The Jets kickoff the regular season this Sunday when they host the Cowboys. It is an intriguing match-up for the Jets, against a Cowboys team that finished the year strong after a disastrous start to their campaign. Metro takes a look at three themes for this Sunday’s game:
1. Blitz Happy Jets
This is a match-up that the Jets’ defensive front is absolutely salivating over. The Jets were eighth best in the league last year in sacks and against a Dallas offensive line which features three new starters, it could be a long day for Tony Romo.
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“When you’re starting a new offensive line, no matter who you play, there are going to be some adjustments,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “But when you play a defense like ours that has been together, that does multiple things, there’s probably easier defenses to face than ours.”
With Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha returning as starters to the defensive line and first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson impressive at end, this unit could become a strength of the team and could get off to a great start Sunday night.
2. Spreading the Ball Around
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called the Jets offense “an all-star squad” and for good reason as there is All-Pro talent all over the field. But the big question mark is at wide receiver, especially after the Jets jettisoned the reliable Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards to sign Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason. Quarterback Mark Sanchez, who completed just 55 percent of his passes last season, understands that there are weapons at his disposal.
“You get playmakers like that, just get them the ball and be accurate with it,” Sanchez said. “Give them a chance to catch and run.”
But can the Jets keep everyone happy? Cotchery asked for his release this August because he wasn’t happy being the team’s third receiver and wanted to get more of the ball, so Sanchez must spread the passes around to keep this talented bunch smiling.
3. Playing for New York
Everything about the season opener will be heightened this time. Not only is this a chance to begin strong amidst Super Bowl expectations, the game will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. With Ground Zero just miles away from MetLife Stadium, the game means a lot for the New York area and the pre-game ceremonies marking the attack will only underscore that.
“I think it’ll definitely be emotional, to me and everybody that is there and probably people that are watching around the country. I would assume it’s going to be emotional for everybody,” Ryan said. “But in particular with this region, this area, when you talk about 2,753 people perishing in New York alone, I think it’s going to be very emotional for a lot of people.”
Expect the Jets to come out with lots of fire as they play for New York but they must watch against too much emotion.
Follow Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for Jets news all season long.