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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's a matchup to watch in Sunday's Jets-Browns game:
Jets head coach Rex Ryan vs. Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
Oh, what fun it will be to watch the brothers Ryan try to outsmart the other. For fans of creative defense, this is appointment viewing.
You may not even really need to like football to enjoy this. Do you like poker? Do you enjoy trying to read your opponent, countering and getting all of your chips into the middle at the optimal time?
Well, here we go. Jets-Browns could have that feel.
The conditions are ripe for both defensive bosses to take some chances, unveil some exotic looks. Jets QB Mark Sanchez has thrown 27 interceptions in 26 career starts, including playoffs. Browns rookie QB Colt McCoy is making just his fourth start. Moreover, both teams lean heavily on the running game, meaning both teams are likely to stack the line of scrimmage and dare the other team to throw. If this works on early downs and each team faces an afternoon of 3rd-and-longs, look out.
The Jets have the more stout and disruptive defense. Opponents are completing less than 50 percent of their passes against New York, which has notched 17 sacks. The Jets usually will rush at least four and aren't afraid to blitz a safety (keep an eye on how they deploy ex-Brown Brodney Pool) because CBs Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie are so good.
The Browns' defense has had its moments, too, never more than in the ballyhooed upset of the Saints in Week Seven, when Cleveland mixed its coverages well and also got a good deal of pressure on QB Drew Brees. Rob Ryan has been known to dial up a max-pressure blitz on occasion, though that approach has backfired several times this season on plays resulting in touchdowns.
Whatever the Ryans and their defenses do Sunday, it will be fascinating to watch unfold. Here we have two defensive masterminds who don't lack for creativity and know each other better than anyone else. Get your DVRs ready.