Saturday, December 20, 2008

Conversatin' with the Enemy

by: Chris Sullivan

Alright, well, maybe not quite the enemy, but Brian Bassett over at the excellent and aptly titled "The Jets Blog" shot me an email asking if we could do a little blog exchange for the upcoming matchup pitting Holmy versus Brett "The Protege" Favre, and since I'm posting about this you already know what my answer was. I asked Brian five questions, and he did the same for me, my half of which you can find below. You can check out Brian's post right here, if you're curious about who I said the Hawks' surprise player was and the keys to Seneca's success, amongst other things.

SA: The Jets were near the top of the NFL for Pro Bowl players this year and are leading a charge towards winning the AFC East. What is the biggest change from 2007 to 2008?

TJB: Everyone knows about Favre, but the line play has been worlds better. The Jets had some of the pieces . . . like Shaun Ellis (7 sacks) already, but needed just a few players like LG Alan Faneca and DT Kris Jenkins to, ahem, tip the balance.

SA: The Seahawks have the most inexperienced offensive line in football right now (no week one starters); who on the Jets Defensive Line should we be afraid of?

TJB: Kris Jenkins. You might be familiar with the big guy from his Carolina days, but in the 3-4 his role is different. He will still gash towards the ballcarrier at times, but he also plays more the read-react style that's key to a nose tackle. Jenkins has experienced a boost to his career in New York this year. Beyond Jenkins, Ellis is a solid end and Seahawks fans' old friend from Arizona OLB Calvin Pace (7 sacks, 4 FF, 4FR) will see a lot of action against the Seahawks offensive line Sunday.

SA: What Jet player will Seahawk fans not be familiar with today, but will be cursing come Monday morning?

TJB: Dustin Keller. The rookie TE is more of the Dallas Clark split out type than a traditional tight end. Although the rookie has had some mental lapses, he's become Favre's third favorite target behind Coles and Cotchery. Keller is big enough to overpower defensive backs, but fast enough to embarass linebackers in coverage. He won't have many huge gains, but he's a great chain mover for the team this year.

SA: What is the Jets' ideal scenario for the playoffs? What would you put their odds at for getting to the big game?

TJB: The Jets need to win out to make the playoffs. Of the teams they play, I'd most like to see them get Baltimore (even though they have a great D) in the first round or Denver (who the Jets played a stinker against, but I think could take). To make it to Tampa, the Jets need to get their whole defense back on track and for Favre to limit his interceptions without constantly throwing checkdown passes.

SA: With Brett Favre endlessly contemplating retirement, what is the Jets' backup plan at quarterback for 2009 and beyond?

TJB: Kellen Clemens (an Oregon native) is the current backup for the Jets and might be the favorite to take over the job, but Clemens--like most young QBs--struggled in his starting for half of the 2007 season. Brett Ratliff, the team's third QB showed promise this summer in the preseason. I think that there would be a healthy competition should Favre give up the game. ~END~