New York Jets: Indianapolis Colts

Jets D to Andrew: Tough luck, kid

October, 14, 2012
10/14/12
9:18
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Rex Ryan's defense can be tough on rookie quarterbacks -- even if the rookie is a No. 1 overall pick/franchise savior.

The Colts' Andrew Luck, coming off a breakthrough performance last week, fell back to earth in Sunday's 35-9 loss to the Jets. He completed only 22 of 44 passes for 280 yards, including two interceptions and an overthrow in the end zone that could've changed the complexion of the game.

"I know I played very poorly on my end," Luck said. "I think on the second drive of the game, I had a wide-open (Coby) Fleener in the end zone. Maybe if I had hit that, it would be somewhat of a different game."

[+] EnlargeAndrew Luck
Rich Kane/Icon SMIThe Jets swarm Andrew Luck.
The Jets rattled Luck with good pressure from the defensive line, particularly rookie Quinton Coples (1.5 sacks) and Muhammad Wilkerson (1.0), who recorded their first sacks of the season. The Jets finished with four, one shy of their total from the first five games.

"When you get hits on a quarterback, especially a young guy, it speeds things up for him and he has to get the ball out quicker," said OLB Aaron Maybin (0.5 sack), who finally emerged after five quiet games. "He doesn't feel as comfortable in the pocket. Stuff like that affects a quarterback."

This was a confidence-boosting game for the entire defensive line, which played without NT Sione Po'uha (back) and his backup, Kenrick Ellis (knee). The Jets started Mike DeVito at nose tackle, with Wilkerson at tackle and Coples at end. It was Coples' first start. They moved people around, with Wilkerson seeing time at the nose. They also used former Colts DT Daniel Muir, who was signed last week.

Coples and Wilkerson, first-round picks from 2012 and 2011, respectively, needed big games because they were starting to catch some heat from fans and media.

"We gave him a shot," Ryan said of Coples. "We gave him some opportunities to rush the passer and the guy stepped up and responded."

Ryan's defense is complex for young QBs, even for those with Luck's pedigree. Under Ryan, the Jets are 4-0 against rookie starting QBs, holding them to one TD pass with six interceptions and a 49.9 passer rating. It was a tough lesson for Luck.

"That young kid at quarterback is going to be a stud," Ryan said, adding, "I'm glad we play him this year and not two years from now."

This was, by far, the Jets' best defensive game of the season. They held the Colts to three field goals and forced four turnovers. Maybin said it was "the most complete, the most New York Jet brand of football all year."

For an encore, they get to play Tom Brady.

Rapid Reaction: Jets 35, Colts 9

October, 14, 2012
10/14/12
4:14
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Jets played their best all-around game of the season, overwhelming the young and rebuilding Colts 35-9 at MetLife Stadium. The Jets (3-3) snapped a two-game losing streak in what amounted to a must-win.

What it means: After four weeks of ugly and occasionally mediocre football, the Jets needed a confidence-boosting win. For one afternoon anyway, they regained their Ground & Pound identity -- Shonn Greene ran for a career-high 161 yards and three TDs -- and they played suffocating defense. They'll need the positive vibes because the Patriots are up next.

QB controversy on hold: Mark Sanchez tightened his grip on the starting job with an efficient performance against the defensively challenged Colts. Sanchez (11-for-18, 82 yards, no interceptions) threw a couple of 5-yard TD passes, fitting the ball into tight windows. Obviously, he benefited from a strong running game and sound pass protection, but give him credit: He didn't let the speculation about his job security bother him. Biggest positive: The Jets didn't commit a turnover for the first time in 17 games.

In the Nick of Tim: For a change, the Jets seemed to have a plan for Tim Tebow. He played only six snaps on offense, but he made a key play -- a third-and-1 run out of shotgun, setting up a TD. It was a clever play by coordinator Tony Sparano. He emptied the backfield and let Tebow run it up the gut from the Colts' 8. Moments earlier, Tebow the personal protector made the biggest play of the game. Yep, another fake punt. He took a direct snap and threw a little jump pass to LB Nick Bellore, who ran like an over-caffeinated madman for 23 yards. Great call, great execution.

Greene day: Nice of you to join the season, Mr. Greene. Running with the determination of a man concerned about his starting job, Greene produced his first 100-yard rushing day in 10 games. He scored three touchdowns (10, 4 and 2 yards), including -- are you ready for this? -- a nifty spin move on one TD. He escaped S Antoine Bethea behind the line, showing vision and quick feet. This was a different Greene. He demonstrated cutback ability and elusiveness, capitalizing on a dominant performance by the offensive line.

Ground & Pound: The Jets rushed for a season-high 252 yards, hammering an overmatched Colts front seven. The highlight was a 61-yard run by Joe McKnight, their longest run in three years. It was a vintage performance by the offensive linemen. They took a smashmouth approach, using a lot of two-TE packages. At times, the Jets used two tight ends in the backfield. There were some nice wrinkles in the running attack, but the story of the game was brute force. The Jets were too strong at the point of attack. Don't throw a parade, though: The Colts' run defense is awful. Their base defense had been allowing 5.1 yards per carry, worst in the league for a 3-4 team.

On the downside: Greene might have to carry the running game in the coming weeks because Bilal Powell (shoulder) and McKnight (ankle) left the game with injuries. The only other healthy back is rookie Jonathan Grimes.

Tough Luck, kid: Colts QB Andrew Luck (22-for-44, 280 yards, two interceptions) will be a great player someday -- but this wasn't his day. He was pressured by a previously nonexistent Jets pass rush, threw two interceptions, missed open receivers and couldn't get the ball to his go-to receiver, Reggie Wayne. CB Antonio Cromartie (three penalties) did a nice job on Wayne, intercepting one pass and holding him to three catches for 32 yards. The Jets' young linemen, Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson, played their best game. Pass-rusher Aaron Maybin also joined the party.

What's ahead: The Jets hit the road for the first time in a month, facing the first-place Patriots (3-2). The Jets have dropped three of the past four in the series.

Jets show support for Colts coach Pagano

October, 13, 2012
10/13/12
1:29
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — ChuckStrong has become a mantra among the Indianapolis Colts after head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia.

For some on the New York Jets, the connection is just as personal.

[+] EnlargeChuck Pagano
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesChuck Pagano
Linebacker Bart Scott, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and coach Rex Ryan were all with the Ravens when Pagano was the defensive backs coach. Those three, along with and several other members of the Jets organization, made T-shirts in Pagano's honor and posed Friday for a photo that they texted to him.

"It's just like a friend being hurt: You send them things to make the time go by," Scott said. "A game is a game, but this is real life."

"We know Chuck, we don't just say good wishes," Scott added. "He always made it fun, we had a party every day in meetings and practices had a bunch of energy. Players love him."

Scott makes it clear that he has separated the idea of Pagano, his friend, from the idea of Pagano as a motivating factor for the Colts, who face the Jets on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Still, that team has united in the wake of Pagano's announcement earlier this month that he would miss the rest of the season in order to seek treatment.

"I really believe football is so much about momentum and about spark and enthusiasm," Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow said. "When you have that momentum in a game, leading up to a game, something to believe in, gosh I think that makes you play harder, play more physical."

Tebow said he has been praying for Pagano.

"That's more important than winning a football game," Tebow said. "I just want that to be clear."

So there are two things at play for the Jets: a deep respect for a man in a real and important struggle, and a football game to be played.

"I just think the world of him," Ryan said of Pagano. "But with that said, we have our own things we are playing for and one of those is, we need a win in the worst way."

Coach's big decision: Trick or treat?

October, 13, 2012
10/13/12
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Halloween still is a couple of weeks away, but we saw some tricks last Monday night from Rex Ryan -- a fake punt, an onsides kick, two fourth-down gambles in his own territory and a cornerback playing wide receiver. Ryan knew he'd have to make some bold decisions to stay with the high-powered Texans -- and his strategy came within a couple of tipped passes of paying off.

Now the question is, does he remain Riverboat Rex on Sunday against the Colts?

In theory, Ryan shouldn't have to rely on gadgets to beat the rebuilding Colts (2-2). The Jets are the physically superior team and they should be able to control the game by doing the things they're supposed to be good at. They shouldn't have to steal a possession by trying an onside kick. If Ryan gets too cute, he'll be playing into the Colts' hands.

You may see some wrinkles on the defensive front -- they have to compensate for having no healthy nose tackles -- but it won't be anything too outrageous. An encore for Antonio Cromartie at wide receiver? He might get a play or two, but why push it? After all, rookie WR Stephen Hill and TE Dustin Keller are slated to return, which should give QB Mark Sanchez enough weapons.

Ryan's approach last week was appropriate, but this is a different week and a different opponent. There's a huge gap between the Texans and Colts. Precocious rookie QB Andrew Luck gives the Colts a puncher's chance, but the Jets should be able to beat him without having to trick it up.

Injury report: Jets vs. Colts

October, 12, 2012
10/12/12
3:14
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JETS

Out: CB Darrelle Revis (knee).

Doubtful: RB John Conner (hamstring), DT Kenrick Ellis (knee), WR Clyde Gates (shoulder), DT Sione Po'uha (back), S Eric Smith (knee).

Questionable: C Nick Mangold (ankle).

Probable: LB Nick Bellore (shoulder), CB Aaron Berry (ribs), CB Antonio Cromartie (shoulder), TE Jeff Cumberland (ribs), LB David Harris (hamstring), WR Stephen Hill (hamstring), T Austin Howard (back), TE Dustin Keller (hamstring), WR Jeremy Kerley (illness, finger), S LaRon Landry (heel), G Brandon Moore (hip), LB Calvin Pace (achilles), QB Mark Sanchez (back), LB Bart Scott (toe), G Matt Slauson (knee), LB Bryan Thomas (hamstring).

COLTS

Out: LB Pat Angerer (foot), RB Donald Brown (knee), LB Robert Mathis (knee), DT Fili Moala (knee), G Joe Reitz (knee), DT Martin Tevaseu (ankle).

Doubtful: CB Vontae Davis (ankle)

Probable: LB Dwight Freeney (ankle), RB Mewelde Moore (ankle), C Samson Satele (knee).

W2W4: Jets vs. Colts

October, 12, 2012
10/12/12
6:00
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- This is a must-win for the Jets, based on the premise, "If they can't beat the Colts, who can they beat?"

The rebuilding Colts (2-2) are a motley mix of new (led by rookie QB Andrew Luck) and old (holdovers from the Peyton Manning era). They were an inspired team last week, storming back to stun the Packers and dedicating the win to their leukemia-stricken coach, Chuck Pagano. It remains to be seen whether the "Chuckstrong" emotion can travel.

Much like the Jets, the Colts are missing key players on offense and defense -- leading rusher Donald Brown (knee) and leading sacker Robert Mathis (knee). They've dropped nine straight on the road; the Jets (2-3) are trying to avoid their first three-game home losing streak since 2009. It'll be interesting to see the number of no-shows at MetLife Stadium. Kickoff is 1 p.m.

What to watch for:

1. The Sanchez-Tebow drama: This is must-see TV, with the slumping Mark Sanchez playing for his job. If a quarterback has to be in that situation, he'd want to be facing the defensively challenged Colts, whose suspect secondary has allowed a 102.8 passer rating.

Sanchez's favorite target, TE Dustin Keller, is expected to return from a four-week hamstring injury, providing an over-the-middle security blanket. Sanchez won't find a more benign defense than the Colts -- only three takeaways. With Mathis out, the offensive line doesn't have to worry about the Twin Terrors on the edge. OLB Dwight Freeney, still not 100 percent after a high-ankle sprain, is the only pass-rushing threat. If Sanchez suffers another poor game and the Jets lose, Rex Ryan will have to think long and hard about turning to Tim Tebow.

2. Running on empty. If the Jets' dormant running game doesn't come to life against the Colts, they might want to junk the Ground & Pound philosophy. (Joking. Sort of.) The Colts, in their new 3-4 scheme, are yielding 4.7 yards per carry (almost as bad as the Jets). After facing four of the top run defenses in consecutive weeks, the Jets' offensive line should be able to win their matchups across the board -- assuming C Nick Mangold (ankle) plays. They should attack the undersized Freeney, who has played only 16 snaps against the run, according to ProFootballFocus. Look for more of RB Joe McKnight, as the Jets move slowly away from Shonn Greene.

3. Good Luck. The kid is all right -- actually, better than all right. The coaches are so confident in Luck that they allowed him to operate the no-huddle on 80 percent of their offensive snaps last week. Previously, they ran only nine plays out of no-huddle.

Luck is big, strong and athletic, capable of escaping pressure -- a league-high nine scrambles for first downs, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He reminds the Jets of Ben Roethlisberger, and they will employ the same coverage priniciples they use against Big Ben. They can't let down against Luck, who already has two game-winning drives in the fourth quarter. They can't do what the Packers did, which was allow Luck to play pitch-and-catch with WR Reggie Wayne.

4. Al-Cro-Traz Island. Ever since surrendering a TD catch to the Steelers' Mike Wallace in Week 2, CB Antonio Cromartie has been playing the best ball of his career. In fact, he has the best "burn" rate in the league (41.4 percent), according to ProFootballFocus.

This week's challenge is Wayne, an oldie but goodie thriving in the post-Peyton era. To say Wayne is Luck's favorite target would be an understatement; he's tied for the league lead with 56 targets in only four games. He still has the ability to get deep; he leads the league with 19 catches of 10+ yards, per ESPN Stats. Wayne, who used to line up in the same spot in the old system, moves around the formation. They use him in the slot and in bunch formations, which could make it harder for Cromartie to be aggressive at the line.

5. 'D' for dominate. The Jets' defense, getting pushed around for the better part of a month, needs a bounce-back in the worst day. They should be able control the Colts, who will start rookie Vick Ballard at running back. If they can't shut down Ballard, a fifth-round pick from Mississippi State, it will be a long, long year. The Colts' line also is vulnerable is pass protection, especially LT Anthony Castonzo, who has allowed three sacks and 12 QB hurries, per ProFootballFocus.

Luck reminds Jets of Manning, Brady

October, 11, 2012
10/11/12
10:42
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets are impressed with Colts rookie QB Andrew Luck. Who isn't?

"He's one of those rare (quarterbacks) -- Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, those types that only come along every so often," defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said Thursday. "You can just tell, he's a gym rat. He's the kind of guy, even though he's a rookie, you can't treat him like one."

Pettine said Luck is smart enough to dissect basic coverages. He said they have to disguise their coverages and try to confuse him, just like they would a veteran QB. CB Antonio Cromartie said Luck reminds him of Manning.

Luck is off to a terrific start. He already has passed for 1,208 yards, the second-highest total in league history for a rookie in his first four games.

CHAOS: In an effort to avoid a repeat of the confusion that caused the Jets to burn two timeouts in Monday night's loss to the Texans, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said Thursday they will take a "streamlined" approach to changing personnel packages.

What does that mean? Pretty simple. Sparano said the entire wide-receiver group will stand next to WRs coach Sanjay Lal on the sideline. That way, it's easier to hear when the personnel group is called out. Previously, the receivers stood in different areas.

The operation broke down Monday night when WR Clyde Gates went out with a shoulder injury. He was replaced in some of the Tim Tebow packages by Jason Hill, who was signed only five days earlier. That led to some confusion.

"It's something I obviously have to take responsibity for," Sparano said.

NOSE TO NOSE: The Jets have a nose-tackle problem. With Sione Po'uha (back) likely to miss Sunday's game, and with backup Kenrick Ellis (knee) out 4-6 weeks, they're down to rookie Damon Harrison. Pettine said they should be able to get by the next two weeks because the Colts and Patriots are one-back offenses that use zone blocking, minimizing the impact of the nose tackle. Newly-signed DT Daniel Muir, a former Colt, could dress for the game. Pettine said Muir impressed in the preseason with the Packers.

UNITY: During the pre-game introductions Monday night, the starting defensive backs decided to come out as a group instead of individually. That idea was hatched by Cromartie, who has become more of a leader since Darrelle Revis was injured. Pettine joked that he was "starting to panic" when he didn't see any DBs running out of the tunnel when their names were announced.

Cromartie the key for a Jets win

October, 11, 2012
10/11/12
10:17
PM ET
Antonio CromartieAP Photo/Bill Kostroun

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- For a moment last Monday, Antonio Cromartie, now the de facto top corner for the Jets after Darrelle Revis’ season-ending injury, was vying for the top slot in the wide receiver rotation as well.

As Cromartie flew down the field he caught a pass from Mark Sanchez and nearly -- but not quite -- landed with both feet in bounds. Still, he looked back at the corner guarding him, Houston’s Johnathan Joseph, and pointed out how much separation he just got.

“I told him, ‘I play corner too and I just ran right by you,’” Cromartie said with a laugh.

Clearly, Cromartie has the mouth to play wide receiver, but he’s much more necessary at his natural spot.

With a confidence so solid that he asserted he was the top corner in the league once Revis went down, Cromartie is one of the few players in the NFL who could be used on every play. The Jets have certainly done their best to get every mile they can out of the former Charger and Cromartie has played wide receiver, returned kickoffs and, of course cornerback.

[+] EnlargeAntonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis
AP Photos/David DrapkinAntonio Cromartie is the Jets' top corner in Darrelle Revis' absence.
“If it was winter he’d be playing in the NBA,” said special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff.

With a lean 6-2 frame, and impressive reaction time, you could make the mistake of thinking Cromartie was all athleticism and instinct, but defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said that would be an error. Cromartie will sit in meetings and call other players out for a lack of knowledge about opponents or schemes. He has studied offensive plays an additional 30 to 40 minutes every day since knowing he could be used there.

“I think it’s a well-kept secret; he prepares, I think, better than maybe any player I’ve been around,” Mike Pettine said. “He studies the tape inside, outside, backwards. He’ll embarrass the other defensive backs. They know that they better have looked at it pretty in depth or else he’s going to throw stuff at them that they’ll have no idea about.”

Cromartie has faced additional scrutiny after the loss of an irreplaceable Revis. Last week Cromartie was matched up on Andre Johnson, and limited him to one catch. This week he gets the Colts’ top receiver, Reggie Wayne.

“I think if (Wayne) just sat out there where he used to be, I think it’d be a little easier,” Ryan said. “We’d be able to identify where he is but they’re moving him around a little bit. It’s kind of hard to get your hands on him. They put him in the slot, they put him in a lot of bunches, they put him in what we call snugs, which is a two-man bunch. They don’t want you to get your hands on him, and that’s something that obviously, we’re going to try to do. They’re not just going to let (Cromartie) go out there and ‘D him up’ from the line of scrimmage. They’re going to move him. But, that should be a really good matchup.”

Isaiah Trufant said Cromartie was like a big brother to the defensive backs, and has taken on a leadership role seriously. With a sly sense of humor, Cromartie fits in perfectly on a defense with a lot of big personalities.

“He’s able to keep people smiling laughing but at the same time he’s one of those guys who definitely knows when it’s time to get serious,” linebacker Aaron Maybin said.

If he hasn’t backed it up on the field, there wouldn’t be much to celebrate. Cromartie would be just another stereotypical Jet who talked a bigger game than he could play.

“I think he realized once Darrelle went down, he made the statement, “Hey, I’m the best corner in the league, with him being down,’” Pettine said. “I think he realized it’s put up or shut up time. He’s responded and played really well and, obviously, we’re thrilled with that. It’s a tribute to him and, I think, how he’s gotten himself right mentally.”

Later against the Texans Cromartie went out on offense again, but this time he was the decoy. He drew double coverage, a safety and a corner, and that’s when running back Shonn Greene broke through for a 12-yard run. Even so, that’s not his main focus.

“My number one position right now is being the best corner in the NFL,” Cromartie said.

Which the Jets will just have to live with.

Three-point stance: Indianapolis Colts

October, 11, 2012
10/11/12
8:00
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Andrew Luck and the 2-2 Indianapolis Colts travel to play the Jets, who will host their third straight home game. Luck has played well in his rookie season and trails only former Colts star Peyton Manning, now with Denver, in Total QBR among AFC quarterbacks.

Luck, the No. 1 pick in April's draft, has passed for at least 300 yards in three out of his first four games.

The Jets have measured well against the pass and currently rank sixth overall in passing defense, behind only the Steelers and Texans in the AFC. The Colts enter with the AFC lead in most plays run with at least four wide receivers. That will test the depth chart for the Jets, especially with Darrelle Revis out for the year.

Let's preview three keys to this Week 6 showdown:

1. The Jets will have to defend Reggie Wayne, the NFL's co-leader in receiving targets this season. The veteran wideout has stretched the field for his young quarterback and leads the league in receptions on throws that travel 11 yards or more in the air. In fact, the Colts as a team have pressed hard on opposing secondaries with an average target depth of 10.3 yards downfield, good for second in the NFL. The Jets should still get chances to force a turnover, however, as Luck has had passes defended more often than any other player.

2. Gang Green might finally get the opportunity to run the ball well. The Colts have allowed 5.1 yards per rush when they are in the base formation, the worst of any 3-4 defense. They have also allowed four rushing touchdowns on 14 red-zone attempts (28.6 percent) which ranks 31st in the league. With FB John Conner questionable for Sunday, the Jets might want to mix and match Shonn Greene with Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell and Tim Tebow in the backfield. The Colts are allowing 6.3 yards per rush with at least two running backs on the field, which ranks last in the NFL.

3. Look for a different pass rush from the Colts, who have changed drastically since these teams last met in the 2010 wild card. The Colts led the NFL in both 2010 and 2011 in highest percentage of opponent dropbacks when sending a pass rush with four or fewer defenders. With a new 3-4 scheme, Indy has dropped to 26th in that same category. The 21.4 percent increase in added pressure compared with 2011 is far and away the highest change in the NFL. They have tallied 75 percent of sacks with the blitz compared to 17 percent a season ago, another reason the Jets might want to stack the backfield for added protection.

Injury report: Mangold misses practice again

October, 11, 2012
10/11/12
6:58
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The injury report for Thursday:

Analysis: Nick Mangold, Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill are expected to play for the Jets. FB John Conner and WR Clyde Gates are expected to miss the game. As reported earlier, Eric Smith is expected to miss multiple games with a sprained knee, sustained Wednesday in practice. The biggest question surround Sione Po'uha, but from all indications, he will miss his second straight game.

NEW YORK JETS

Out: CB Darrelle Revis (knee).

Did not practice: NT Sione Po'uha (back), NT Kenrick Ellis (knee), FB John Conner (hamstring), C Nick Mangold (ankle), WR Clyde Gates (shoulder), S Eric Smith (knee).

Limited: LB Bryan Thomas (hamstring), WR Stephen Hill (hamstring) and TE Dustin Keller (hamstring).

Full: CB Aaron Berry (ribs), CB Antonio Cromartie (shoulder), LB Nick Bellore (shoulder), QB Mark Sanchez (back), LB Calvin Pace (Achilles), RG Brandon Moore (hip), LG Matt Slauson (knee), RT Austin Howard (back), TE Jeff Cumberland (ribs), S LaRon Landry (heel), WR Jeremy Kerley (finger/illness), LB David Harris (hamstring) and LB Bart Scott (toe)

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Did not practice: LB Pat Angerer (foot), RB Donald Brown (knee), CB Vontae Davis (ankle), DE Robert Mathis (knee), DE Fili Moala (knee), G Joe Reitz (knee) and DT Martin Tevaseu (ankle).

Full: LB Dwight Freeney (ankle), RB Mewelde Moore (ankle), C Samson Satele (knee).

Scouting report: Early look at the Colts

October, 11, 2012
10/11/12
6:00
AM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A few quick observations on the Colts (2-2), who travel to MetLife Stadium this weekend:

1. The Colts are coming off an emotional, come-from-behind win over the Packers, a game in which they dedicated to leukemia-stricken coach Chuck Pagano. But now they have to travel outside their comfort zone. The Colts have dropped nine straight road games, the second-longest active streak in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

2. This Andrew Luck kid is pretty good. The No. 1 pick in the draft has passed for 1,208 yards, the second-most by a rookie in his first four games. (Cam Newton passed for 1,386 last season.) The mark of a great QB is his ability to rally his team from behind, and Luck did it in each of the Colts' two wins. He operates an up tempo, no-huddle attack with the aplomb of a veteran, and he can escape pressure better than most -- 104 rushing yards.

3. Most of the offense revolves around WR Reggie Wayne, who is tied for the league lead with 56 targets. In other words, Luck looks for Wayne on one out of every three attempts. Wayne does a lot of the dirty work, going across the middle. Stop Wayne, and you should stop the Colts' passing game.

4. Defensively, the Colts have a different look. The days of the 4-3, Tampa-2 scheme are gone. They're a 3-4 defense, with former DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis lined up as outside linebackers. But Mathis (sprained knee) is out for 2-3 weeks, the Colts announced. Freeney, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in the opener, returned last week. He isn't back to full speed. But he showed he can be a factor in the pass rush, recording a sack last week.

5. The Colts are struggling against the run (25th), yielding 4.7 yards per carry. Their pass defense is having problems, too. Opposing QBs have a 102.8 passer rating against them, which might be the ideal tonic for Mark Sanchez. They have one of the most benign secondaries in the league -- a 63.7 completion percentage and only two interceptions.

Injury report: WR Hill, TE Keller limited

October, 10, 2012
10/10/12
7:12
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Wide receiver Stephen Hill and tight end Dustin Keller were both limited in practice Wednesday as they try to make their returns to the field Sunday. Hill has missed the past two games while Keller has missed the past four, but their return could be a much-needed boost to a stagnant offense.

Center Nick Mangold also missed practice after injuring his ankle Monday. He tried to give it a go Wednesday but his ankle didn't cooperate. He said he's doing better, though.

On the defensive side, defensive tackles Sione Po'uha and Kenrick Ellis both missed practice. Head coach Rex Ryan said Ellis most likely won't go against the Colts, while Po'uha's status is up in the air. Potentially losing both of them would be a big blow to the middle of the Jets defense.

JETS

Out: Cornerback Darrelle Revis (knee)

Did not practice: Po'uha (low back); Ellis (knee); Mangold (ankle); Fullback John Conner (hamstring); Receiver Clyde Gates (shoulder); Safety LaRon Landry (heel)

Limited practice: Linebacker Bart Scott (toe); Linebacker Bryan Thomas (hamstring); Receiver Stephen Hill (hamstring); Tight end Dustin Keller (hamstring); Receiver Jeremy Kerley (finger/illness); Safety Eric Smith (knee); Linebacker David Harris (hamstring)

Full practice: Cornerback Aaron Berry (ribs); Cornerback Antonio Cromartie (shoulder); Linebacker Nick Bellore (shoulder); Quarterback Mark Sanchez (low back); Linebacker Calvin Pace (Achilles); Guard Brandon Moore (hip); Guard Matt Slauson (knee); Tackle Austin Howard (back); Tight end Jeff Cumberland (ribs)

COLTS

Did not participate: Linebacker Pat Angerer (foot); Running back Donald Brown (knee); Linebacker Dwight Freeney (knee); Cornerback Vontae Davis (ankle); Linebacker Robert Mathis (knee); Defensive end Fili Moala (knee); Guard Joe Reitz (knee); Nose tackle Martin Tevaseu (ankle);

Full practice: Running back Mewelde Moore (ankle); Center Samson Satele (knee)

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