What To Expect From The Jets

December 11th, 2009
Cornerback Darrelle Revis is one reason why the Jets have a strong defense.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis is one reason why the Jets have a strong defense.

Joe was fortunate to be able to bend the ear of Jets correspondent, blogger and chef Lisa Zimmerman to get some background information on the Bucs’ opponent this Sunday, Gang Green.

Zimmerman’s work can be found on CBSSports.com and her fine Jets blog Jetting Around With Lisa Z. Word is that Lisa also bakes the best apple pie found in the greater tri-state area.

JoeBucsFan: So, is Jets coach Rex Ryan using Mark Sanchez’s knee as a cover to bench him, given the fact the Bucs actually have an OK secondary or is Sanchez’s knee really that bad?

Lisa Zimmerman: The benching is legitimate. Early in the week Ryan wanted Sanchez to start but the doctors determined that the risk was too high. The doctors and the team did not want to expose Sanchez to the possibility of injuring the knee further or more severely. If Sanchez could play safely, Ryan would play him.

Joe: Has Sanchez and his interceptions really killed the Jets that badly? The old adage of running the ball and playing solid defense wins games isn’t the case with the Jets. It’s hard to believe a team that leads the NFL in running and is second overall in defense is only 6-6.

Lisa: Mark Sancehz’s interceptions have hurt the team, but they are not the sole reason for the team being 6-6. The team has had games where Sanchez played great, but the team still lost. Losses like their first game against the Miami Dolphins were, in fact, due to scores made by the opposing special teams. In other games, the defense has been the culprit. So, while they have been a problem, they have been nowhere near the sole culprit.

Joe: What has been the secret to the Jets’ defense? While the Jets lead the league in fewest passing yards allowed, they don’t have an inordinate amount of interceptions. Are the Jets just getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback which results in bad throws and bad decisions?

Lisa: The Jets players bought into Rex Ryan’s aggressive, take-no-prisoners style defense right out of the gate. This belief in what they do has given them confidence and ultimately led to successful execution. They do blitz and pressure a lot, which generally results in teams running the ball more and therefore throwing less and fewer interceptions.

Joe: What are the whispers you hear from the Jets about Bucs rookie quarterback Josh Freeman? Like Sanchez, Freeman started out hot but recently has thrown quite a few interceptions. Is there now a book out on Freeman?

Lisa: The Jets are wary of Josh Freeman. The defensive players I have spoken to about him point out that you always expect interceptions from rookies but they are not going to the bank on those. They find him athletic, poised and able to move around in the pocket. They are putting a lot of time into studying him to avoid getting burned on Sunday.

Joe: What is the chatter in Florham Park about the Jets’ possibly winning the AFC East? With the Patriots suddenly looking mortal, it seems the division is up for grabs.

Lisa: No real chatter about this. Open playoff talk stopped after the second or third loss. Realistically I think they believe they have a good shot at a Wild Card, but stop there.

Joe: Naturally, Jets running back Leon Washington has a lot of ties to Florida. What may be his future, if any, with the Jets? He had that nasty compound fracture to his right leg and was in the last year of his contract. Will the Jets wash their hands of him or are they interested in seeing if he can return?

Lisa: The Jets organization really likes Leon Washington and if possible, and if his recovery goes well, I think they are going to do their best to keep him. He was lucky in that he sustained only the compound fracture – there was no knee or ankle damage and he did not get an infection, which is often the biggest concern because it provides the biggest impediment to a full recovery from this type of injury. That said, their offer may go down. However, a lot of the negotiating and outcome will be predicated on how Washington performs once the team returns to OTAs and Mini-Camps.

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