New York Jets Mid-Season Report: Defense


Dec 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets players and coaches observe a moment of silence in honor of the shooting victims of Sandy Hook elementary school before the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. From left: quarterback Mark Sanchez (6), coach Rex Ryan and defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman and cornerback Ellis Lankster (26). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the halfway point in the 2014 season, so today, we bring your part two of our three part “Mid-Season” review. Believe it or not, there actually are things to discuss, even with a 1-7 football team. The season has not been kind to our beloved New York Jets, as we all are far too familiar with. But, there are some positives to discuss in today’s report.

Yesterday, we talked about the offense. This morning, Rex Ryan’s bread and butter, the Jets defense, takes center stage. Turn the page and let’s get going.

Sep 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end

Muhammad Wilkerson

(96) reacts after the Detroit Lions scored a touchdown at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The defensive line has been the highlight of the Jets season so far, and it has not been close. Despite the recent troubles against running backs, the Jets still rank fifth in rushing defense, giving up only 85.4 yards per game. That trend may continue in a downward spiral if other teams have figured the Jets out, but for now, they are still considered good against the run.

The pass rush has been there as well, with Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson combining for eight sacks. Add Jason Babin, Leger Douzable, and Quinton Coples, and thats a total of 12 from defensive line players. The Jets can get to the quarterback, but it is not consistent enough. In tight games, they have not been able to get a consistent pass rush going to get a sack when needed. Same can be said for turnovers. When the Jets need a big play on defense, they can’t get it.

Sep 7, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets linebacker

Calvin Pace

(97) tries to get past Oakland Raiders tackle

Khalif Barnes

(69) at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Raiders 19-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The linebackers, led by Calvin Pace, have also been able to get to the quarterback. Calvin Pace has posted four sacks, good for second on the team behind Muhammad Wilkerson. The development of Demario Davis has been stellar, to go along with the ever-present David Harris, leaves the Jets with a good one-two punch at linebacker, with Harris and Davis as two of the three top tacklers on the team.

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Again, the biggest problem is consistency. Too many times, they are caught in mis-matches against opposing tight ends, wide receivers, ..etc. None of them could be considered great pass defenders. They do also contribute to the problem of the lack of turnovers. To become a great defense, the Jets need someone to be able to step up and force a turnover when they need it most. They don’t have that, and that will impede the team development until they do.

Oct 26, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver

Sammy Watkins

(14) runs with the ball past New York Jets free safety

Calvin Pryor

(25) and cornerback

Darrin Walls

(30) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Bills won 43-23. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Saved everyone’s favorite group for last. The New York Jets “secondary”, in quotes because they are that in position name only. This group is very bad. Injuries haven’t helped, but neither has the lack of replacements. Darrin Walls is being exposed, never more than last week against Sammy Watkins. Antonio Allen is moving between positions and doesn’t know which end is up. Calvin Pryor is playing an unnatural safety spot. The whole thing is a mess, and teams expose the Jets for the aforementioned mess every week. It’s very bad.