Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards makes his return to Cleveland as the Jets visit the Browns. It has apparently been a big story this week that Braylon Edwards expects to hear only boos from the Cleveland crowd on Sunday. I am not sure why this would be newsworthy. It is obvious that he will get booed and more. This story is almost as significant as Tom Brady admitting that he hates the Jets.
On to the real story. The Cleveland Browns are coming off two big wins against the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots. Neither game looked close, as the Browns defense dominated in both games, and running back Peyton Hillis lighting up the scoreboard against the Pats. It is no question that the Jets will need to stop Peyton Hillis to keep them in this game, and that is no easy task. The Jets defense is 4th in rushing this season, and will need to be as good as their ranking to stop Hillis. Rookie quarterback Colt McCoy has played well in his three starts this season, but he has not played a pass defense like the Jets have. Head coach Eric Mangini has not announced if McCoy will be starting though. Seneca Wallace, now practicing after being injured for three games, may be the surprise start on Sunday. Either way, the Jets will need to stop a quarterback that can run as well as pass the ball.
The Jets looked great last week running the no-huddle offense toward the end of the game. There has been talk of increased use of the no-huddle offense for Sunday’s game. I believe this is a good idea for this week because it can lessen the effectiveness of the “amoeba” defense that the Browns run occasionally. The amoeba defense consists of at least five defensive players in the box with one or fewer down linemen. This creates confusion for the quarterback in assigning protection and makes the defense more versatile in pass-coverage schemes. A hurry up offense will prevent the Browns from running these plays because they will not have time to set it up and execute it. Looking forward though, the increased use of the no-huddle offense does not seem like the best idea for the Jets. The idea of a ground and pound offense is to keep the clock moving and take off chunks of time on each drive. A no-huddle offense will do the opposite of this and will shorten the amount of time the Jets offense will take up on each drive. This also prevents the defense from getting as much rest as it may need. If they can pull off the no-huddle well, expect big plays to come from Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, and Braylon Edwards. I can guarantee that Edwards will be thrown the deep ball a few times this weekend, and Sanchez has shown the ability to hit him in stride. If the Jets can come out strong this weekend with the no-huddle and score some points early, they can transition to the ground and pound to hold the lead and win the game. If the Jets fail to score early, this game will come down to the wire like last week’s game in Detroit.
The Jets’ defense will have a tough time getting to the quarterback on Sunday. The Browns have only allowed 14 sacks this season, and the Jets already have a tough enough time getting sacks. The Browns’ offensive line looks better than it actually is because they have had mobile quarterbacks playing under center for most of the season. I would expect the Jets to play a QB Spy on occasion this Sunday to prevent either Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace from taking off running. I do not expect Darrelle Revis to stick with the Browns’ top receiver on Sunday, because they do not have a clear-cut number one receiver. I expect the Jets to keep Revis to one side on Sunday and Antonio Cromartie opposite of him. Chansi Stuckey is the Browns’ top receiver with 23 receptions, but he is listed as the third receiver on the Browns’ depth chart. I am not worried about Revis and Cromartie’s abilities to cover whoever they must cover. I am more concerned with the slot receiver because rookie Kyle Wilson is starting at nickel back this week. Wilson was benched after being ineffective and for being penalized multiple times after starting in the nickel. Since his benching, he has only played about 3 snaps per game, including punt returns. Hopefully he has worked hard in practice and will be able to cover whoever the Jets need him to.
Eric Mangini knows many of these Jets players and with the help of defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, will write up a game plan that can certainly stop a Jets offense that has not been impressive the last few games. If the Jets can come out with a fresh offensive game plan and get those early points, they will have a great advantage. If the Browns are able to execute their amoeba defense, Mark Sanchez will need to be smart and safe with his decisions. LaDainian Tomlinson will play a significant role in stopping that amoeba defense by picking up blitzes and making big blocks, which is one of his fortes. The Jets are 4-0 on the road this season, making them the last team to be undefeated on the road. Let’s hope they can keep this record perfect by ending the Browns’ impressive win streak and show why the Jets are the team to beat in the NFL this season.