The NY Jets know that free safety Marcus Gilchrist can be the key to the puzzle the team needs for continued success, even head coach Todd Bowles agrees.
For years the NY Jets struggled in the back end of their defense, constantly being torched by the elite tight ends of the NFL. Over the last decade of Jets football we’ve seen Eric Smith, Jim Leonhard and Kerry Rhodes to name a few. Now each of these guys shared some level of success with the Jets, but they weren’t all-worldly by any means.
— Jets TalkLine (@JetsTalkLine) March 13, 2015
Then this happened this past offseason, in most respects it was a very underrated signing. No one was talking about it on the major media networks, it flew completely under the radar. Which happens to be a Todd Bowles specialty, that’s how he likes it. So at his latest press conference ahead of their Week 6 match-up against the Washington Redskins, Bowles was asked a few questions about Marcus Gilchrist.
On the importance of Marcus Gilchrist to the communication on defense…
He’s the key to the puzzle. He runs everything. Very bright guy. Very good football player. He doesn’t just line people up. He makes plays. (He) studies. Real smart. Real mature. You can ask any one of the guys. He talks nonstop every play. He alerts everybody of everything that’s coming.
On what he saw in Gilchrist when he played for San Diego…
His versatility. He came out as a corner. He played nickel and he plays safety. And he’s tough enough to play safety. Although he’s not 6-2, 220, he’s tough. He’s very mature. He understands the game very well and he’s a very heady football player. You always like versatility.
Via the Media Relations Department
Oct 4, 2015; London, ENG; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry (14) drives through New York Jets free safety Marcus Gilchrist (21) and New York Jets defensive back Buster Skrine (41) during the second half at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports
Not only did the Jets add a versatile weapon to their secondary in Gilchrist, but the move allowed the Jets to slide their former first round pick Calvin Pryor back to his natural position, again another underrated move.
Gilchrist has made an immediate impact here with the Jets, not only from the game-changing plays on Sundays but also in the leadership department. He already has an interception this season, but he’s also swarmed to the football and has limited big-plays that doesn’t show up on the stat-sheet.
Bowles is onto something here; Gilchrist is the least talked about on this defense, but truly he is ‘the key to the puzzle’. When the Jets play the New England Patriots in the not so distant future, we’ll see if Gilchrist and company can slow down guys like Rob Gronkowski. That is when we’ll truly test Gilchrist’s coverage abilities when he’s across from one of the elite playing the position; that’ll be the ‘key’ to future victories.