It’s bye week Saturday in Jets land, ladies and gentlemen. So, let’s continue on with our “State of the Jets” address. Yesterday we took a look at the offense. Today, we are giving our mid-season report on the Jets’ defense.
With coach Ryan back at the helm, calling the defensive plays, everyone knew that the defense would be back to its old self, at or near the top of the league. To date, everyone has been right.
Overall, the Jets’ defense is seventh in the league, leading the league in rushing defense. The black mark has been in the passing game. The team is 21st in the league in pass defense, and a lot of that has to do with the secondary needing to improve. We will talk about that more in a bit.
What can be said about the Jets’ defensive line? There isn’t a lot to say other than, WOW! One of the unsung heroes of the Jets’ defense is undoubtedly line coach Karl Dunbar. Before he arrived in New York, we knew he was a great defensive line coach for his work in Minnesota, but now we have gotten to see it up close. What a teacher he must be, because he has gotten so much out of these guys.
Mo Wilkerson is making his case for not just the Pro Bowl, but to be an All-Pro. He leads the Jets with eight sacks, and we seem to hear his name called every week along with “great play by….”. He is becoming a force, and the scary part is that he is only going to get better.
Same goes for Damon Harrison. Nobody works harder or is nicer than that young man. He came from out of nowhere to be probably the best nose tackle in the sport against the run. Even if he doesn’t make the play, he is the immovable object, taking two guys to block him, leaving room for other guys to play. Kenrick Ellis is filling a nice role as well. Don’t forget about Sheldon Richardson, who has come on faster than anyone expected.
Quinton Coples is starting to take to his new linebacker spot, evidenced by his play this past Sunday. Demario Davis posted an INT, and David Harris is still the ever consistent man in the middle with his tackling. Calvin Pace is even still making a mark in the pass rush.
The secondary needs to make the biggest improvement. The Jets have been vulnerable against the pass, and everyone in the secondary is a culprit, even Antonio Cromartie. I have said it before and I will say it again, the man is hurt. It’s the only way to explain the fact that some of his explosiveness just isn’t there. Dee Milliner is finding his way, learning his position. Antonio Allen has a lot of potential, especially the way he handled Gronkowski a couple of weeks ago.
If they put it all together, watch out for this defense as we move ahead. The Jets could make some serious noise in the second half, that nobody expected them to make.