As some of you know, I happen to live in the great state of New York. The endless Jets and Giants coverage is something I have become accustomed to. The advantage of this endless coverage provides me with possibly better insight to these teams than some of you who reside all over the country.
This week we take on the New York Jets, a team that has been in the AFC Championship game the last two years. This is a real test for our new look Cowboys. Jason Garrett has been planning and working for this game since he was hired as head coach this off-season. Rob Ryan will be taking on his brother and that will be the cream of the media coverage this week.
The Jets are a simple team to breakdown in my opinion. They love running the football, old school smash mouth football style. They use the run to setup playaction and other big plays down the field. Santonio Holmes is one of the best playmakers in the NFL. Newly acquired wide receiver Plaxico Burress will be the guy who could give our smaller corners some trouble. Their defense is exotic and similar to ours, except that the Jets have true lock down cornerbacks on the outside. They lack a true pass rusher like we have in DeMarcus Ware. The Jets did add disruptive defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson in the first round and big boy Kenrick Ellis.
What the Cowboys have to do is simple. I will outline what we need to do in order to win this football game. I warn that this is my opinion and how I feel, so don't get too upset about some of the things I may say.
- Play smart football and limit mistakes.
- Take the crowd out of the game. A 9/11 home game for the Jets will be extremely loud. Have Dez Bryant shut this crowd up with a big play, he did it last year against the Giants on the opening drive and the crowd was never the same.
- Run the football early on to setup potential playaction fakes later in the game. The Jets safeties are suspect in my opinion.
- Run the football with success. Employ all four of our running backs, keep our guys fresh for a change of pace.
- Use DeMarco Murray in space, get him the ball in the flats.
- Tony Romo needs to be careful against Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, they will make you pay.
- Attack with Dez Bryant and Miles Austin with short routes that get them the ball in space, allowing them to break tackles.
- Jason Witten, use him early on.
- Jason Witten, use him again and again.
- Jason Witten, he has a clear mismatch on whoever covers him, but be careful of David Harris, he will make plays on the football.
- Use screens in the pass game and run game to offset the Jets heavy blitzes.
- Use Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray all over the field, create mismatches.
- Tyron Smith vs Mike Devito, clearly a mismatch in our favor, exploit that mismatch.
- No reverses to Kevin Ogletree, they don't work. If you want to run a reverse, run it to Miles Austin.
- The Jets will be aggressive against our young offensive line and we will see exotic blitzes in attempt to confuse the young offensive lineman. Make the Jets pay for bringing the house.
- Pound the football on the right side of our offensive line, Tyron Smith and Kyle Kosier have a clear advantage over the Jets personnel on that side.
- Once again, play smart football. We cannot afford stupid penalties and drive killing mistakes against this defense. Whenever we get into the redzone, we need to put points on the board.
- Play smart football and limit mistakes.
- Do your best in not allowing big plays down the field. I understand with Rob Ryan's defense there are times where the secondary will allow a big play. The key is to limit these big plays. If Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress have big games, it won't be a good sign for us.
- Attack Mark Sanchez. He folds under pressure and will make mistakes. Hit him early on in this game and the easier it will be to win this football game on the road.
- Take the crowd out of the game. It's a 9/11 game, so expect the Jets crowd to be riled up and really loud. A turnover will shut them right up.
- Attack the right side of their line.
- We need to shut down Shonn Greene and the Jets running game. Their run game is key to their success in many football games they play. Our front seven needs to do a better job stopping the run from what we saw this preseason.
- Shonn Greene is a fumbler, try to rip the ball out, but make sure you make the tackle if you can't pry the ball loose.
- Give Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman help. If both of those guys play, they will be rusty. Give them safety help over the top to limit big plays.
- Watch out for Dustin Keller, people underestimate his game but Mark Sanchez will force the ball to him, it is his go to guy, like our Jason Witten. If the linebackers or safeties can make a jump on his route, it will be a pick six.
- Do not let Santonio Holmes abuse us. Good wide receivers had a field day against us last year and if we want to win this game, we cannot afford to have Holmes running around free. Press him, zone him or double him, I don't care, just shut him down.
- Sanchez will force the ball to Burress, he did it this preseason and it's a tendency I have noticed. He tends to force the ball to Burress to get him going early on. If we jump that route, it could be another pick six.
- Sean Lee could be a huge factor this game if he brings his A game. Anthony Spencer could have a field day if he brings his A game. DeMarcus Ware could have a huge day if he outwits D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
- Jay Ratliff needs to be the 2009 Jay Ratliff. If Ratliff owns his man, it could be a long night for the Jets offense.
- Keep Bradie James off the field on 3rd downs, bring in Barry Church or Danny McCray and let them play the rover/hybrid nickel role. James is a liability in coverage.
- Orlando Scandrick and every Cowboys cornerback needs to TURN AROUND for the football. The coverage is usually pretty good, they just don't look back for the football. If you look back for the football, your going to pick off Sanchez.
- Don't get beat on play fakes, Sanchez is pretty good at doing that.
- Sanchez is mobile, so don't forget about the possibility of him running.
- Don't sleep on Jeremy Kerley, the kid is a burner.
- Stop 3rd down conversions, if we can get the Jets off the field consistently, we will win this game.
- Sacks and Pressure
- Sacks and Consistent Pressure
- We need to cause some turnovers this game, we didn't do it enough last year to win games. We need consistent pressure on Mark Sanchez, we didn't do it enough last year to win games. If we can win the turnover battle and have a lot of sacks, we win this game easily.
This will be a hard football game and I haven't been so nervous for a game in a long time. Part of that is we were out of contention early last year. I really want to win this game in the worst way possible. I believe losing on the road last year played a part in our mental makeup last year. If we can win a tough football game on the road in some really hard circumstances, against a top tier football team, it will give us great confidence going forward into the season.
The Jets are a really good football team all around. They are coached great and have some great skill players on both sides of the football. Darrelle Revis is pound for pound one of the best football players in the NFL. David Harris is one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Santonio Holmes is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold are some of the best offensive lineman in the NFL. This is a very hard task for our season opener.
But the Jets have flaws, not every team is perfect. They have suspect safeties and average defensive lineman. Some of their offensive line is new and untested. Their quarterback is known to be horribly inaccurate and will make bad mistakes. If we can capitalize on their mistakes and keep our mistakes to a minimum, we can win this football game.
Plaxico Burress has given us real trouble in the past and I sure hope he doesn't this Sunday. Good running teams have given us trouble recently as well. I want to see a great gameplan from Rob Ryan and Jason Garrett this weekend. I want to see a well coached football team and a team that plays smart football. At the end of the day I want a win, I want this win BADLY. If we lose a tough football game and played well, than I cannot be mad. If we lose this game because of mistakes and errors, I will be pissed off.
Let us start this season off great by winning on the road against a good team. If we can win this game, than I think the sky is the limit for the season. Confidence builders do exist and winning this game will be a huge boost in confidence for the whole team, players and coaches. This Sunday let us leave everything out on the field, give 120 percent and come home with a win.