Monday, October 12, 2009

Keys for the Game - Lito out, Cotchery in

The anticipation is killing me. With gametime less than two hours away, let's look at some of the keys to the game for each team.

Miami's keys
1. Don't turn the ball over! A home crowd at Monday night with perhaps the best running attack in football is a big advantage for them. They should be able to move the ball a little with Ronnie Brown, but the offense's margin for error is not nearly big enough to afford giving the Jets extra opportunities.

2. Get pressure on the quarterback. Mark Sanchez has experienced some growing pains under pressure, forcing some passes and not protecting the ball as well as he should. This has the potential to be a hostile crowd for Sanchez, but if he can sit comfortably in the pocket and not turn the ball over, the Jets should win the game.

3. Score early. The Dolphins want to run the football. If they fall behind early, they won't be able to do that, and the Jets will be able to tee off on Chad Henne. The Dolphins have neither the quarterback nor the weapons to beat the Jets' defense the way they are playing. They need to run the ball and maybe generate some big plays.

New York's keys
1. Show off the shiny new toy. Braylon Edwards is a New York Jet, and his presence needs to make at least somewhat of an immediate impact. He's going to be starting right away, and he's suddenly the best deep threat and red zone target the Jets have. If he can make a play or two early, running the football should become easier, and Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller's lives should be easier underneath.

2. Get penetration in the backfield. This is one of those games where Rex Ryan should unleash his pack of wild dogs on the opposing offense. The Jets will blitz early and often, whether it's to plug up holes that Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams could run through or to put pressure in Henne's face. If the green and white are consistently in the Dolphins backfield, then the Jets will probably win.

3. Don't turn the ball over!
This is obvious, but the reason the Jets lost last week was because of Mark Sanchez's turnovers. That can't happen again this week. He needs to prove that he is learning from his mistakes. Miami has a good front seven, but their secondary leaves something to be desired, and if Sanchez has time to throw, there should be receivers open. He just needs to hit them. And protect the ball with two hands.

By the way, Jerricho Cotchery WILL play tonight. He is active.

Lito Sheppard won't play. Neither will Donald Strickland, Jamaal Westerman, Ropati Pitoitua, Matthew Slauson, Kevin O'Connell, and Ahmad Carroll.

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