What a difference one offseason can make. The NY Jets ended the 2021 NFL season with one of the poorest pass defenses in the league.
The team ranked 30th in passing yards allowed (4,409), 20th in passing touchdowns surrendered (28th), tied for 31st in total interceptions (7), and tied for 28th in QB completion percentage allowed (68.3%).
It could be legitimately argued that the Jets had the worst secondary in the NFL. Thankfully, they are no longer poised to occupy that space. Here's why.
The Anchor at Safety
A recent Pro Football Focus article outlines the Jets' secondary as their most improved unit at the conclusion of the free agency period.
Despite the loss of former high-value safety Marcus Maye to the New Orleans Saints, the franchise was able to rebuild its starting unit by signing veteran Jordan Whitehead. As an added boost, the Jets also made an under-the-radar move, adding former 49ers' safety/linebacker hybrid Marcell Harris.
Whitehead has made a name for himself as a hard-nosed safety who thrives near the ball. He projects as a tremendous asset to New York's run-stopping, with a PFF run-defense grade of 78.9 in 2021 (good for the eighth-best mark among safeties). Additionally, his 18-run stops tied for the fourth-most in the league.
As I'm sure many of you remember, the Jets were abysmal against the run last season. New York ranked fourth-worst in the league, allowing 2,351 rushing yards to opposing offenses throughout the regular season.
Whitehead will undoubtedly make his mark in the running game and against short-yardage passes. And if you're concerned about the Jets' ability to defend longer passes, fear not! Because...