Five New York Jets Secondary Myths Heading Into Week 1

Joe Caporoso on five secondary myths on the New York Jets heading into week 1

A quick heads up on what we will have on the way for the rest of kickoff week. Tomorrow, is our staff prediction roundtable and podcast live at 8 PM right here (make sure to subscribe!). Thursday, I’ll have my 30 pack of season predictions for the team and then from there we’ll have our normal Friday-Sunday coverage leading into the Oakland game…

Final roster notes: The Jets added WR/ST Walter Powel, who was a sixth round pick of the Arizona Cardinals. Powell has the look of a guy who is more likely to help on specials than offense. 2014 Jets draft picks Quincy Enunwa and Jeremiah George have been added to the practice squad (leaving six 2014 draft picks on roster, two on IR, and two on the practice squad). AJ Edds has been signed back to the roster. Finally, the team cut Ellis Lankster and added Phillip Adams at cornerback. Some may be surprised by the Lankster release but his special teams role seemed to be replaced by Saalim Hakim and he struggled heavily on defense in the pre-season finale. The team likely sees more defensive upside from Adams and the recently added Leon McFadden.

Five quick hitting secondary myths you are going to hear slammed over your head in the coming days…

1 – The Jets entire secondary is awful – When discussing the Jets cornerback situation, it has become an easy, lazy narrative to call the entire secondary awful. The Jets aren’t awful at safety. They have first round pick Calvin Pryor, who flashed all pre-season. They have a competent starter in Dawan Landry and are likely to have Antonio Allen back in the mix bouncing between corner and safety when Dee Milliner returns from injury. Allen had a strong season in 2013 and is an ascending player in Rex Ryan’s defense.

2 – The new secondary additions are critical components – It is easy to make jokes about Phillip Adams and Leon McFadden being critical components in the Jets defense immediately. In reality, the Jets secondary is about Darrin Walls, Antonio Allen, Dee Milliner, Calvin Pryor, Dawan Landry and to a lesser extent Kyle Wilson. When Milliner returns, look for plenty of three safety looks as Rex Ryan looks to get his best 11 on the field.

3 – Dee Milliner is dead –  He should actually be back in week 2 or week 3. His return should add some stability to the cornerback position, particularly if he is the player he was last December and early in the pre-season.

4 – Darrin Walls is automatically awful because he isn’t a big name – He was actually competent in limited action last year and played well this pre-season. All-Pro? No. League average starter? Very possible. Better than one legged Antonio Cromartie in 2013…

5 – About Last Year – The Jets had the 22nd ranked pass defense in the NFL and went 8-8 with a worse secondary from top to bottom. Antonio Cromartie and Ed Reed were playing 90% of the defensive snaps basically on one leg. Walls physically can’t play worse than the crippled 2013 Cromartie we saw, same goes for Pryor and/or Allen compared to Reed. Beyond that, if healthy…it is hard to see Milliner not being a better version of his rookie self.

We aren’t here to tell you that the Jets are going to have a top ten passing defense or that cornerback isn’t the team’s weakest position. It is. Yet, the hand wringing over one position (assuming Milliner is back in week 2 or 3) out of 22 has reached insane levels. It is entirely in the realm of possibility that the Jets improve to be higher than the 22nd ranked passing defense this year. Should you be doing cartwheels over a bottom third ranking? No, but it isn’t locked into being dead last in the NFL like many are automatically assuming. Every team is going to have a weakness and the Jets cornerback situation isn’t going to torpedo them into a sub .500 mess in 2014.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports