1. Are the Jets really as close to benching Geno Smith as the national media is trying to make it sound? And do you support that decision?
Scott Salmon:S I don't believe so. The team really doesn't seem interested in putting Vick in, despite Smith's struggles. I think a lot of that has to do with them wanting to know for sure what they have with Smith, so they aren't in quarterback purgatory. It seems to me that they will only bench Smith if he's (1) injured, or (2) has one of the 3+ interception games he had last season. That's possible, but it doesn't seem likely.
David Wyatt: I really don't think so. We can't deny that he's not performing to his potential, and he's turning the ball over way too much. He is making too many poor decisions and bad mistakes and his confidence is taking a hit. I don't think we're close to benching him because we have a long-term plan, putting Vick in will give us a slightly better chance of winning right now but could have disastrous consequences going forward. Geno's progress is extremely slow, but he is moving forward. Would I rather go 8-8 with Vick or 4-12 with Geno? Definitely with Geno because that gives him more chance to improve and gain valuable reps. Unfortunately we're in a re-building phase at the moment and we're in the early stages of that, nobody loves that stage of a project but if it ends with us being consistent contenders, then I'm willing to miss the play-offs again. That's just me though and a lot of Jets fans feel very differently.
2. Is there a reason Chris Johnson is still getting so much playing time when you guys have Chris Ivory?
Scott: Johnson's use is definitely on the decline. He started off strong in the first game, but he's struggled since then. As a result, they've been limiting his carries and have fed Ivory the ball more. The problem they face with featuring Ivory as a three-down back is mostly his injury history. If they keep him on the field, it's basically guaranteed that he'll get injured.
David: Through the first three weeks, the split was basically 50/50. However against the Lions, Ivory's time increased and Johnson's decreased so hopefully we see more of the same. Unfortunately, it looks as though Johnson is at the end of his career as a featured back. However, there is one big problem with Ivory and that's the fact his hands are terrible and his blocking still needs work. Last week he dropped a couple of very easy completions and whiffed on a block that saw Geno take a hard hit. However, we also have Bilal Powell, who's a lot better than many people think. He's got better hands and he's not a bad blocker. So I'd like to see more of Ivory on 1st and 2nd down and then a lot more of Powell on 3rd down, with Johnson mixed in. Johnson still has great speed, he just needs you to open a hole for him as he won't be making many people miss with his cuts.
3. The Jets have an incredible defensive front seven but are still struggling against the pass. What's wrong with the secondary?
Scott: During training camp, the three top cornerbacks on the team went down. Dee Milliner had a high ankle sprain, Dimitri Patterson had a few injuries, went AWOL, and then was cut, and Dexter McDougle tore his ACL. It's nearly impossible for any team to succeed when that kind of situation happens, and eventually the team was forced to convert linebacker-turned-safety Antonio Allen to cornerback, where he's done an admirable job. Milliner is now healthy and back, and although Philip River is a heck of a first matchup back, the secondary should be in a better position than they were last week.
David: We just didn't address this glaring need. We've been spoiled because we've had one of Revis or Cromartie for numerous years and at one point we had both. However, now we have a converted safety starting at the #1 cornerback spot and a UDFA starting at the #2 cornerback spot. Our first round pick from last year Dee Milliner is constantly battling injuries and when he does get on, he never looks fit. Our 3rd round pick this year McDougle had a season ending injury early in camp, so he's done. The one corner we did sign, which was Dimitri Patterson went MIA and then got cut. It really is a shambles, but it looks as though we'll be riding with this group for the rest of the season. Allen is doing a great job with all things considered and Walls can be decent. However, if you target them deep, that's where the problems start. Throwing short to intermediate against them may lead to completions, but usually, the yards are restricted. Test them deep and it's likely you'll have some big plays.
4. If the Jets come into San Diego and win on Sunday, who will be most responsible for their success?
Scott: The obvious answer is Geno Smith, just like he will probably the most responsible if they fail. I'll give you one other, less obvious, answer. Greg Salas will seemingly be starting for the injured wide receiver David Nelson. Salas currently leads the league in yards after catch, but his receptions have come sparingly. If he can come down with a few extra catches, he's a very dangerous wide receiver in the open field.
David: It has to be a combination of Geno Smith and the offensive line. I've seen Geno make some outstanding throws, which make you think he could be something special. However, he then throws a horrible interception that makes you just cringe. However, he's a lot better when he has time to throw, which quarterback isn't. So if the offensive line can keep him relatively clean then I think he'll be able to find some success throwing through the air. If the pass rush can consistently get to him then I expect the mistakes to start. I'm actually pleased we're in San Diego. The fans are starting to get restless and starting to get on Geno's back. So if he makes a mistake, it's more likely he'll be able to shrug it off on the road.
5. Eric Decker has been dealing with a nagging injury. Do you expect he'll be ready to go on Sunday?
Scott: At the beginning of this week, I would have said definitely. However, his hamstring tightened up again a few days ago, so now it's genuinely a game-time decision. My guess is he'll do what he did a few weeks ago, and play until he re-injures it or it tightens up. That may be a quarter, it may be a half, who knows. If he doesn't play, it's hard to see the Jets succeeding on Sunday.
David: Decker played the majority of the game against the Lions, I think he was in on around 80% of the offensive snaps. He's been in and out of the trainer's room this week and he said it'll be a game-time decision. We don't want it to linger, but he said it feels 100% healthier than it did and it's a case of strengthening a lot of the muscles around the hamstring. I think he'll play but if he wants to ensure his fitness for the rest of the year and sits this one out, I wouldn't hate that.