7-Things for

Jets: Part II.


Patriots Game


7-Things For Jets: Part II.

By Tom Mahoney

3. Interesting Contrast- The best part of this game will be contrasting the two rookies: Zach Wilson was the wacky unpredictable QB at BYU, with the magic arm. Mac was the underrated QB at Alabama, who only got playing time when the Starters got injured, and overcame the rest with smarts, fortitude, and winning. Finally going undefeated and becoming a Champion his senior season. Now, Wilson is struggling with the mental transition to the NFL. While Mac just keeps getting better and better, and looks more like a winner each week.

“They certainly had an impressive win against the Titans a couple weeks back. (Zach) Wilson hit a lot of big throws. They continue to run the ball well. It's a really good running team,” BB said. “He had a lot of big throws against Tennessee. He hit some of the outside throws like he did against us. Downfield throws against Tennessee. He's athletic. Gets out of the pocket every week. It's a challenge back there to contain.”
Both QBs are improving. Being a starting QB in the NFL might be the toughest thing to do in sports. Both guys are really in over their heads. Zach has the advantage physically; He has the better arm and is a better athlete. Meanwhile, Mac is ahead of him mentally, which is so much more important in the NFL. The mental burden put on QBs in the NFL has ruined a lot of young QBs. Mac has handled it so much better than Zack, but Wilson has clearly been making progress the past few weeks, making some good throws. Plus, Mac has twice as many wins as Zach (2 to 1;)
“It's a lot of little things. They haven't changed their offense or changed their defense. They're better at it,” BB Said. “They've got more experience doing it, and they're better at it. We're better together as a group in all three phases, playing good complementary football and having a better understanding of the scheme, what they're asked to do, and how they do it.”
Mac is really a cerebral QB, like Brady was: smart reads, efficient, keep getting 1st Downs. While Zack is the more instinctual QB, like Brett Favre. He runs around like a chicken with his head cut off, spots a WR deep downfield, and just slings it, like so very few could do. So it only makes sense that he would struggle more than Mac, mentally, as a rookie. The Jets are 1 and 4. There only winning coming against the said Titans, where he completed some wacky deep throws.

“I think Zach's a really good player," Mac said about Zach. "As rookie quarterbacks, it's what I told him after the game, we have to continue to get better. It's just part of the game. Our defense is really good. It's a tough defense to go against. I go against them in practice and probably throw a lot of picks, too.”
4. Pats Defense- The Pats Defense has been up and down. But when you’re a rookie QB, you really win with defense. The Pats Defense got a little beat-up last week against Dallas and their Veteran QB. They beat up on the Dallas Offense early and forced them into a lot of errors. But the veteran QB stepped it up at the end of the game, and showed how veteran QBs win games. It was a great learning experience for Mac to see. I don’t see Zach doing that this week.

“Our offense is 3rd Down Conversions, possessing the ball and moving the chains, and those give opportunities to run the ball more. The one game where we were able to do that was the New England game and we were able to get possessions," Jets HC Robert Saleh said. "We were able to move the football and we were able to run the ball pretty effectively against New England, but obviously we were turning the ball over at inopportune times. It comes with opportunity and I think once the structure's there, they're getting better at it, but it definitely is not showing. I'm not going to argue with you on that one, but we feel really good about our O-line and where it's at, and it's only going to get better.”
What happened last week, is not going to happen this week. Zach Wilson really has struggled on every level, except against the Titans for some reason. He is not ready for primetime, and the Patriots Defense is going to put a hurt on him. He has the magic arm and the homefield, but he hasn’t shown hardly any of the mental acumen that Mac has shown. He's just winging it and flinging it, like he got away with at BYU. Which is a long way from the NFL. He has to show a lot more mentally, then he showed at BYU, to be successful in the NFL.

“I think we all stand in lockstep with Joe [Douglas], in terms of we're going to be identified upfront. Our O-line has played very well here over the last few weeks and we anticipate them to continue to play well. Our D-line has been extremely effective. Very-very good playing with a lot of energy. A lot of just overpowering teams, overpowering their opponent," Jets HC Robert Saleh said. "I think it's starting to get established. I know it's hard to see right now, but I think in the trenches, we've been the better team with the exception of those first couple of weeks. But it's been coming along and I think our guys are starting to understand where we're going to make hay and where we're going to win football games.".”

5. Jets Defense- The Pats and the Jets are in amazingly similar situations. With rookies running their Offenses, they are both over reliant on the Defense. But even when the defense plays well, they have only been able to win one game, when their rookie QB played well in the 2nd half against the Titans. The Jets Offense scored 17-points in the 2nd Half and Overtime. Both Offenses have struggled with rookie QBs. The QB who plays the best will win the game.

“Defensively, they continue to play aggressively. One of the best red area teams in the league. They've done a good job of playing on a short field, which they've had to do a few times this year, but they've played really well there,” BB said. “All those guys are high-motor guys. (John Franklin) Myers has good power. Good speed on the edge. They do a good job pushing the pocket with their inside guys, so that makes it sometimes difficult for the quarterback to step up, which brings the outside guys into the rush. Quarterback can't move up in the pocket, and then that brings them closer to him. I'd say, again, good complementary rush their run game is up there. Those big guys inside do a good job penetrating, and that clears some space for the edge guys.”

The two teams are similar. They both have good veteran teams with terrific veteran Defense… and rookie QBs. Both defenses can put a hurt on an Offense. Both Veteran Defenses know they have to win the game, because their Offenses are not running on all cylinders, with rookies running the engine. And then pray that Wilson can hit a couple of wacky deep throws that 90 precent of QBs can’t make. Hope, he can put up some points with his wacky instincts while running around like a chicken with his head cut off.

“In our scheme, with the chaos we create up front, our guys are more run and hit, more lateral players," Saleh said. "We look at them, these young men, they're down safeties, which is basically linebackers. There's examples all over the league where guys didn't play behind the ball or it's just very hard to evaluate linebackers nowadays with how the college game has evolved.

The Jets have tried to overcome the rookie QB more with the running game. They want to turn this game into a physical attack on both side of the ball. Attack the Pats Defense with their physical run game, and hope the rookie QB doesn’t blow it up. They run-run-rub to get the Defense leaning forward. Then try to throw over the top with Wilson’s great arm. It’s a good strategy that should be more successful when they don’t have a rookie QB trying to execute it.

"What can we see from those guys? We can see their ability to read, diagnose the run, hit play coverage and understand the rough concepts infront of them. We feel like they would be able to translate to linebacker easily."

While the Patriots have more of a disciplined do your job defense. It is all about being in the right place at the right time. Keeping the Offense infront of you, let them make the mistake infront of you so the defenders can pounce. It’s a smart, disciplined veteran defense that will make the Rookie think a lot more than he has in other games. More than his coaches want him too. And thinking is not really his forte. Reading a disciplined Defense isn’t really his forte either.

6. Jets Offense- The Pats Defense has been up and down. When you have a rookie QB, you really win with defense. The D got a little beat-up last week against Dallas and their Veteran QB. The Jets Offense is not in the same stratosphere as the Cowboys Offense. Dak Prescott is a smart veteran QB, who won it in the clutch, like all good veterans QBs must do. I don’t see Zach Wilson doing that yet.

“They've got (Corey) Davis. They've got (Elijah) Moore. They've got (Keelan) Cole,” BB said. “Good backs. They've got (Tyler) Kroft. He (Zach Wilson) has got a bunch of guys. It's always good to have them open."

The Pats played more of a contain defense last week. Keeping the QB in the pocket. What they did last week is the perfect came play for Wilson. He’s at his best when he can flee the pocket, get outside, and whip the ball 40-50 yards downfield. He’s not as good a thrower in the pocket. He does not run a controlled balanced offense. He wants to escape the pocket. So he can read the coverage better, and make a wacky throw with his wacky arm. The Pats D will do everything they can to keep him contained in the pocket.

“When offenses can generate an explosive play in a drive, their percentages of scoring are astronomical,” Jets HC Saleh said. “It’s almost guaranteed that they’re going to get three points. Two explosives in a drive, you might as well just put seven on the board and kick the ball off. So, the objective is to make them go earn it.”

It sounds like the Pats and Jets have the same strategy, but have opposite tactics to affect the QB. Play tough smart Defense, and try to take advantage of the Rookie QBs mistakes. The Pats want to keep Zach Wilson in the Pocket and force him to read and throw from a stationary position. While Saleh wants to pressure and move Mac Jones out of the pocket and throw on the run.

“He’s way better than I wanted him to be,” Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich said about Mac. “You anticipate seeing a young, inexperienced quarterback making young, inexperienced quarterback-type of decisions. Didn’t see a whole lot of that. Part of that was, I think he’s got some real skill, poise. Obviously comes from a school where they get NFL-caliber coaching. So he’s probably as NFL ready as you can find from a quarterback position.”

Mac is a pocket passer, and Wilson is best escaping the pocket. So he can see his receivers better and is much better throwing on the move. Whichever Defense is best using their opposite tactics will win this game. If Mac can stay in the pocket and throw in rhythm, Pats win. If Wilson can escape the pocket and make big throws downfield, it will be tough for the Pats to match those points.

7. Jets Defense- The Pats win. Mac is just more advanced. Both teams have the Vets on both sides of the ball, and the Jets have home field, which will hurt rookie QBs a lot more. But Mac has progressed so much more mentally, and in making plays that lead to wins that he pulls the game out in the end.

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