A defensive game plan for the New York Jets against the New England Patriots.
Let me throw on my long sleeve white shirt, headset, sweater vest, and black New York Jets baseball cap for a few paragraphs...
The Jets need to recognize their defensive lineman and linebackers can't get after the quarterback. Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, and Shaun Ellis will play their normal reps because of their ability to stop the run, with Trevor Pryce subbing in on passing situations, even though he has collected all of one sack this season. David Harris is the Jets best defensive player not named Darrelle Revis and Calvin Pace is their top pass rusher, who is also a terrific all around athlete. Beyond that, the Jets should be extremely defensive back heavy with their personnel groups.
Using a somewhat similar game-plan to the Colts game, the Jets should spend the majority of the game with 6 to 7 defensive backs on the field. This means less Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, and Jason Taylor (who can't get anywhere near the quarterback) and more James Ihedigbo, Marquice Cole, Dwight Lowery, and Kyle Wilson.
When the Patriots have three receivers on the field and two tight ends, or two receivers, two tight ends, and Danny Woodhead, they basically have five receivers out there, so why not have five corners and safeties out there?
Rex Ryan must fight his urge to blitz frequently again. The Jets should drop six, seven, even eight guys into coverage and force New England to run the football to beat them. Make the Patriots put together 10, 12, 14 play drives to score points. Don't give up huge chunks of yardage because you are stubborn about blitzing and leave Drew Coleman one on one with Wes Welker.
You play to bend but not break. You concede yards but hope as New England is forced to put together such long drives, you get a tipped pass, or somebody coughs up a fumble. You tighten in the red-zone and force the Patriots to settle for field goals instead of score touchdowns. If New England is putting together long time consuming drives and so are you with your running game, guess what you will have? A one-possession game in the 4th quarter.
The Jets will have to pick their spots where to blitz. In their two games this year, the Jets have sacked Brady a total of four times, half of those have come from defensive backs. It isn't an impressive total but if they find the right time, a guy like Ihedigbo or Drew Coleman can get to Brady off the edge.
In coverage, Darrelle Revis should be moved around the formation similar to how receivers are moved around to avoid him. He will spend the bulk of the game on Wes Welker but don't be shy about flexing him out on Deion Branch or one of the Patriots tight ends. If he leaves Welker, the Jets should double team him.
With New England's two rookie tight ends, you can't double everybody so there is going to be times when they are one on one. If they are, why not have Antonio Cromartie or Revis getting that match-up a few times? If they aren't than Eric Smith and Brodney Pool will have to keep their level of play where it was at last week (except for Pool being out of place on Pierre Garcon's touchdown).
New England is going to get yards but make them work for their points. Some of that goes beyond the game-plan, the Jets must tackle in the open field (cough, cough Cromartie) and make plays when they are available. Brady doesn't give you much but he is human. More importantly the rest of New England's offense is certainly human, so take advantage if an offensive lineman slips up on his block or one of their rookie tight ends doesn't tuck the ball away.
The Patriots offense is a hellacious match-up for the Jets but that doesn't mean they can't scheme their way into a producitve enough showing to give themselves a shot for a win.