In 2006, the New York Jets defense has been integral in the overall team’s playoff run. The passing and rushing defenses may have been contradictory to each other (the Jets ranked 14th in passing defense and 24th in rushing defense), but overall, they held their own against opposing offenses. In points allowed per game, they were sixth with 18.4 points per game.
This year, however, the defense has proven to be a liability. The team is currently ranked 30th in yards allowed per game with 366.3 and 28th in points per game with 25.3. Also, they are tied for 24th overall in total sacks with 19. Even with the overall defense being a burden, the unit taking much of the flak has been the defensive line.
The objective of the defensive line is to clog up the opposition’s rushing attack. Through all of this season, they failed to do just that, allowing 150.5 rushing yards per game, second worst in the NFL. And even though Kenyon Coleman was more of a role player last season with Dallas, he managed to register four sacks. This season, in a starting role, he’s managed only 1.5. While his sack totals have been disappointing, it doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been very productive.
“Kenyon has been very productive, especially in the running game in terms of his number of tackles and the things that he does,” head coach Eric Mangini said. “The nice thing about him is he played in the system in Dallas, so he had all those reps built up.”
Coleman currently has 64 total tackles (46 solo, 18 assisted) and one fumble recovery, compared to the 30 tackles he registered in Dallas. Coleman was more of a role player in Dallas, and both he and Mangini can attest that it’s the amount of playing time given to Kenyon here in New York that could explain the increase in tackles.
“He was probably about a 30 to 35 percent play time guy there, so his reps have increased substantially here,” Mangini explained.
“I think it’s the playing time,” said Coleman. “In Dallas I started a couple games. Out of four years I started five times. It was just the different role I had there.”
Coach Mangini likes what he has seen in not only Coleman, but in the other defensive linemen as well. Both Shaun Ellis and Dewayne Robertson have four sacks each.
“Shaun has played a lot of different roles and provided a lot of pressure on the quarterback, especially of late,” he said. “I think Dewayne, same thing. He has more sacks this year than he’s had at any point in his career, and he’s another guy that you can plug in at a couple different spots.”
To some, going up against an 0-11 Dolphins squad with question marks in both the quarterback and running back positions doesn’t seem much of a challenge all. QB Trent Green won’t be behind center, as he is out for the season, thanks to another concussion coming at the hands of the Houston Texans. RB Ronnie Brown, the man who gave the Jets defense problems in their week 3 match-up, is also out for the year, as well as Ricky Williams, whose season was short-lived last week in Pittsburgh.
On paper, it looks to be an easy win. Don’t try telling that to the Jets.
“They still have been running the ball well,” said Ellis. “They do a great job of scheming runs, creating mismatches and finding open holes. Even though their running backs are down you still have to prepare for them, regardless of who’s running the ball.”
Sutton chats with media
Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton sat down with members of the media after practice to discuss the matters surrounding the defensive unit. The hot topic of the session involved the recent production of the defensive line.
“We got some guys who have really improved since the bye week. It’s not these quantum leaps, but it is the small techniques, the technical parts of their job,” he said. “I’m happy with their approach and ability to work hard. Those are some hard things to keep mentally as a player.”
Coach Sutton spoke highly of many of his linemen, but one he has been proud of was Coleman, especially with his transition from a role player in Dallas to a full-time starter in New York.
“He came here well-trained in the fundamentals of the defense because it was a similar style under Coach Parcells. That part was easy,” he replied. “He recognized what he was good at in our style and he’s been an improving guy. He’s physical, he’s strong at the point of attack and he’s done a really solid job.”
Jets bring in Brown, Ball; cut Collins loose
Yesterday, the Jets announced a slew of roster changes along with the release of veteran FB Darian Barnes. Kareem Brown was claimed off of waivers from the Patriots and David Ball was signed to the practice squad. At the same time, DB Manny Collins was released from the practice squad.
Ball, an undrafted rookie free agent with Chicago who holds the record for career touchdown receptions in NCAA’s I-AA division, has had multiple stints with the Bears before being released on September 24th.
Brown was picked in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Patriots, but did not see any action for all 11 games. Coach Mangini spoke highly of the University of Miami product in his presser.
“Kareem was a guy that was very productive in college, was able to press the passer, and has a significant amount of tackles for loss,” he explained. “He’s got very good height and weight for the position he’s played in a system like ours.”
Cotchery still MIA
With Sunday’s match-up against Miami approaching, there is still no word on the status of WR Jerricho Cotchery. Cotchery has an injured finger and was not in action at the Jets facility for all of this week. Mangini said that he will talk to the medical staff to see where they are with the situation.
Practice was held today inside the bubble, and the players donned the Titans helmets they will be wearing Sunday along with their regular practice gear. The session during the half-hour given to the press for team access remained steadfast, with stretching, position drills, and special teams on display. Nothing more, nothing less.
INJURY REPORT (as of 11/29)
Did Not Participate in Practice: WR Jerricho Cotchery (finger)
Limited Participation in Practice: DB David Barrett (hip), WR Laveranues Coles (ankle), TE/LS James Dearth (foot), DL Dewayne Robertson (knee)
Full Participation in Practice: TE Chris Baker (back), WR Chris Davis (shoulder), TE Joe Kowalewski (shoulder), DL CJ Mosley (shoulder), WR Brad Smith (back)
Did Not Participate in Practice: DT Vonnie Holiday (ankle), LB Zach Thomas (migraine)
Limited Participation in Practice: RB Jesse Chatman (ankle), DE Matt Roth (groin)