Horseshoes click and cluck on the hot concrete. A bag of weapons over the shoulder in what has to be the largest duffel bag known to man.
A man in cop gear with pints of sweat soaking through trying to beat the heat. However, just knowing that he is heading to the supposed sanctuary that is Atlanta, Georgia, gives him the strength to push on.
Sound familiar. Yes, it’s Rick Grimes, a character from one of my favorite TV shows “The Walking Dead” heading into Atlanta, Georgia during the ground-breaking Season 1 episodes.
He hopes to find his family, resting safely inside the walls of the Center for Disease Control (CDC). But of course, he learns much more than that.
What does this have to do with the Jets?
However, if you really think about it, Rick Grimes’ position is not that much different then that of the Jets rookie Geno Smith.
And, while the Atlanta Falcons aren’t flesh-eating (that I know of), I can tell you that they are just as hungry after a disappointing loss at home to New England. The Falcons, and more specifically, Matt Ryan, don’t lose at home very often.
Let’s compare the lead characters.
- Awakes from a coma to find out the world is overrun by flesh-eating zombies.
- Has trouble dealing with what is happening in the world.
- Learns top two people in his life, his wife and son, are both missing.
- Sets out to Atlanta to find the sanctuary of the CDC, hoping to be reunited with his family.
- Awakens from poor week 2 performance to play his best game to date week 3 against Buffalo Bills.
- Has trouble dealing with taking care of the football in Week 4 against Titans.
- Learns he might be without his top two receiving threats, Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill.
- Sets out to Atlanta to find the sanctuary of a soft-defense, hoping to be reunited with winning.
Yeah, I know. I’m reaching with some of these but think about this for a second. Rick Grimes going into Atlanta thinking he’s going to find his family safe at the CDC and safe-haven for himself. Instead, what he finds is the city is overrun and the CDC isn’t a safe-haven at all, but rather a ticking time bomb ready to go off.
Not quite the dreaded “trap” game because the Falcons are better than their record suggests (especially at home) and a lot of people know it.
Geno Smith is going into a similar situation. The nice thing is there can be a different outcome this time around in Atlanta. He doesn’t have to put himself in the same situations that Rick Grimes did once arriving in Atlanta.
Smith has a few things on his side.
- A charmin-soft Atlanta defense. They rank 25th overall in the league according to NFL.com.
- Falcons giving up an average 300 yds through the air in each game.
- Their ground-and-pound rusher, Steven Jackson has been injured.
- Starting field position for the Jets has been abysmal. (They worked out PR/KR/WR Josh Cribbs yesterday. I would be shocked if they didn’t sign him IF he is healthy.)
The big test for Smith will be limiting his turnovers. He has 11 turnovers through 4 games which is on pace for 44 turnovers this season. Crazy to think the Jets are still 2-2 despite that.
The nice thing is Smith has recognized that it’s unacceptable and will work to correct. Whether he gets it corrected or not, is another thing.
With Smith’s top two wideouts in question, can Marty Mornhinweg must rely a bit more on the run game? I don’t think he can.
No doubt, Smith will be in a pickle on Monday night.
His top two wideouts have health concerns and Atlanta’s defensive strong-suit is their rush defense. It spells trouble for Geno Smith, but it’s not the end. He’ll need to think fast, a la Rick Grimes.
Geno and find his tank (safe-haven) and more importantly, he must find his hero on the radio overlooking his position. Someone secretly watching over him. Someone who must come through in a pinch. Not the strongest, tallest or even smartest guy on the team. But, he must find him.
This week, Geno must find his Glenn.
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