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NY Jets @ New Orleans Saints: Interview with the Enemy

We are now only two days away from the big kickoff this weekend. Yesterday our guest was Jimmy from Music City Miracles, here to try and help us get a better understanding of what we can expect from the Jets defense. Today, we've got the SB Nation's Jets blogger himself, John B from Gang Green Nation, to answer a few questions and give us his informed perspective. Let's take a look at what John B had to say about the battle of the undefeated. 

CSC: The Saints and Jets are probably the two hottest teams in the league right now and somewhat to the surprise of many. Is the Jets success for real or will it begin to falter and crumble at some point?

GGN: I think it's for real. There was a lot of talent on the roster. As long as everybody stayed healthy, it was eventually going to come together. I'm really surprised how soon it's happened with a rookie quarterback and a new defensive scheme. As Mark Sanchez grows more comfortable with the pro game, and the defensive players get more experienced in the system, I'm hoping the play gets even better.

CSC: Are there concerns regarding the health of the Jets secondary? Will they be up to the challenge of facing Drew Brees?

GGN: One starter, Lito Sheppard, and the nickel, Donald Strickland, missed last week's game. If they can't go Dwight Lowery, who started the first half of last year as a rookie, and Drew Coleman will take their place. It sounds like the team is optimistic about them playing. The Jets worked out a couple of corners this week but didn't sign anybody, which some take to mean Sheppard and Strickland will play. I feel comfortable with Lowery in the lineup if he has to play. Not so much with Coleman. At the end of the day, though, the Jets want to make Brees get rid of it before the receivers have a chance to get open. The secondary will matter, but not as much as the pass rush.


CSC: What makes the Jets defense so good and what does Rex Ryan have to do with that?

GGN: There's a lot of talent on the unit, but two players in particular stick out. The first is Kris Jenkins. He's a force of nature on the defensive line. The Jets blitz a lot. It's tough to find enough blockers to pick up those blitzes when you need 2-3 guys on every play just to try and keep Jenkins in check. The second is Darrelle Revis. The blitzing leaves corners on an island. Revis manhandled Andre Johnson and Randy Moss, arguably the two most talented receivers on the planet in the first two weeks. It's easy to be aggressive when you know you have a guy like Revis there in case the opposition picks up the blitz.

More than anything, Ryan brings an attack mentality that was missing under the old staff. The Jets have had success because they get to the quarterback. The funny thing is the sack numbers don't look that great, but they've held Tom Brady and Kerry Collins under 50% in the past two weeks because they've applied consistent pressure and forced early throws. 


CSC: How has Steve Weatherford been working out for you guys?

GGN: It feels like the Jets had about twenty punters in camp. They ended up making two changes between the preseason finale and regular season opener. Weatherford didn't do a great job last week. He only averaged 36 on his kicks and shanked one in crunch time.


CSC: What do you think the Jets need to do to defeat the Saints?

GGN: I'll give two simple keys. The first is get to Brees. They need to force him to get rid it before he wants, before his receivers get open. They need to hit him early and often so he's not comfortable in the pocket.

The second is the Jets need to run block better than they have this year so far. There are four first round picks on that offensive line. They turned Thomas Jones into the AFC's leading rusher last season. It's time for them to assert themselves. The Jets need to control the clock and keep that offense off the field.


CSC: Care to make a prediction?

GGN: I don't love doing predictions. I think it will be a close game. If it was in the Meadowlands, I'd like the Jets. I think the Saints have a slight edge in the dome.