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News » Jets specialize in forcing fumbles

Jets specialize in forcing fumbles

Jets specialize in forcing fumbles
When the Broncos have lost this season, they have usually lost the ball as well.

And that might have a lot to say about how things go Sunday afternoon in Giants Stadium, because the New York Jets are among the league leaders in knocking the ball free.

"It's always that way, turnovers," Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler said. "We know that."

The Broncos lost two fumbles against the Chiefs, lost two fumbles against Jacksonville, lost three fumbles against the Patriots and lost another fumble Sunday against the Raiders.

That's eight lost fumbles in four of their losses.

"We know we have to take care of the ball," Broncos tight end Daniel Graham said. "When you have it, you have to make sure you keep it."

Only Tennessee, which forced three fumbles in a Thanksgiving Day rout of Detroit, has forced more fumbles (18) than the Jets' 17 forced fumbles this season.

And the New York defense has done it all over the field.

The Jets have five players who have each forced at least two fumbles. The Broncos, by contrast, have forced only six fumbles this season, and cornerback Champ Bailey is the only player with at least two forced fumbles - with Jets cornerback Dwight Lowery and outside linebacker Calvin Pace each leading the way with three.

"The teams that consistently do that are usually the more aggressive teams," Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley said. "They attack the quarterback, put a lot of pressure on the offense, a lot of things of that nature."

The Jets do fit the profile of a team that knocks the ball free.

Most defensive coordinators will say it is hits on the quarterback, especially from the blind side, that most frequently knock the ball free.

With 35 sacks already this season - 12 players have at least one sack for the team and five have at least three - the Jets are among the league leaders. Quarterbacks have fumbled 11 times against them, and the Jets have recovered six of those fumbles, including three recoveries on fumbles by Arizona's Kurt Warner in September.

"They stand you up and try to strip the ball," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "They're a very big defense, very strong. Their linebackers probably average about 260, 265 (pounds); they have the ability to stand people up and take the ball away."

The Jets' two outside linebackers, Pace and Bryan Thomas, are former defensive ends.

Cutler has lost two fumbles this season, and the second came on a failed exchange with running back Peyton Hillis in the loss to the Raiders. The Broncos have lost their fumbles in traffic for the most part, with running backs having lost three and wide receiver Brandon Marshall having lost two - one after a catch and one on a running play.

Pace, who was one of the Jets' signings during free agency in the offseason, often lines up on the defensive right. Pace, who was once a first-round pick by the Cardinals, has five sacks this season.

Defensive end Shaun Ellis, who lines up on the defensive left, leads the Jets in sacks, with seven. Ellis, who plays the end spot in the Jets' 3-4 defense, also rushes against guards more than an end would in another scheme.

"When a team gets the ball out like they do, you notice that when you watch it," Stokley said.

Get there

The numbers might go hand in hand.

But the Broncos haven't had a sack in the past three games and have had only one sack in six games.

And the Broncos also have only four interceptions this season.

"It's funny; you watch TV a lot, you see all these other teams getting picks, turnovers all kinds of ways," Bailey said. "I know the ball has got to bounce our way sooner or later; we just have to make it happen when we get the opportunity."

Bailey has missed the past four games because of a groin injury - that's more games than he missed in the previous nine seasons combined - and there has been plenty of turnover at safety.

If the Broncos make another change, like starting Vernon Fox against the Jets, it would be the fourth time in the past five games they have started a different free safety.

Getting comfortable

For the Broncos, it might have been an easier deal to get the Jets earlier in the season.

Quarterback Brett Favre, who went to New York in a trade just after the start of training camp, has gotten increasingly comfortable in the team's offense. After tossing 12 interceptions in the first seven games this season, including seven in a three-game stretch in October against league bottom feeders Cincinnati (1-9), Oakland (3-8) and Kansas City (1-10), Favre has thrown only two interceptions in the past four games combined.

"It wasn't like he was there the whole offseason," Cutler said. "He got there in training camp and had to make it happen."

"(It) takes a lot of time, takes a lot of effort, it's learning a new language," Shanahan said. "He had to question himself, because I'm sure it wasn't easy for him. It wasn't easy for the coaches either. . . . It's a learning process involved."


* The Broncos' Dec. 14 game against Carolina has been moved to 2:15 p.m. The game had been scheduled for an 11 a.m. kickoff but was moved by CBS.

* Linebacker D.J. Williams, who formally was listed as doubtful for the game Sunday because of a knee injury, isn't expected to play against the Jets. He has missed the past three games.

"It's tough to see the team out there playing, but it's out of my hands, I have to just keep rehabbing," Williams said. "I haven't really known how to react to this. I think the last game I missed was my sophomore year in college."

Bailey, linebacker Nate Webster (knee) and running back Selvin Young (groin) are listed as questionable. The Broncos will give each of the three another look today and perhaps even pregame, but they likely will have to show some improvement to be in the lineup.

* Wide receiver Eddie Royal, who was held out of practice Wednesday because of a toe injury and was limited Thursday and Friday, is expected to play.

* Former Raiders coach Bill Callahan is the Jets' assistant head coach/offensive line. Callahan is the only Oakland coach to have beaten Shanahan twice in the same season. Callahan's Raiders did it in 2002.

Numbers game

1game with a 100-yard rusher by a Broncos back this season. Michael Pittman had 109 yards rushing in the Oct. 12 loss to Jacksonville. Under Shanahan, the Broncos never have had fewer than four 100-yard rushing games from their running backs.

He said it

"Every game at this point is so crucial. And I think everyone in the locker room knows it."

Cutler, on the team's 6-5 record with five games to play.


Take and take

The Jets are second in the league in forced fumbles and are tied for fourth in the league in recovered fumbles. The Broncos are among the six teams that have lost at least 10 fumbles this season. Totals are through the Thanksgiving games.


Forced fumbles

Team No.

Tennessee 18

New York Jets 17

Arizona 15

Minnesota 15

Seattle 15

Indianapolis 13


Recovered opponent fumbles

Team No.

Arizona 12

Detroit 12

Minnesota 12

New York Jets 11

Kansas City 11


Fumbles lost

Team No.

San Francisco 13

Arizona 12

Chicago 11

Tampa Bay 11

Buffalo 11

Denver 10

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 29, 2008

Darrelle Revis Name: Darrelle Revis
Position: CB
Age: 23
Experience: 2 years
College: Pittsburgh
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