Once again, it's time for our weekly Q&A session with a blogger who covers the Patriots' upcoming opponent. Up this week is Jon Presser from Jets Report. Here's what Jon had to say about the Jets and Pats leading up to Sunday's game.
1. Under Rex Ryan, the Jets have been known for being a ground and pound team. Lately, they have been ground and pounded. What is wrong with the Jets' running game?
The offensive line is in shambles. Under offensive line coach Bill Callahan, the Jets had the top-ranked offensive line in 2009 and 2010, and it showed in their punishing ground-and-pound running attack and deep strikes down the field to their wide receivers.
This season, the Jets are really feeling the loss of right tackle Damien Woody to retirement, as well as the injury to All-Pro Nick Mangold. Not only that, but right guard Brandon Moore is not 100% recovered from offseason hip surgery, and their top backup lineman Rob Turner is out for the season with a broken leg.
With undrafted rookie Colin Baxter playing the majority of the season at center, the entire offensive line has been out of sync other than D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who has quietly emerged as one of the best left tackles in football.
Mangold, who also makes the protection calls at the line of scrimmage, is dealing with a high ankle sprain and will try to play this weekend. Even him at 80% health is a major upgrade and should eliminate a lot of the confusion as far as the protection issues that the Jets suffered from dearly in the Baltimore game.
2. Mark Sanchez has been throwing the ball a lot this season. Can the Jets go to the Super Bowl with Sanchez throwing the ball 40 times a game?
Honestly, I don't think it's a huge concern. It goes back to the offensive line. They won't win if Sanchez has to get rid of the football quickly every snap, but they won't win the Super Bowl with him throwing 15 passes a game either. They need to strike a good balance that is predicated on running the football more effectively and giving Sanchez time to survey the field and find the open man.
Sanchez's best games in his young career (he's still just 24 years old) have been in the postseason, especially his performances against the Patriots and Steelers last January. I'm far more concerned with the playcalling of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer than the play of Mark Sanchez. But if he's getting pressured on nearly every down like he did against the Ravens, the offense will be in trouble. He struggles under pressure, and he is a completely different quarterback when he's got a clean pocket, as many QB's are.