Florham Park, N.J.– The Jets will travel to Denver on Friday night to give themselves an extra day to get acclimated to the Denver time change and altitude.
It’s hardly a secret to football fans that Denver has one of the most unique home field advantages in all of sports, it’s such an advantage that it’s a part of their stadium’s name. Mile High Stadium, of course because of the influx of corporate sponsors now it’s called Invesco Field at Mile High, but the fact that they kept the Mile High speaks volumes.
Switching into Captain Obvious mode, Denver is called the ‘Mile High City,’ because the city is located at an elevation of a mile above sea level, which means the air is thinner in Denver. Thinner air makes it harder to breathe when doing strenuous physical activity over a long period of time, a football game would be a perfect example of said physical activity.
The advantage is clearly in the Broncos favor because they practice in that altitude everyday so they are used to it, but adjusting to the altitude is something that comes over time and is not really something opposing teams can do anything about to prepare themselves in such a short period of time.
So what’s the key to trying to solve the altitude challenges? Staying hydrated and getting plenty of sleep.
“Guys have already talked about getting your sleep because of the flight, the time change (and) the altitude. (It’s) more important than ever. Hydrate all week and really be smart and put the team first. We’ll do that in our preparation in the facility (and) outside the facility and we’ll be ready to go.” Said Sanchez.
“The advice I gave to the team today was to make sure that we are hydrated. A lot of teams make the mistake of showing up and treating it just like another opponent. They will go a night before the game where we are going to go Friday night. We are treating it like we did last year when we went to the West Coast. We are flying out another day early.” Rex Ryan said, “We’ll be there Friday night. We’ll stay on East Coast time. We won’t worry about it being Mountain time. We’ll (keep) everything on East Coast time and we’ll make sure we are hydrated and we are taking care of our bodies and getting rest and all of the things that you normally would do.”
Of course the altitude isn’t the only thing the Jets have to worry about in order to win this game. The Broncos are an interesting team because traditionally they have always been a heavy running team (well by traditionally I mean since the latter part of John Elway’s career), but this year they have had all their success through the air.
While Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has to be happy with the success they are having through the air, this was not his plan and he is far from pleased with being a one dimensional team.
“It’s certainly not what we wanted. I think we’ve really had to be one-dimensional in some instances and then in other instances we just haven’t been able to get our running game on track for whatever reason.” McDaniels said, ” We’re happy that we’ve been able to pick up some of the slack in the passing game, but certainly that’s not a formula to play the entire season with. We’re striving to become more balanced and we’re working hard to do that during the course of the week.”
If he is hoping to change that this week he may be in for a disappointment as the Jets are only allowing a fourth-best 79 rushing yards a game and that includes playing against two of the best running backs in football in Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. If the Broncos want to win this game they will need to hope they can beat the Jets secondary.
The Jets secondary is beginning to play up to their capabilities, but they still aren’t consistently where they would like to be. The Jets played great defense for almost three whole quarters, but whether it was partly due to Revis being limited after re-injuring his hamstring or something else, the Jets defense let up and allowed Favre back in the game and that’s something they can’t allow to happen against the Broncos on Sunday.
Calvin Pace, who was back in individual drills today and is considered probable to play on Sunday, said the key to the defense controlling Orton is to get to him, what else would you expect the team’s best pass rusher to say? But he clearly isn’t wrong.
Pace said, “We’re preparing for a good Denver team, we know it’s going to be a situation where we’re going to have to be especially good obviously against the pass, against a team that’s second in the league in passing. So it’s going to be important for the front seven to be able to get to Kyle Orton and help the guys on the back end.”
On the offensive side of the ball the Jets will be facing the 21st ranked defense, ranking 18th in passing defense and 26th in rushing defense allowing an alarming 127.4 yards a game on the ground. Meanwhile the Jets possess the league’s number one ranked rushing attack as they are averaging 165.2 yards on the ground.
So it would be safe to assume the Jets will be giving their two running backs plenty of carries.
The Denver defense will be without three of it’s starters including safety Brian Dawkins, corner Andre’ Goodman and linebacker Robert Ayers. But there is still a matter of Sanchez having to deal with the future hall-of-fame corner Champ Bailey when the Jets do decide to pass.
“They have a couple of guys out and we’ll see who suits up. They are a tough group and they’re flying around on film. They’re ready to turn things around and get a win. What a better way than have the Jets come in and they’re looking to beat us, so we need to be ready to play. They’re a fast flow defense; aggressive.” Sanchez said, ” Champ Bailey is one of the best of all time at cornerback, so he’s one of those guys that you have to keep an eye on. Then, just a ton of playmakers, so it’s going to be a good challenge for us and our guys. We all have to get better from last week. It was a great win, but we need to score some touchdowns to beat this team.”
In the NFL games are usually decided by two things, match-ups and execution. The Jets sure seem to have the advantages in the match-ups with or without Revis, but the question is will they execute to their full potential and handle the Broncos and the altitude to head into their bye week at a comfortable 5-1?
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