In week two the Jets went 2-0 in another captivating performance against the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets haven’t gone 2-0 since 2011…
The record of 2-0 is certainly a great position to be in and with the unconvincing Eagles, who are yet to soar, are up next, making another Jets win potentially obtainable. Plus, as a side note, if the Jets were to arrive in London for week four undefeated, they would be the first team to do that. A cherry awaiting over the pond to top that cake if they manage to achieve it.
The majority of week two’s highlights once again came from this year’s formidable Jets defense, who once again notched five turnovers making it a grand total of 10 instwo games, only three short of last years total record under Rex Ryan and best by any Jets defence since 1969. Darrelle Revis’ efforts afforded him the AFC defensive player of the week after he caught an interception and recovered two fumbles.
Having said that, it was an all round great defence performance. We finally got to see our safeties making big plays. Pryor was commended for his 10 tackles and forced fumble against the Browns, but then went on to catch his first ever NFL interception, with Gilchrist following with another before game end. On offence, the performance was a little more frustrating, however, one that should still not go unappreciated. Chris Ivory was projected to have a huge game when the Colts allowed the Bills to rush for 147 yards, but was held to 57 yards off 14 carries, so it was inevitable this game wasn’t going to be won on the ground.
Thankfully, Chan Gailey took note. Finishing the game with 22/34 244 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, left Ryan Fitzpatrick a QBR rating of 71.9 compared to Andrew Luck’s 20.0 which wasn’t a bad haul. Fitz may have frustrated the fans as Jets had a worse 3rd down efficiency than the struggling Colts, at 4/12 33%, but what mattered was Fitz’ bullish efforts in the red zone, at ⅔ 66%. This showed that even though the Jets chain wasn’t moving as much as we hoped, the job was still getting done once it reached the end.
Yet strangely, with all of these great performances, the Jets are not in any of the top 5s. Naturally, maybe too soon for offence, but the defence? With this in mind, what do the Jets need to do to keep their current standards on course and continue to get better?
The accolade of top defence in the NFL would only naturally suit our defensively minded head coach, Todd Bowles, but this shouldn’t be unreachable. Like it was said, this Jets defence has the most turnovers to date in this 2015 season. These numbers may currently seem outstanding and could take a dip, but they shouldn’t. This Jets defence is talented; really talented and they need to not let up or take that foot off the gas. The Jets have capitalised on 31 points off turnovers besting their 2014 total, so this stat needs to keep progressing as the defence does. The defence has depth. We’ve already seen this with both Williams’ stepping up and let’s not forget (like we are) Sheldon Richardson is still yet to return. The secondary needs to keep tight and keep getting turnovers, the linebackers in Harris and Davis are too starting to gel and the line itself, it needs to keep it up. Keep gunning for that quarterback. Bring in those sacks. It’s performances like these that may prove useful when trying to claim one of the biggest prizes they can this regular season, conquering Tom Brady.
Coming off the back of the Colts game, the Jets need to concentrate harder on 3rd downs if they wish to continue further on this unbeaten run. This goes both for offence and defence. Cromartie himself recently spoke out about how important it was for the defence to “get off on third down” and to not let teams get “up tempo”. Even though week three’s opponents the Eagles have injury worries, what they also do have is a lot of talent on offence and a creative coach. Cromartie’s advice seems sensible and Revis’ desire to be “the best in the league” should not be ignored. This does of course go hand in hand with the offence too. Marshall recently stated that a lot of “meat was left on the bones” in Indianapolis and that the Jets offence should take advantage of the greater time they’re getting on the ball. Whilst the Jets are 6/9, 66% in the red zone, collectively Fitzpatrick and the offence are 11/25 on 3rd downs, that’s 44%. A number that needs improving if they wish to score more touchdowns, as realistically, if the defence keep their pace up and hold teams to below 20 points, it comes down to the offence simply being able to score more.
Someone that may be able to help Fitzpatrick and the Jets offence at completing downs is drafted wide receiver, Devin Smith who is returning from his injury he suffered in camp. Lately, Fitzpatrick has had an infatuation, one almost unwanted by the fans, for throwing deep. Yes it may give another dynamic from the offence, one in which makes the opposing defence worry, but when they have all gone so badly, we wonder why bother, especially when each down is so crucial. Well, when you have a stud wide out like Brandon Marshall, every bomb is worth a shot. Its very rare that he’s not doubled on, so take the chances when they come. Although, when we factor in returning Devin Smith, it may make defences think twice. If defenders are worried about doubling on Marshall, Smith, with his pace, could be free to go deep, allowing Fitz the chance to rekindle his ‘bomb’ love affair more successfully. If Smith can come even close to replicating his 27.7 yards per reception stat he built up in college, the Jets have another very useful threat.