Both teams fought against the odds against favored teams and now find themselves at 1-1 in a pivotal week three matchup.
Coming off a heartbreaking loss, the Jets can look to what their fellow AFC East rival Buffalo Bills did in their week one matchup against the Bears, running the ball 33 times for a total of 193 yards between C.J. Spiller (15 carries, 53 yards: long – 13 yards), Fred Jackson (7 carries, 61 yards: long – 38 yards) and Anthony Dixon (5 carries, 60 yards: long – 47 yards).
The health of both Eric Decker and Dee Milliner will be the key points of emphasis for Monday as the week progresses. Today, Decker was not wearing cleats and did not practice. He came out to practice but ended up more a bystander to the action, nursing his hamstring injury by sitting out positional drills for the second consecutive day. Decker did participate in the team stretch and worked in the rehab area during the 30-minute portion of practice that was open to the media.
Decker’s status for Monday night’s game against the Bears remains a mystery at this point. On Wednesday, Rex Ryan expressed cautious optimism that Decker would be able to play. The team still has practices on Friday and Saturday this week because of the Monday night game.
“He’s a veteran player obviously, but you’d like to see him test it a bit,” Ryan said. “I’m not going to say he has to practice on Saturday, but really for his own mentality and mindset you want him to say yeah I can do this, I feel fine.”
Milliner (ankle), after sitting out yesterday, returned to positional drills. Milliner, played 40 total snaps last week against the Packers and is expected to play on Monday.
“He looked okay… with that high ankle you know its never really looks 100 percent… but it was okay,” said Ryan.
When asked about Geno’s three turnovers in just two games into his second year at the helm as starter, Ryan emphasized patience and not to overreact to certain occurrences within the game.
“You never dismiss them, but sometimes those happen, but I think he’s done a good job of protecting the football overall,” Ryan said. “The thing I’ve been proud of is his presence in the pocket, the way he puts the ball on his front shoulder when he moves… Overall you wish you had one or two throws back but overall I’m happy with how he’s handled himself.”
The key for the second consecutive week will be the ability of the Jets secondary to match-up against a dynamic receiving corp duo in Brandon Marshall who caught three of four Jay Cutler touchdown passes in San Fransisco and Alshon Jeffrey (who Jet fans infamously remember being drafted after disappointing ex-Jet Stephen Hill in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft). This is after both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb shredded the Jets primarily in the second half of last week’s action to the tune of 14 receptions, 248 yards and three touchdowns.
“They came off a big win against the Niners, obviously Brandon Marshall is a beast. They look like a team ready to shake off the woes off last year and are on the rise,” said Guard Willie Colon.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler talked to the media on a conference call Thursday afternoon and here are some highlights of his thoughts on going up against the Jets on Monday night:
On what Santonio Holmes has brought to the Bears roster – “After Alshon and B (Marshall) we’re pretty young in that deparment, so just to get an experienced guy that’s been in big games and knows how to run routes its helped out a lot.”
On Martellus Bennett’s Added dimension to the offense — “He’s really been the best of both worlds, being a tough cover for linebackers and safeties while being able to stay in and block defensive ends.” “He’s an unbelievable run-blocker so we use him in as many different facets as possible.”
On Holmes’ as a teammate and his reputation for being a troublemaker around the league — “He hasn’t said anything to ruffle anyone’s feathers yet, he’s been in early and leaves late. He’s had to catch-up in learning this offense behind everyone else and I think he’s done an incredible job… He also communicates with me of what he likes and doesn’t like.”
On his success against the Jets despite the many different coordinators throughout his career — “I enjoy going against the Jets… even with the Ryan brothers, they do a great job of showing different looks, giving pressure and dropping eight at times to confuse the quarterback.”
Bears Head Coach Mark Trestman, says Santonio Holmes has brought a needed skillset and has done nothing of what has been said of his reputation preceding him, except work hard to simulate himself to the offense.
“In this world where perception is reality, we’d like to find out for ourselves in getting to know each other and draw our conclusion on day-to-day hands on interaction,” said Trestman.
Extended time and a shorter preparation week the following week did not deter Ryan from holding Monday Night Football games in a high regard.
“For the fanbase and the country, there’s some fans that don’t get to watch or see the Jets or Bears every week… that’s big,” said Ryan. “Your the only show going and its a huge deal still, for players they know that their peers are watching and I think that’s big.”
The last time the Jets had a nationally televised home night game: The “Butt Fumble” game in which the Jets had the fiasco against the Patriots on 2012 Thanksgiving when quarterback Mark Sanchez ran into his lineman — Ryan humorously responded “Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again, yikes!”
“It won’t be hard to show better than that I can tell you that, I will guarantee we play better than that… Talk about going out on a limb,” he continued.
The wait between a devastating loss and the next game can feel like an eternity but for Ryan the action cannot come soon enough.
“You wish you had a game Thursday anytime you lose you can’t wait to get back on that field. Now the fact that it pushes to Monday, that is typical of us. Lose a game and then you have to wait,” said Ryan.
DNP: E. Decker, Bellore, Edds (hamstring). Full: J. Bush (quad) Limited: W. Colon (calf), C. Johnson (ankle), N. Mangold (shoulder), D. Milliner (ankle)
WR Eric Decker (hamstring) was in helmet and uniform but without shoulder pads for team stretches
LB Nick Bellore (hip) was not in positional drills and did not (practice)
Per @Bears, the Chicago Bears are 11-3 on Monday Night Football dating back to 2006 after losing 14 of previous 18 appearances dating back to 1991
Bears lead all-time series vs. Jets 7-3 and have won 3 straight in the series; Bears are also 3-1 all-time vs. the Jets on the road
Per ESPNnewyork.com, the Jets are honoring 200 first responders from 9/11 on Monday Night Football representing Suffolk, Nassau, Bergen and Morris Counties