NFL: Jets defense hopes to ‘make amends’ for bad outing
AP Sports Writer
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) – Mike Pettine heard all the words used to describe the New York Jets’ defense performance at New England.
Embarrassing. Humiliating. Inexplicable.
The first-year defensive coordinator agrees with them all.
“We’re very eager to make amends,” Pettine said Thursday.
Tom Brady and the Patriots rolled up more than 400 yards against the Jets and scored at will in a 45-3 rout Monday night vs. a unit coach Rex Ryan still believes can be the best in the league.
“I’m not used to it, so I don’t really know how to act,” Ryan said. “The only thing I know we’re going to do is roll our sleeves up, go and come out fighting.”
That all starts Sunday when the Jets (9-3) take on the Miami Dolphins (6-6) at the Meadowlands, a game in which New York could clinch a playoff spot with a win and combinations of losses or ties by other AFC teams.
“After a game like that, you can’t wait to get back out there,” defensive end Mike DeVito said. “A win in the next game, and everybody will forget about the week before.”
Maybe not entirely. After all, this was supposed to be a defense that was even better than last year, when the Jets were ranked No. 1 overall but had lapses at the end of a few games. Instead, New York has been solid at times and suspect at others.
“We’re never going to be satisfied with where we’re at, especially with Rex holding that high standard for us,” DeVito said. “I don’t even know if that point is attainable for us. I mean, we were No. 1 in the league last year and we felt like we had a lot further to go.”
One thing’s for sure: This defense still has a ways to go. Sure, the Jets are ranked eighth overall, but they know better.
“The best thing for us is it was a short week,” Pettine said. “When you have as many things go wrong and play as poorly as we did – we played poorly and coached poorly – it’s the one good thing about the NFL. Unless it’s the last game of the year, there is next week.”
Pettine acknowledged that the loss of safety Jim Leonhard, who called the signals in the secondary, for the year to a broken shin affected the defense. But it wasn’t the only reason for the meltdown at Foxborough, Mass.
“We got overwhelmed,” Pettine said. “That’s a disappointing thing. All of us picked a bad time to put our worst effort forth, especially on that stage.”
The Jets failed to get much pressure on Brady, despite having two of the NFL’s active career sacks leaders in Jason Taylor and Trevor Pryce. Ryan wants Taylor, who said he was on the field for about 15 plays, more involved in the defense.
“I’m not happy with how we used him last week,” Ryan said. “This guy is a great football player and we need to use him more.”
Taylor, who leads the Jets with four sacks, played a lot early in the season while Calvin Pace missed four games with a broken foot. Taylor’s playing time has varied since, and he insists all he cares about is winning games. But, he acknowledged that for a pure pass rusher, it helps to be on the field as much as possible.
“Everybody wants to play and if there was anyone in this locker room that didn’t want to be on the field, I’d be disappointed in that person,” said Taylor, who has 131 1/2 career sacks. “If I get more snaps, then great. I feel like the more snaps I get, the better I play. I’ve always kind of been that guy that gets into a rhythm and a groove.”
The secondary has taken a hit recently with the loss of Leonhard as well as backup safety James Ihedigbo, who likely won’t play Sunday with a high ankle sprain. Eric Smith has assumed Leonhard’s duties of calling signals, and had a few rough moments against the Patriots.
“It’s definitely going to help that we have another week working together and getting the communication and calls,” Smith said. “It’s going to benefit us.”
The challenge this weekend will be taking on a Dolphins team that can run with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams and mix in the wildcat. Miami can also go to the air with Davone Bess and Brandon Marshall, who has missed two games with a hamstring injury but hopes to play Sunday.
“We just have to make sure that we play technically sound, communicate in the back end and just try to set a tempo from the beginning,” cornerback Antonio Cromartie said.
Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne has also had three solid performances against the Jets in his young career.
“He seems to struggle against everybody but us,” Pettine said.
Henne threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3, and Marshall caught 10 passes for 166 yards. The one big change this time is that Darrelle Revis will be out there for the Jets after missing that game with a hamstring injury.
“It’s a little different,” Cromartie said, “but I think as a defense, we want to still establish ourselves by playing aggressive and doing the things that we want to do.”
Pettine said the Jets have “borderline overprepared” for the wildcat, especially after the Dolphins hurt them with it last season. New York just wants to be ready for anything it sees, and come out with a much different result than a few days ago.
“If you dwell on it, it’s just going to roll over into the next week,” DeVito said. “You don’t want to make one bad game turn into two, three or four bad games. In the NFL, you’ve got to have a short-term memory.”