It is the same story every week for head coaches as they prepare to take on the New York Jets and one of the league’s best defenses. The night terrors can be heard in their voices as they have to address a fierce unit.
The Jets this week are on to the Oakland Raiders, this after a Week 7 loss at the New England Patriots proved both heartbreaking but yet encouraging. In the game, the Jets for long periods of the game frustrated the league’s top offense and took a lead into the fourth quarter. Now against a Raiders offense that is vastly improved over last year, there will still be a good challenge for them this Sunday.
And in turn for Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio will be the challenge of game planning for the Jets defense. He has a young quarterback in Derek Carr who is coming along nicely but still has flaws and a young wide receiver in Amari Cooper, whose early returns have been positive. They have game changers although they are still young.
But this is still a Jets defense with Darrelle Revis in the backend as well as pass rushers such as Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson.
“That’s what you see on tape, a real talented group,” Del Rio said in a conference call with the New York media on Wednesday. “Eight former first-rounders and accomplished players throughout their roster, in the front, at linebacker and in the backend and really well coached. They’re doing a nice job.”
Del Rio calls it a “big challenge” and a “really, really good group” that he will face this weekend. But his offense isn’t half bad either.
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Carr in his second year in the league has 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions, showing his continued growth and development. They are able to run the ball at times and they have some nice targets who can stretch the field.
But against a Jets defense that is best in the league, allowing just 3.4 yards per carry, a team can be very one-dimensional.
On Sunday in beating the Jets, the Patriots handed off the ball just five times and quarterback Tom Brady led the team with four rushes for 15 yards. Carr is certainly no Brady but the Patriots clearly felt comfortable enough with their wide receivers and their big targets at tight end to say that they’d rather die through the air then try hopelessly to get the ground game going.
Including Brady, the Patriots had just 16 net yards rushing the ball. All of which means that Carr might have an extra burden on Sunday and might be asked to beat the Jets with his arm.
If he doesn’t have a Brady-like performance, then it could be a long afternoon for the Raiders.
“Yeah, every team is different in how they approach game planning,” Del Rio said. “I think the Patriots have shown over the years that they’ll do something like that. We’ll put a plan together and look forward to competing, ourselves come Sunday.”