The week of the Patriots game Rex Ryan made an impassioned plea for Jet fans to show up and be loud as, he would say, ‘heck.’ The fans showed up that day and came through for Ryan and the Jets, but this week Ryan offered no such plea.
Apparently he didn’t need to, because the fans showed up charged with energy and made sure the Saints offense heard them.
“They were huge. That was the loudest I’ve heard them since I’ve been here.” Willie Colon said, “Jets Nation stood behind us. They’re big for our defense and they’re big for opponents that come into our house. They were big today.”
There have been all types of complaints about the new MetLife Stadium and really all new stadiums around the league. The stadiums have more of a corporate feel, poorly designed acoustics that don’t generate enough crowd noise to disrupt opposing offenses and too many luxuries and distractions.
All of these things combined with higher ticket sales have taken a big part of the home-field advantage away for many teams around the league.
But as we’ve learned in these past two home games against the Patriots and Saints, structural design flaws can be overcome by passionate, rowdy and borderline obnoxious fans if the team gives them a reason to be loud and give them reasons they have.
It started in the first-half, with delay of game penalties and Drew Brees having to burn all three of their first-half timeouts in the first quarter. All week long the Jets defenders were asked about defending against Brees’ pre-snap reads and to a man they all said the same thing, “we can’t worry about what they are doing, we have to be the one’s to dictate what they do. So, they have to react to us.”
And that’s exactly what they did with all their disguised coverages and the fact that the Jets played more zone coverage than we’re used to seeing probably threw Brees for a loop after the snap.
People tend to think of defenses only reacting to offenses, but what makes a great defense is the ability to dictate the action and make the offense react to them. Last week the Jets let the Bengals dictate the action early and they never recovered and the Jets were determined not to let that happen again.
Sure, the Saints completed a bunch of easy short out-routes and screens, but that was the Jets plan. The defense gave up two big plays to Jimmy Graham, but that’s Jimmy Graham, even on one foot he’s still the toughest matchup in football and Cromartie also gave up a big play to Robert Meachem, but he slipped (or was pushed according to him) and Meachem was able to run free. Otherwise the Jets defense was in bend but don’t break mode until it was time to turn it on and attack.
“Yeah, I think a big thing too is, the way they do their personnel groupings and all that, I never wanted him (Brees) to dictate what we did.” Ryan said, “That’s kind of how we played the game.
They confused Brees early and as the game went on the defensive front continued to dominate the Saints offensive line, especially up the middle, knocking Brees off his spot and not allowing them to get into a rhythm all while the stadium was jumping. The interceptions, sacks and pressures energized the fans, but don’t sell yourself short fans, you paid that energy right back to the defense.
“Oh, most definitely. That and the fans.” Sheldon Richardson said, “The fans helped us out a lot with that, he couldn’t get his checks to his offensive line, didn’t know who to get, they were looking back at each other trying to see what was going on and had to burn the timeouts. So, shout-out to the fans.”
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