After an encouraging Week 1 performance defensively, the Jets took a step back against the Cleveland Browns last week. While Gang Green won its first game of the season 31-30, the defense allowed 131 more yards than it did against the Ravens in Week 1.
“I have to do a better job of communicating,” Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said. “Do I want to attack the ball, absolutely because that’s what we do.
“As we all know, it is the most historic statistic in terms of winning, taking the ball. In the player’s minds, that was their mindset in changing the course of this game by getting turnovers. In doing that, we failed to tackle as well as we should. I definitely have to be more conscious of that as far as telling them you have to wrap this guy up. We didn’t do a good enough job of that, coaching and players.”
The Jets lost their season opener to the Ravens 24-9, but their defense held quarterback Lamar Jackson to 17 yards rushing. In total, New York gave up 274 yards, but the big plays throughout the game were the difference.
A week later against the Browns, the Jets’ defense looked like a completely different unit. Cleveland gained 405 total yards against the Green and White, and running back Nick Chubb had 87 of those yards, including three rushing touchdowns.
This week, Gang Green is facing a Cincinnati Bengals offensive line that’s been the worst in football through the first two weeks. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been sacked 13 times during that span, which leads the league.
The Bengals also have one of the best running backs in football in Joe Mixon, who has 139 yards rushing, which is the 11th best.
“It always starts with the run game,” Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “A lot of their runs are similar to last week when we faced the Browns.
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“We will be expecting to see some of those same runs that the Browns were successful with. We tried to mirror Cincinnati’s run style and obviously their pass game with Burrow and Chase and they have some threats down the field.”
The problem for the Jets is their pass rush has been nonexistent during the first two weeks of the season as they have three sacks which is tied for 27th.
What might help is the Bengals will be without one of their starters on the offensive line. Bengals right tackle La’el Collins has missed the last two days of practice due to a back injury. According to Pro Football Focus, he is coming off a subpar performance against the Cowboys where he was credited for giving up two hurries, two quarterback hits and one sack.
With a quarterback like Burrow and receivers like Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, getting consistent pressure is a must for the Bengals this week.
“It’s got to be better, we all think that it’s got to be better, obviously,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “The first week, fully understood with the fact that we were playing Lamar [Jackson].
“This week, and I’m not making excuses for the guys, but just presented us with a different challenge with how much they run the ball, play action, pass, max pro, all the different things that they were doing, but when we get our opportunities for one on one’s, we’ve got to win and we’ve got to keep the quarterback in the pocket and we’ve got to play and we’ve got to be able to rush as a unit.
“It hasn’t been bad, I’m not saying that, you just want more. I’m d-line driven, everyone knows that, and just so, I think I’ve said before to whom much is given, much is required and so, just expecting a little bit more out of that group.”
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