The fact that the Eagles face off against the Jets this Sunday provided me with a unique opportunity: To gain some intel on the team and learn how Jets fans view Sunday’s game against the Eagles from Aerys Sports’ resident Jets blogger, Kristine Reese, from The Green Room. Want to know what New York fans think about their team’s performance this season, the Eagles, and Sunday’s matchup? Read on, my friends.
What words would you use to describe the Eagles?
Having spent a lot of time in Philadelphia (all of my family lives in the area), I feel that I have a very accurate idea about who this team is and what they mean to this city.
The organization has always had a certain resiliency, heart and pride to it, which, in my observation, seems to be one of the reasons people have found this season particularly disappointing. But it is also the reason why they should continue to be feared. They don’t strike me as an organization that takes kindly to laying down and that is why they cannot be taken for granted.
In terms of the style of football, I would say speed and athleticism seem the most obvious.
What is your overall feeling of how the Jets have performed this season?
There were high expectations for the Jets this year given their back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship game (oh, and that whole Super Bowl declaration, too). That said, there was a lot of turnover on the roster and when you shift things around that much you cannot expect instant results, especially in a shortened off-season. I firmly believe we (fans and media alike) all underestimated what kind of an effect that would have on teams and how long the adjustment would take.
Additionally, the Jets went through several philosophical shifts, particularly on offense, and they seem to have settled in to a place where they are comfortable. For now.
No doubt there is definitely some major work that needs to be done in the off-season (and that is for another day) but they are beginning to resemble the team that we thought they would be. If they can close out the season strong and play as they have in the past 3 weeks I think they could make a nice run.
What is the one thing the Jets must do in order to win against Philadelphia, and secure a spot in the playoffs?
It’s nearly impossible for me to point to one thing, so I will try offering one on each side of the ball, starting with the offense, where they need to keep the rhythm going.
The Jets are definitely playing their best offense of the season, averaging 32.3 points per game in the last 3 games. They are currently ranked first in the league in red zone efficiency and have scored on touchdowns on their past 12 trips to the red zone.
Name of the game for the Jets offense has been a balanced attack, although many point to the running game first. Yes, they are obviously running the ball very well and I think you can safely expect that to continue. But we have started to see the backs incorporated into the screen game, which will be very important in this match-up given the Eagles heavy pass rush. Sanchez will take his shots and use his weapons, but I think they intend to control the ball and avoid mistakes. That may not translate to flashy or fancy but it is working.
This is not to discount the Eagles defense but with how the Jets have played offensively in the past few weeks, I do feel that they are capable of putting the points to stay in the game (barring any major mistakes) IF the defense can keep them in the game. That might sound crazy, as the Jets are typically applauded for the defense first. But as I previously stated, this Eagles team is a different kind of offense with unique challenges. Frankly, with the exception of the corners, I don’t think that the Jets style of defense matches up well against the Eagles offense.
Furthermore, the recent loss of Jim Leonhard further complicates matters, not only because he is a good player but because of what he offered as the “quarterback” of the defense. Jets have been a little weak at safety this year already so they are going to need to step it up. BIG time.
Mark Sanchez: Overrated, underrated, or just right?
I find it fascinating that people (fans of other teams, mostly) refer to Sanchez as overrated. From where I sit, I see more criticism than I think he deserves. I think there is room for improvement? Yes. Does he make mistakes? Yes/. But overrated? Absolutely not.
I could go off on a rather large tangent about this subject but for anyone truly interested, I encourage you to read my site, where my thoughts on Sanchez past, present and future are well-documented.
To put it simply, yes the completion percentage is not flashy but if that is the only thing you are looking at, I’m sorry for you.
Sanchez has (despite the media’s misinformed notion to the contrary) improved in nearly every statistical category, including the “all-important” TD-INT ratio. Furthermore, he has 26 touchdowns for the year. Only 5 QBS in the NFL have more total TDs this year. (Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Stafford and Newton). I bring these numbers up to dispel some of the ideas that people have about what he is doing and what he is or isn’t bringing to the table.
Again, there have been a few bad performances and we cannot discount them, but I do not believe that he is overrated.
Lastly, for a bit of fun: Which player do you like most on this Eagles team?
I also happen to know Trevor Laws because I went to high school with him. It’s a very long story but I have followed his career and I am very proud of him and his accomplishments. Every time he is on the field I cheer for him!
Thanks so much for your time and your comments, Kristine.
It’s striking how Kristine’s answer regarding all of the changes the Jets made in the offseason contributing to the team’s slow start sounds so similar to the Eagles’ experience. Except, unfortunately, the Jets found a way to have all of the changes click in enough of a chance to still have a real chance of making the playoffs. The Eagles…well, I don’t have to tell you.
Stay tuned for my response’s to Kristine’s questions for insights into the biggest threats to the Eagles come Sunday.
To see more of Kristine’s thoughts and insights on the Jets, be sure to visit her site, The Green Room.