Behind Enemy Lines: Five Questions for a Jets Blogger

We decided this week we would do something different. We got together with Jets Blogger, Brian Bassett of The Jets Blog, and asked him five questions about the Jets. And in turn he asked us some questions about the 49ers…

Q. Would the Jets be in first place without Farve?

A. That is a great question. I don’t think they would be alone at least … mostly because of the Thursday game in New England. Although he didn’t have the best statistical night, he played his best game as a Jet when it mattered most and the odds against them were the greatest. More than just his throwing ability, he’s brought a mentality change to this team. I mean, as much as it pains me to say in my best Frank Caliendo impersonating John Madden voice — Brett Favre is Brett Favre.

That said, I don’t know that Favre is the magic answer that wins the Jets a Championship. He’ll help, but he’s had a tough time in the playoffs for a few years now.

Q. Thoughts on Kellen Clemens and the future of the team.

A. Clemens didn’t really impress anyone at training camp this summer, which I think was at least partially the reason the team traded for Favre. I still think Clemens has potential, but I am very interested to see what happens with the Jets #3QB Brett Ratliff. Ratliff had a sensational preseason and training camp. Crazy as it might sound, he might be the eventual starter for this organization in a few years.

This team has the luxury of a number of excellent though aging players at a number of crucial positions … DT, DE, LG, RT.

With the exception of RG Brandon Moore, the Jets don’t have a great recent track record at developing players (undrafteds etc.) who can become eventual long-term starters on the lines. With players like Kris Jenkins, Alan Faneca and Damien Woody crossing 30, the Jets need to take a good hard look at who the can develop into eventual starters. This is something the Jets need to consider for their continued success in the future.

Q. Do you feel that all the high O-line draft picks paid off?

A. Four of the (LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, LG Alan Faneca, C Nick Mangold, RT Damien Woody) five starters on the O-Line were first rounders. Two of those (Ferguson & Mangold) were drafted in 2006 in Coach Eric Mangini and GM Mike Tannenbaum’s first season at the helm while the other two (Faneca & Woody) were brought in via free agency this past season.

Tackles are most often charged with allowing sacks. Last season, the Jets allowed over 22 sacks by the Tackles, this season the Jets are on pace for a little more than half that number. As far as rushing the ball, FootballOutsiders calculates that the Jets Offensive Line is significantly better at creating yards (Average Line Yards) on the ground this year (4th) as opposed to last (21st) year, with the exact same personnel (Thomas Jones and Leon Washington) actually running the ball.

I am a huge proponent of building a team from the inside out, and this has paid huge dividends for the Jets. Damien Woody was a big concern for me going into the season not having a lot of experience at tackle, but his play has been solid.

Q. Has D’Brickashaw Ferguson actually improved, or is it Favre getting rid of the ball more quickly/eluding the rush that has caused him to give up fewer sacks this year?

A. Actually I was so shocked to see a QB hold the ball for more than two seconds at the start of this season, I had grown so accustomed to Pennington’s quick release / slow delivery that it unnerved me. If anything Favre was taking his sweet time getting the ball away at the beginning of the season, but his release has gotten more prompt as he’s gotten more comfortable.

As far as Brick, I think he’s improved, he’s finally added weight and the fact that Alan Faneca is next to him doesn’t hurt. Faneca isn’t a premiere pass-blocker, but he’s a major upgrade, and his presence has helped Brick immensely.

Q. Are you as tired as I am about hearing the Jets being called the New York Bretts?

A. Abso-frikkin-lutely. It was clever the day after they traded for him, since then it’s a bit of a broken record. Maybe pundits don’t read anyone else’s work, so they think their the first to use it.

The Pundit of 49ersNews. I do what I can to supply the Niner fans with their fix.