Rex Ryan is a defensive genius.
Throughout his career, he has formed widely feared defenses. Even in 2011, a season when the New York Jets had that unprecedented implosion, the defense was ranked 5th in the NFL. All offseason, we were promised that the Jets would have that top ranked offense again. There were acquisitions that would seemingly back that up. The Jets signed strong safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell and drafted defensive end Quinton Coples in the first round.
Fast forward to week 1 of the regular season, where the Jets’ defense kicked the crap out of the Buffalo Bills. This game, although thrilling and entertaining, gave us all false hope. The following week against the Pittsburgh Steelers snapped us back into the unfortunate reality that there are major problems with our defense.
Week 3 against the division rival Miami Dolphins should be much easier, right? After all, it’s Miami. They have a rookie quarterback and a worse situation at wide receiver than the Jets. So that should be a breeze for the defense, right?
The defense was mediocre at best against the Dolphins. There were two big plays: A forced fumble by Kendrick Ellis recovered by Darrelle Revis and a pick-6 by LaRon Landry. Yes, forcing two turnovers is huge, especially in a game that was so close. But shouldn’t we expect that kind of thing against a team like Miami? Of course. But we shouldn’t expect Miami to score 20 points against our so-called elite defense. That final drive, where Miami was able to march down the field and kick a field goal, forcing the game into overtime should not have been allowed. There was less than a minute left in the game, and a 19 yard pass interference penalty on Kyle Wilson gave Miami a 1st down on 3rd & 10. Unacceptable.
That was not the first successful 3rd down conversion. The Dolphins were quite efficient in this area—10-of-19. The majority of these 3rd downs were 3rd & longs. This should not be happening to an elite defense, but it seems to be becoming somewhat of an Achilles heel. After the loss to the Steelers, Rex Ryan addressed this issue, saying that the “biggest thing was not getting [the Steelers] off of the field on third down”. The Steelers were 8-of-15 on 3rd down conversions. Even Buffalo had some kind of success on 3rd down. They were 6-of-9.
The next issue the defense had was their pass rush, or lack thereof. This is just another crucial element of an elite defense that was missing, and frankly has been missing all season. There were zero sacks on Ryan Tannehill and he had all the time in the world to throw. Again, this is becoming a huge problem. There weren’t any sacks on Ryan Fitzpatrick in week 1 and only three sacks on Roethlisberger for a combined loss of 10 yards. It’s week 3 and there have only been three sacks? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Another theme for the Jets’ defense: missed tackles. How many times did a Miami running back or receiver get tagged for what would have been a loss, but then magically and inexplicably got away and gained yards? Too many times to count. The Jets’ linebackers and safeties are fast, but they need to be powerful and follow through with the tackles. It looks like they give up halfway or think they have the player pinned. But, as it turns out they don’t. The camera then pans to Rex on the sidelines and he’s just shaking his head in disgust. You know what Rex, we all are.
The bad news just keeps coming for the Jets. The worst thing that could ever happen to the Jets defensively happened. Superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis is out for the season with a torn ACL. These are huge cleats to fill. That means that it’s on for Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson. Remember when these two stepped up against the Steelers when Revis was out for a concussion? No? That’s because they didn’t.
Angie Kozak is the New York Jets writer for The Penalty Flag. Angie has had NY Jets season ticket for 13 straight seasons and counting. She graduated from Penn State University in 2010 with a degree in Communications. Although a lifelong diehard Jet fan, Angie can be outspokenly critical of her beloved
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