New York Jets: Secondary Questions

Despite all the talk by analysts and fans alike as to who is going to be starting under center for green and white, there is a more pressing issue that needs to be looked at. Last year, led by a a strong performance by the defensive line, the Jets front 7 anchored the defense while the secondary struggled mightily. This was a group of led by the veteran CB Antonio Cromartie, who unfortunately did not possess the consistency that made our secondary a standout unit even in the absence or Darrelle Revis the season before. Cromartie is now gone by way of free agency, and it seems like the Jets did not go out of there way to try and keep him. So what is in store for our secondary going forward.

The first piece of the puzzle is Dee Milliner, the second year CB who struggled mightily in the early part of the season but really showed the skills that made him a 1st round pick by the month of December. Cornerback is probably one of the hardest position to transition to at the NFL level, the receivers are just collectively a stronger, faster and more skilled group. Will Dee be able to keep that momentum and use it to have a productive season? We will have to wait and see to find out. Next we have Dimitri Patterson, who has been nothing but a ball hawk every time he sees the field. Unfportunately for him he hasn’t been able to stay healthy for extended stretches of time leaving us with a small sample size to judge his talent. However, if Patterson can stay healthy, Dee can continue playing solid, and Kyle Wilson keeps improving in the slot, our cornerback positions will be good to go.

Next we have the safety position, and before we start breaking down things here I just want to say how happy I am the Jets drafted a safety early, hopefully leading to the end of the revolving door we have had at the safety position since the departure of Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith. Antonio Allen showed good growth last season and will look to continue plucking balls from Rob Gronkowski‘s grasp. Meanwhile enter the new guy, the hard hitting young gun Calvin Pryor. Pryor plays with a physicality that is reminiscent Laron Landry. Hopefully Pryor can adjust to the speed of the game quickly and be a contributor early on, if not we do have serviceable depth at the two safety positions but this would not be the ideal situation.

So what we have is a lot of questions, a lot of what if’s, and it is hard to judge whether the secondary will once again be the disastrous unit that it was last season, or if it will be an effective unit that helps the Jets have a top tier defense. The secondary the Jets have put together for next season has the potential to be either boom or bust, but if the young guys can continue to improve we might be in for a treat as more quality play from the secondary will lead the defensive line to be a more dominant unit as well.


Tags: Calvin Pryor Dee Milliner New York Jets

  • AC

    Milliner had 2 good games. It was said that once Ed Reed came in he played the role of a mentor with him, even though Reed was not a CB, but who knows. Patterson is a no name, everyone says he is a “ball hawk” when he’s on the field, but I had never even heard of him until the Jets picked him up. The honey badger is and was more well known and he was a rookie. The secondary is a giant question mark. It could be Idzik’s 2014 butt fumble.

  • matr dontelli iii

    I think Jeremy kerley has pretty much hit his ceiling. I don’t think he will improve as a slot cornerback! Sheesh!

  • tr

    since when is kerley a slot cornerback? I’m pretty sure he’s a wide receiver and if you’re going to write about the jets you should at least get the names and positions right

  • Craig Hoffman

    He meant Kyle Wilson instead of Kerley.

  • Dan in RI

    The secondary is the biggest question mark on the team. There are a lot of guys competing for spots, but pretty much everyone besides Wilson either have injury issues or are inexperienced and unproven. However, there’s a big difference between being a question mark and being a problem. It’s too early to tell how this will shake out. There is a good chance that the secondary will be much better this year than last–since Milliner was going through rookie growing pains and Cromartie was trying (with limited success) to play through a nagging hip injury. Best case scenario: Milliner plays like a stud, either Patterson, McDougle, Walls or Dowling nails down the other outside corner spot and Wilson continues to do a solid job as a slot corner. Worst case scenario: Milliner regresses, Patterson, Dowling, and McDougle are injured (or McDougle plays like a clueless rookie), and Walls is inadequate to the task. Really, it could go either way.

    • Paul Newbold

      You’re right it could go either way, and its way too early to predict who will start opening day. That being said if you look at this bunch individually, you can see a problem waiting to happen. Patterson has a injury history as long as your arm, he may be the answer, but for how long? As you said McDougle is a rookie and its pretty scary to start a rookie on the outside, not to mention a third rounder. Wilson has found a niche as the slot corner and has shown he’s inconsistent on the outside. As for the rest of the bunch, you can’t be very optimistic, as not one of them were deemed consistent enough to replace a half crippled Cromartie last season!! The problem may not have materialized quite yet, but the writing is on the wall! I’m hoping they can find a veteran off the wire when cuts begin.

      • MrBlint

        Actually Walls played as well as Cromartie last year. Patterson played better (when he was on the field) Ditto for Dowling. The Jets got burned last year by the nature of Cromartie’s injury as it seemed to allow him to run and practice, but it definitely affected his level of play. In the meantime, Milliner was struggling until the last month of the season so he really couldn’t afford to take Cromartie out. I expect Milliner to be somewhere from good to very good this season and on the other side there are basically 5-6 potential choices (Patterson, Walls, Dowling, McDougle, Dixon and Patrick or Langster) with only McDougle and Dixon being unknowns. The other guys are all competent, with Patterson Walls and Dowling being potentially quite good.

        • Paul Newbold

          While very very early, Millner was pulled from activities due to a tightness in his hamstring. If this were in the regular season then what? Walls flashes, but has been inconsistent to this point. The Pats waited on Dowling since the 2011 draft to show consistency, they chose to let him go. Patterson has been inconsistent through his career in staying healthy, is another year older and coming off an injury. Langster again has flashed at times, even having some good stretches, but do you really think he’s a starter in this league? Nobody knows for sure how it will work out, but its troubling that having had cap room and 12 picks, that the secondary still is such a question mark.

    • RONBO19

      Danny, I think you hit the nail square on the head buddy.. Nobody knows for sure how this will work out or if the eventual starting corner is even on the team at this point. There is just too many things yet to happen to make any definitive determinations at this point. To many if’s & butts if you will.