Posts Tagged ‘Secondary’

Secondary issues: Geno not the only problem

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Geno Smith might be the poster boy for the Jets’ struggles this season – the guy that gets the headlines and elicits the most talk radio debate – but he’s not the only one to blame.

No, the Jets have a secondary problem, namely, problems with their secondary.

Geno Smith will get most of the coverage this week but he's not the only one to blame. The Jets secondary has struggled mightily this season and it's becoming an issue.

“The big play is the Achilles’ heel of our defense,” said head coach Rex Ryan before playing the Baltimore Ravens, a game in which the Jets secondary gave up two pass plays over 60 yards.

“That’s it, that is what’s preventing us from being an elite defense right now,” he added. “Obviously, we’re playing the run better than anybody in the league and it’s not close.”

And Ryan is right. In almost every context, the Jets have the league’s best run defense. They’re holding opponents to 2.85 yards per rush, which is tops in the league by almost a full yard, and Football Outsiders ranks them first in rush defense by nearly 10 percent.

But once the ball is in the air, particularly deep down field, the Jets struggle mightily and it’s becoming too hard to ignore.

From 2009-2011, Football Outsiders had the Jets pass defense ranked in the top four, holding the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in ‘09 and ‘11, respectively. Even without All-Pro Darrelle Revis for much of 2012, they were ranked in the top 10.

But this season, Football Outsiders have the Jets ranked 16th in pass defense, giving up 11.33 yards per pass, which is well below the league average. They struggle against opponent’s No. 1 wide receiver, allowing 84.9 yards per game, and are nearly last in the league (30th) against opponent’s No. 2 wide receivers.

If only the Jets had a shutdown corner, you know, the type of player who could take away the opponent’s No. 1 weapon. Maybe someone with his own island?

Not to say that the loss of Revis is to blame for the secondary’s problems this year or that the Jets wouldn’t do that deal a thousand times over if it meant getting Sheldon Richardson in return. But it’s clear that Ryan’s once dominant secondary is in sharp decline.

Looking for some type of solution, Ryan had the secondary running “Buddy Ryan” pass defense drills all last week to help them with the deep ball. It didn’t work.

Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith still beat former All-Pro cornerback Antonio Cromartie with 60-yard pass and both rookie Dee Milliner and the newly acquired Ed Reed saw Joe Flacco drop a 66-yard dime right in between their outstretched arms.

Cromartie is clearly not himself, either because of a nagging hip injury or natural decline. Reed was brought in merely as a stopgap and Milliner has struggled so publically that he’s been benched for Darrin Walls on more than one occasion.

But both Ryan and his players believe a turnaround is coming.

“For us, it comes off as, they see us as this and we know we’re something different,” said Walls. “We take it as a challenge. We know we’ve given up the deep ball in the past couple games and that’s one thing we want to stop. We want to burn that fire out and give them something else to talk about. Now it’s the deep ball, so we have to take care of that.”

And how can they be so confident?

“Because I’ve seen it and done it,” said Ryan.

Jets sign safety Ed Reed

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — The New York Jets announced Thursday morning that they have signed free agent safety Ed Reed a day after clearing waivers following his release from the Houston Texans.

Reed, a nine-time Pro-Bowler, Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and future Hall-of-Famer, will be at practice with the Jets on Thursday and is available to play in the team’s game on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

The Jets' brass took a flier on future Hall-of-Fame safety Ed Reed, who will be at practice on Thursday and in Buffalo on Sunday.

To make room on the roster for Reed, the Jets also announced the release of outside linebacker Ricky Sapp.

Head coach Rex Ryan hinted on Wednesday that he’d like to have a reunion with Reed, whom he coached for seven seasons while with the Ravens.

“Look, the way I am, I could say absolutely yes. I would like [Reed] on our team. And I’ll say that knowing that you guys know me,” Ryan told reporters on Wednesday, mentioning that he’d also like to have back Ray Lewis, Alan Faneca and Trevor Pryce among others.

Now the reunion is a reality.

The veteran safety will join a Jets secondary that has struggled at times, ranking 14th in league in pass defense according to Football Outsiders. Reed will play alongside former Raven and teammate Dawan Landry, the up-and-coming Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett, but his playing time for Sunday remains unknown.

Reed signed a three-year, $15 million contract with Houston in the offseason before undergoing hip surgery, missing the first two games, losing his starting job and then ultimately getting cut. He has no interceptions, no pass breakups and 16 tackles on the season.

“He’s going to land somewhere and create havoc. I’d love to have him here,” said Jets tight end Kellen Winlsow on Wednesday, who was a teammate of Reed’s while at the University of Miami.

Now, the hope is Reed will reek havoc for the Jets.