
game, probably by field goal or less.
The Jets Blog: Did you get a sense this week that Titans players knew their backs were to the wall in a way? No one wants to dig out of an 0-2 start, and the Titans aren’t that changed
from one of the league’s best teams in 2008.
Total Titans: Facing the possibility of an 0-3 start with the Colts continuing their successful ways, saying the Titans’ backs are to the wall is an understatement.
Jeff Fisher’s crew will need to play with a sense of urgency for the sake of keeping their playoff aspirations for 2009 alive.
The Jets Blog: How different is this defense with the losses of Haynesworth and Jim Schwartz? Do you feel the loss of one more than the other?
Total Titans: Good question. Haynesworth’s presence hasn’t been missed in stopping the run, but his ability to attract double/triple teams is missing from the pass rush. As for Schwartz, he was a pretty bright guy who had his troops prepared for the most part and under new defensive coordinator/former NFL badboy Chuck Cecil, the defense has been a bit unorganized to say the least.
It’s hard to determine who is missed the most between the two, but make no mistake, the impact of both of them departing has been felt by the Titans.
The Jets Blog: We all heard about Chris Johnson’s great day last weekend, but LenDale’s been outspoken about his new body and lack in ingestion of Patron…How has his play been so far?
Total Titans: LenDale looks a little quicker than he did in the past but due to Chris
Johnson’s exploits, LW hasn’t had the chance to make that much of an
impact so far this season.
As the year goes on, I’m expecting
him to become more of a factor in the running game while scoring some
of his trademark goal-line touchdowns.
The Jets Blog: How has former Rutgers phenom Kenny Britt looked so far to you?
Total Titans: Britt’s an intriguing player with a ton of potential. He’s displayed
the ability to make plays down the field while also being a solid blocker in the running game.
The sky’s the limit for Kenny Britt in Nashville.
The Jets Blog: What’s the one thing about this Titans team, that if you were an opposing coach you’d hammer mercilessly?
Total Titans: At this point, considering their status as the league’s worst pass defense, I’d continue to follow that path to success against the Titans’ defense.
I’d continue to attack veteran CB Nick Harper, who is beginning to show his age. I’d also throw some play-action passes, hoping that safeties Chris Hope and Michael Griffin would continue their aggressive ways by falling for the play-fake as open wide receivers trot down the field.
That’s it for this week’s double dose of the question/answer exchange. Thanks to Brian and Joe for dropping by to share their thoughts from a Jets fan’s perspective.