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Jets Defense designed to suffocate the Patriots
As New England Patriots await the NY Jets, Rex Ryan is stunned he has to stick up for his vaunted defense
Jets defense to redeem itself against Patriots on Sunday after shaky start to their season
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, November 7 2011, 11:35 PM
If the Jets defense can match Sunday's performance against the Patriots in Week 10, Gang Green has an even better shot to win the division.
After Raiders running back Darren McFadden had run through the Jets’ defense in that miserable game at Oakland that kicked-started a run of three straight road losses, Rex Ryan looked like he had been sucker-punched.
Flash forward five weeks and there was a different scene being played out on the field against Buffalo Sunday. The defense had regained its hardnosed character, playing its most dominating game of the season.
Just in time for the renewal of the blood feud against a desperate New England Oatruits team, losers of two straight but still clinging to a share of the AFC East lead, the Jets’ defense has found its hammer. And it will need it.
“Both teams are going to be humming for this one,” Ryan said. “You can sugarcoat it all you want. They know they need it and we know we need it. Both teams are going to be hungry.”
Beyond this game, if the Jets are going to take the division, they will have to do so by force. The Jets can own the AFC East if the defense can lay down the law the way that it did against Buffalo on Sunday.
Safety Jim Leonhard said the defense wants to take the load.
“We want it on our backs. That’s the mentality that we have around here, starting with Rex and working all the way down,” Leonhard said Monday.
“We want to have that defense that you can count on and do whatever it takes to get our offense back on the field and keep giving them cracks at the end zone. That’s what we’ve been able to do the last couple of weeks and in order to have success the rest of the way out we’re going to have to continue to do that.”
During his press conference on Monday, Ryan was not beating his chest about the defense’s resurgence . He was rather subdued, lamenting the fact that the Jets yielded 280 yards and a late TD to the Bills.
“We’re not sticking our heads up yet,” Ryan said. “We’ll stick our heads up three weeks from now when we see where we’re at in our division.”
A cautious and subdued Ryan a day after a dominant defensive performance? What next? A ban on M&Ms?
Ryan believes the turning point actually arrived in the first Patriots game. He thought it was the first time the defense had played up to its talent level, even though the Jets lost.
Perhaps the defense started the year thinking it could live off its reputation. It didn’t take long to find out that wasn’t the case in a league where you have to prove yourself every week.
Leonhard said there was something just not right with the defense during the early part of the season.
“We weren’t playing the way that we felt like we should — the physical brand that type of football and the effort. Even though we won some games, something was a little bit off,” he said. “It’s hard to put your finger on, but you just keep working. We’ve hit our stride a little bit and we feel a lot more comfortable where we're at.”
Now the Jets defense has to try to make Tom Brady as uncomfortable in the pocket as the Steelers and the Giants were able to do the last two weeks. While they know they can’t take the same defensive game plan that they used against Buffalo and transfer it to the field against the Patriots, they realize they will need the same intensity and toughness.
After the win against Buffalo, a reporter prefaced a question to Ryan by referring to the Jets’ defense as “vanilla.” You would have thought the reporter had spit in Ryan’s soup. It’s one of the best ways to get under his skin, calling what the Jets defense does plain and ordinary.
Having linebacker Calvin Pace make an interception 20 yards down the field is anything but vanilla. It’s more like Rocky Road.
The problems that the Jets faced at Oakland — where they couldn’t contain the edges and McFadden had a field day on them — are over. They managed to keep Bills running back Fred Jackson under 100 yards rushing (82 on 18 carries) and they manhandled Buffalo’s receivers, knocking them off their routes and disrupting the timing of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Ryan couldn’t figure out the coverages the Jets threw at him and ended up with two costly interceptions — both by linebackers (Pace and David Harris).
“The way we’re built is to suffocate you in the third and fourth quarter. That’s our formula,” said fellow linebacker Bart Scott. “Everybody has a different formula. The Bills formula is to put points up and get turnovers. The Patriots is to outscore you and put you in a bad position where you have to try to keep pace with them. Our formula is to run the ball, play great defense and try to suffocate you at the end.”
ha maybe people are still questioning his defense because last time we were on a high and had a prime time game against new england that would give the winner the division lead we got beat 45-3.
not saying that's going to happen. i don't think it will. i'm feeling pretty positive right now.
but they do still need to prove that they are going to show up for every big game and for four quarters before people will stop questioning them.
no more 45-3 monday nights. or lazy losses to sorry afc west teams. or playing half-games like the championship game last season.
this is their chance to get everyone's respect. not to just take first place. to beat the patriots in prime time. a patriots team that is going to be fired up over two straight losses and non stop criticism. send them to three straight losses and get THEM doubting themselves for once.
this is their chance to put brady on his rear end and serve notice that they're here to stay this time.