The New York Jets: .500 Team, .500 Defense?

By Alan Schechter

Oct 13, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) eludes the tackle of New York Jets defensive back Ellis Lankster (21) after making a catch during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Steelers won the game 19-6. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets are 3-3. They have shown some glimpses of the ability to be great, and they have shown glimpses of what the “experts” thought they would be. They are up, and they are down. Geno Smith is up and down, all ingredients that produce a .500 team.

But what about the defense? The defense, as usual, ranked in the top ten statistically, thanks to the return of Rex Ryan to the play calling. They have kept the team in almost every game all year-long. However, if we look at the team grades, courtesy of PFF, we see a bit of a different story.

Forgetting the stats for a minute, look at the “eye” test.  We have all “seen” that the Jets have been stout against the run.  The PFF grade reflects that, as the Jets have a grade against the run of 54.9.  The second best team, the Chiefs, barely grade higher than a 29.

The Jets’ front seven is dominant against the run.

However, the back-end of the Jets’ defense has been a liability, for the first time in many years.  Despite the high-ranking as a team, it doesn’t pass the eye test.  Antonio Cromartie, and others, have been beaten badly all season long.  Teams have been able to throw on them, seemingly whenever necessary, and the PFF grade reflects the same.

PFF has graded the Jets pass defense at -27.6, good for 31st out of 32 teams in the entire league.  The only team worse is the Washington Redskins with a grade of  -28.7.

Everything about this team is .500.  If the offense produces even results, and the defense produces even results, the record will reflect that as well.