One of the many aspects of Monday night's game between Miami and New York that I love is that it will measure toughness. It will measure guts. It will measure which team steps up and which backs down.
That is what you see when two bulls lock horns. That is what you will see between the Dolphins and Jets.
“Something is going to have to give," Miami coach Tony Sparano said. "They are outstanding against the run, so are we on defense, and both teams like to run the ball, so something is going to happen out there.
"It is probably not going to be for the meek on either side of the ball. It is true. ... You got two teams that like to run the football and I think run it well. Those guys certainly run it well and those are not finesse runs they are dialing up, either. They are powerful runs, they are power runs. They are a lot like us that way and two good defenses so there will be a lot of bumping out there.”
The Jets consider themselves bad boys when it comes to toughness and stopping the run and dominating the line of scrimmage. Coach Rex Ryan has said that opponents will only run against his team when the Jets let them -- meaning when the Jets are either playing poorly or commit to much to stopping the pass.
Well, that happened last week against New Orleans. The Saints rushed for 153 yards and averaged 4.8 yards per rush.
“Miami’s the number one rushing offense in football and they’ve earned that, that’s for sure, they get after it pretty good," Ryan said. "You have to give New Orleans credit, they were able to move the ball on us. I think they were the better team that day. We don’t like it, and we’ve got to try to get ready to match up against a more physical team, probably the most physical team we’ve faced all year. We’re very excited about the challenge, we think we’ll be the most physical team that they’ve faced all year, so this is going to be one of those classic football games.”
“I would say he is right," Sparano said. "They are a physical team. I have a lot of respect for the other teams that we just played, but that is the way it is anytime we play the Jets, regardless -- it has been physical. They are a big, strong, physical team. So are we. I think that it will definitely be a physical game.”
Here is an interesting fact: I was told on Tuesday that despite their reputation for blitzing and applying pressure to the quarterback, the Jets intended to stop the Dolphins' running game as their priority and make Chad Henne beat them, if he can.
They figure their defensive backs match up very well versus Miami's receivers and can limit any damage Henne and those receivers can do. So the Jets, I was told, would go all out to stop the Dolphins from running the ball effectively.
In essense, the New York game plan, is to take away what the Dolphins do best -- run the ball -- and make Miami do that which it hasn't proven capable of doing, which is to win by passing.
Moreover, the Jets think they can have success in stopping the Dolphins' running game because the Dolphins run well "against a certain type of defense," suggesting the 4-3, that New York doesn't use and has no intention of shifting into.
I passed that information along to someone in the Dolphins organization and he laughed at me, told me, I'm wrong, that Ryan will try to blitz the heck out of Henne, and that's how they're going to attack the Miami offense.
Well, I asked Ryan what his priority is.
“Well, we better stop the run first if we’re playing Miami, that’s the number one priority without question," he said as if he had nothing to hide. "Then we’ll think about blitzing the quarterback or whatever second. We’ve got to stop the run if we’re going to be successful.”
I kind of threw that back in the face of the Dolphins person after Ryan said it. Know what?
The Miami employee said Ryan is obviously lying to throw Miami off the scent of his game plan.
I totally disagree.
So what do you think?
Do you think the Jets will be going all out to stop Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, or putting most of their efforts into confusing and blitzing Henne as their primary goal?