Jets vs. Titans: 3 things to watch
Not much was expected of the Jets this year, so to end the first quarter of the season with three wins would defy logic and expectations. But on the back of a defense that is No. 4 in the league and an offense that has shown some spark, this team is beginning to look better than many anticipated.
The Titans come in as a 2-1 team as well, based largely on the play of quarterback Jake Locker. The third-year quarterback hasn’t thrown a single interception this season.
Three things to watch for …
1. Can the wide receivers keep it up?
For the first time in franchise history, the Jets boasted two 100-yard wide receivers in the same game last Sunday. It was a big game for Stephen Hill, the much-maligned receiver who underwhelmed with drops and suspect route running as a rookie. Sunday was also a statement game for Santonio Holmes, now 11 months removed from a season-ending Lisfranc injury.
“With the opportunities that were presented to me, like I said, I made the best of those opportunities,” Holmes said. “If each week can be like that, I’m pretty sure myself and the rest of the team will be very ecstatic to see we can produce numbers like we did last week. I know it’s going to be tough going forward because teams are going to have more opportunities to watch more film and get a chance to study the things that we do and we just have to be sound in our technique and our game planning and continue looking forward.”
Judging from his performance a week ago, Holmes is back. Before the Week 4 injury last year, Holmes was the Jets’ leading receiver and on pace for a 1,000-yard season.
2. Johnson is plenty big
Having rushed for at least 1,000 yards in his previous six NFL seasons, Titans running back Chris Johnson is on pace for another monster year. He had 19 carries for 90 yards, with both a rushing and receiving touchdown last week against San Diego.If he continues his fast start, Johnson is projected to rush for 1,365 yards this season, the second-best total in his career. The Jets know full well the danger he poses. Johnson had a 94-yard touchdown run in a Monday night win over the Jets last season.
“I hope I repeat that every week,” Johnson said. “That run, that’s something that you’re praying for every week.”
So far this season, Johnson’s longest run is 23 yards.
3. Airing it out
This past Sunday was an uncharacteristic win for the Jets, with four pass plays of over 40 yards and a quarterback in Geno Smith who threw for over 300 yards. A team that was built on the “ground and pound” since head coach Rex Ryan’s arrival in 2009 is now suddenly pass happy in the West Coast offense.
“That was more of an attack thing. Keep a team honest back there and then make them pay for it,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “If they’re going to put everybody down to stop that run or commit to it with that many guys that we’ve got to make them pay on the outside and certainly that was evident last week.”
With running back Chris Ivory likely sidelined this game with an injury, a good passing attack will help in keeping Bilal Powell from getting quite as beat up as the feature back. The Titans have the No. 10 pass defense in the league with three interceptions.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.