FLORHAM PARK- Don't get Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers wrong, he knows there's plenty of ways to disrupt a quarterback.
Hits are one, hurries are another. It's a pretty easy and direct correlation: Anytime you get a passer out of his comfort zone, he becomes a not-as-good passer.
But if Rodgers had his choice, he'd disrupt an opposition's QB the same way... over and over and over again.
"We love the sack," Rodgers said during an entertaining press conference Thursday. "People who say sacks don't matter usually aren't getting them. We love the sack."
This weekend against the Giants, how successful the Jets are at getting "the sack" may prove to be the difference in the game. Armed with a high-powered offense highlighted by Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr., the best way to keep the Jets cross-town rival grounded is by never letting them get off the ground to begin with. The best way to do that? Get Manning to many as much as possible.
While Manning is one of the better quarterbacks at extending the pocket, he's hardly mobile. Not to mention, his offensive line is a bit bruised and battered. Starting right tackle Marshall Newhouse missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday, opening the door for the season-debut of rookie seventh-round pick Bobby Hart. Starting guard Geoff Schwartz was just placed on the season-ending injured reserve earlier this week. Center Weston Richburg and guard Justin Pugh are both expected to play, but could be rusty having missed time the last couple weeks.
"[We need to] try to get [Manning] on the ground," Rodgers said. "When we sit there and look at Eli, this guy can make all the throws, and the way they run their offense, he's taking a look, studying the defense and putting them in the right position.
"So right now with him, we're going to have to disrupt him as much as we can."
The Giants offensive line has been solid this year, allowing just 18 quarterback sacks on 458 drop backs. But that was with Newhouse and Schwartz in the mix, along with a healthy Richburg and Pugh. With the group so banged up, there's a chance they could be susceptible to the rush.
To counteract the weaknesses up front, there's no doubt Manning, who already has a quick release, will be looking to get rid of the ball even faster. That means the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams and Lorenzo Mauldin will not only have to get to Manning, but get there quick.
"It's getting out pretty quick, pretty quick," nose tackle Damon Harrison said. "He's a veteran quarterback. If he doesn't see anyone open, he'll get rid of it in a heartbeat. It's our job to work together; our coverage needs to get him to hold it, and the guys up front need to get there."
Get there, or get close, it doesn't really matter. As far as the Jets are concerned, if Manning's uncomfortable, that's a win in their book.