Sunday against the Patriots is the perfect time for the Jets to put on their big boy pants and get the ball rolling early and often this time around, if they can.
“I agree,” offensive tackle Duane Brown said, and he smiled.
The way the Jets offensive line forced its will on the solid Bills in the fourth quarter — eight straight carries for 73 yards — was eye-opening. Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur called for 33 points, for 172 yards, and had Zach Wilson throw 25 times as an error-free game manager backed by an elite defense.
This fueled an intimidating swagger among offensive linemen (and running backs Michael Carter and James Robinson).
feel free to put it on us
“Absolutely,” Brown said. “We know we have a really tough room, a physical room, and our backs [run] extremely difficult. And I think we have a lot of very different course designs that disrupt defenses. And against a team like that there’s a lot of different fronts, exotic fronts, I think being able to run the ball effectively and consistently takes away kind of a different look that you might have.
General manager Joe Douglas deserves credit for fortifying the offensive line after losses to Mekhi Becton, George Fant and Alijah Vera-Tucker, and adding James Robinson after Breece Hall lost for the season. The Jets believe they can run on anyone.
“Yes, and I think the coaches believe we can,” center Connor McGovern said. “I think that’s the identity of what Joe Douglas and the Johnsons have done to build this offseason. I’ve been thinking ever since [coach Robert] Saleh came here and LaFleur was the coordinator O they wanted to run the football.
LaFleur can’t coordinate an offense in which Wilson throws the ball again 41 times against Bill Belichick’s opportunistic defense while running just 15 times, until Wilson proves he’s ready to put the team on the line. back in his most desperate hour.
“I think it’s just a matter of running the ball more,” Carter said, “and it’s staying up front, it’s not playing from behind.”
The Patriots recorded nine sacks against the Sam Ehlinger Colts on Nov. 6, and running the ball against them would help prevent NFL sack leader Matthew Judon (11.5) from destroying the game.
“It starts for them,” Carter said, “but like I said, it starts for us too. It’s going to be a fun game.
Three yards and a cloud of dust may not be fashionable in today’s NFL, but there’s always a time and a place to demoralize power football.
Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins knows what a smashmouth offensive line can mean.
“It’s a state of mind, and it’s kind of how we’ve always talked about how we want to play ball – imposing our will on people in the trenches,” he said. “And when you can do that, especially for a defense like Buffalo, they’re as talented as any defense, they’ve got playmakers all over the field.
“It starts to come in colder games, and later in the season, and that’s when you really have to be able to do it. For us to be able to do it, now you know you can do it, now it’s about replicating that, and being able to do it week after week when the opportunity arises, and I have every confidence that we can do this.”
The week off helped Robinson acclimate to his new surroundings and new playbook.
“Very patient runner,” Carter said. “Has a good flurry. Faster than they think. Clever.”
The Jets are 18th in rushing yards per game (116), a skewed stat in the first three happy games behind Joe Flacco. The Patriots are 18th in rushing yards allowed per game.
“The attitude of this O line is definitely the best I’ve been in,” McGovern said.
Robinson carried 13 times for 48 yards with a receiving touchdown and was beaming at the memory of that depressing fourth quarter drive against the Bills in his second game as a Jet.
“It was really fun,” Robinson said. “It wears them out. It’s hard to stop when it starts. I can’t do much about it.
The Patriots stuffed Cleveland’s Nick Chubb (12 for 56) on Oct. 16, but the Jets went to school on Justin Fields and the Bears hacked them for 243 rushing yards in their 33-14 run. The Bears rushed 45 times in a day where Fields threw just 21 times and rushed 14 times for 82 yards and a touchdown. Wilson isn’t nearly that kind of threat, but he shouldn’t be shy about using his legs.
“For them to go and set up the rush yards that they had, that was pretty crazy to see on film,” McGovern said.
The Jets possessed the ball for just 24:26 against the Pats when Wilson threw those three interceptions, but 32:44 against the Bills when their offensive line took advantage of a clubbing party that Woody Hayes, Vince Lombardi and Bill Parcells would have savored.
“I trust them with my life,” Carter said.
Put it on their back.
New York Post