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No Sophmore Slump For Vilma

By Justin Paley
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
December 1st, 2005
Jets 2nd year LB Jonathan Vilma leads the team with 131 tackles this season. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Jets 2nd year LB Jonathan Vilma leads the team with 131 tackles this season. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
While the Jets offense has been decimated by injury with numerous players being shifted around and starting, the Jets defense has remained relatively intact. That’s why it’s so puzzling why the Jets defense has struggled this year.

The Jets have allowed 310.5 yards per game, 11th in the league and 136.9 rushing yards per game, third to last in the NFL.

“It’s been disappointing in the fact that the way we’re getting beat in the running game has nothing to do with physical; it’s a lot of mental,” Jets LB Jonathan Vilma said.

Vilma, last year’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, has kept up his level of play, leading the Jets and the NFL with 131 tackles and has the numbers to be a Pro Bowl player this season.

The Jets have lost six games in a row but Vilma said the team is staying together. “We had that from the get-go,” Vilma said. “In the beginning of the season, I knew we had tough guys or character guys so that was never an issue. It was just for whatever reason we were not executing or we had a lot of guys injured.”

Because of the offense’s inability to move the ball, the defense has been on the field a lot but Vilma would not take a shot at the offense. “The offensive play has been improving the last couple weeks, aside from the Denver game, but they’ve been doing a good job and it’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t pull it off in the end,” Vilma said.

The Jets only have 16 sacks this season and Vilma was asked why. “It’s frustrating but it’s a combination of a couple things,” Vilma said. “It’s not the d-line, not anybody in particular it’s a combination of things and we just have to improve on certain issues in certain areas to get everything up.”

Vilma said one of the reasons is because teams have been able to build up big leads and don’t need to pass the ball.

Vilma said the Jets aren’t going to New England just to put up a good fight. “We’re definitely going there to win the game,” Vilma said. “Putting up a good fight and keeping it close are not our objective; we’re out there to win the game. We’re not even trying to let them know anything, we’re trying to win.”

The Jets-Patriots rivalry has not been fun for Vilma. “Everyone gets up for the game, the crowd, both times we played them last year, the crowd was into it,” Vilma said. “It’s a very exciting game; it’s too bad that we lost. If we would’ve won one of those games, it would’ve made the rivalry more intense.”

INJURY REPORT

DT Sione Pouha (calf) was upgraded to probable from questionable and practiced today. RB Curtis Martin (knee) and S Rashad Washington (hip/quad) did not practice for a second straight day and both are probable.

-RB Derrick Blaylock (ankle): Out
-QB Jay Fiedler (shoulder): Out
-DT Sione Pouha (calf): Probable
-CB David Barrett (eye): Probable
-RB Curtis Martin (knee): Probable
-S Rashad Washington (hip/quad): Probable

Check back to Jets Insider.com for a full preview of the Jets-Patriots game and all the latest Jets news.

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