Even though the New York Jets won a critical game to put their season back in the right direction, their defense continues to struggle.
For the entire offseason, all everyone heard was how good this defense was going to be. The New York Jets added speed to their defense and were counting on returning guys. Players such as cornerback Darrelle Revis, safety Calvin Pryor, and outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin.
So far, Revis has surrendered two touchdowns of 60+ yards. Not only did wide receiver A.J. Green catch every ball that came his way when covered by Revis, but Bills’ wide receiver Marquise Goodwin had 20 career catches in three seasons before Thursday’s contest.
Lorenzo Mauldin was poised to have a breakout year. Even if he didn’t improve, he could still amass 8-10 sacks by default; just playing with the likes of defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams, two premier players that command double teams.
We heard all offseason how these two players would improve, but they have actually hurt the team so far. Although it has only been two weeks, it is still concerning to see these players struggle mightily.
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The secondary of Gang Green was supposed to be much-improved.
The subtraction of cornerback Antonio Cromartie was supposed to make the Jets’ secondary faster.
So far, the Jets have given up way too many big plays, something that is unacceptable considering the standards of their defense.
Cornerback Buster Skrine has speed but is severely lacking in size, which makes it hard to have him press.
On the other hand, cornerback Marcus Williams and Revis lack speed, which also forces the Jets to play them in off coverage. While off coverage is a good strategy to maximize these corners’ abilities, it leaves them susceptible to quick outs and screens. The Jets, shockingly, have still given up big plays in off-coverage.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is not going to put up 375 passing yards every game, that goes without saying.
The Jets will need to ride their defense on many occasions in order to win football games. They will play some tough defenses, such as Kansas City, Seattle, and Baltimore. They need their defense to play together as a unit and be a very good one if they hope to make the NFL Playoffs.
Yes, it is early. It is realistic that Revis and the secondary as a whole live up to the expectations set before the season. Hopefully, the coaches use their corners to their strengths and are able to scheme around their weaknesses.
Mauldin should also get better with time, and due to being unblocked or blocked by a tight end on many occasions. Linebacker Calvin Pace had 10.5 sacks in 2013, most of them coming unblocked or blocked by a tight end. The stars on the defensive line for the Jets should create favorable matchups for him.