It’s no secret: the Jets’ secondary has been frighteningly poor through the first half of the season. Darrelle Revis gets all the headlines, but the entire group has combined to be ranked worst in the league in total passing defense.
It has to be somewhat surprising and very embarrassing for the Jets, and Todd Bowles admitted Friday that it’s something that bothers him.
“Yeah, we’re last in the league,” he said.
“I’m right with Todd, I agree with him. Nobody’s happy being 32nd,” Revis added.
On paper the Jets secondary didn’t look like it would be this bad coming into the season, and it’s also Bowles’ area of expertise: he was a defensive back as a player and was a secondary coach before he became a coordinator and head coach. That, he said, doesn’t make the unit’s struggles any worse for him though.
“I take everything personally,” Bowles said. “I’m the head coach. Whether it’s the secondary, the running game or anything else, I take it personally.”
The players certainly recognize that Bowles has plenty of experience in this area, though.
Browns’ Terrelle Pryor makes a catch in front of Darrelle Revis and Marcus Williams.
(Jason Miller/Getty Images)
“It’s his defense and he has trust in us,” Marcus Williams said. “As a player who is being coached by a former player who played in this league and coached in this league for a long time and done it very well, you want to go out there and make sure he looks good.”
The confusing part of the Jets’ struggles is that they have, at times, shied away from what they are built to do: play press man coverage. After the team’s win against the Ravens two weeks ago, Buster Skrine lauded the fact that the Jets had gotten back to their specialty, which limited Baltimore to just 189 passing yards and no offensive touchdowns.
But despite that success, the cornerbacks, and particularly Revis, veered away from that plan at the start of the team’s contest against the Browns, playing soft coverage and allowing plenty of underneath passes.
The outside cornerbacks in Bowles’ system have the choice of whether to play press or off coverage, and at halftime of the Browns game agreed — with coaxing from their coaches — that they needed to adjust and play press in the second half against the Browns. That change helped spark the team’s turnaround in the second half.
“I mean the coaches said, but we (knew) we gotta do it too,” Williams said of the team’s halftime adjustments. “We knew what it was. The coaches said come down there and it’s press man from now on.”
Why it took so long for the team to get back to that plan is somewhat of a mystery. It’s probably driven by fear of getting beat by the deep ball, but the allowance of underneath routes has been a major cost to the Jets. Williams said the secondary has to “do what we do. Do what we know that we’re capable of. They brought us all in here because we’re press corners.”
Gang Green has an odd defense in that the team’s secondary has been atrocious, but the run defense is ranked No. 1 in the league. That’s hard to do when they’ve been down in a good number of games too.
Williams astutely pointed out that when the Jets play off coverage, it gives opponents an alternative to the run game.
“We can’t keep giving up little passes, because that’s what’s getting ‘em going,” he said. “Because they can’t run on us. Those short passes that we’re probably giving up for playing off, that’s their run game.”
Both Williams and Revis expressed optimism that, despite the secondary’s brutal start to the year, that they could turn it around.
“We dug our own holes,” Revis said. “We’ve got to put the dirt back in the hole and just cover it up and pat it with the shovel a little bit.”
“From the beginning we probably haven’t done our job,” Williams added. “But we’re going to turn this thing around.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News