By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
Text to Jets’ defense.
You have a golden opportunity to show your mettle and get back on track against the Arizona Cardinals today with a 1 p.m. kickoff at Met Life.
It is time. Yes, it does look like a mismatch with the seven-point favorite Cardinals against hapless 0-4 Jets. There will be a sense of urgency for both teams.
Still, the Jets’ defense has to get it done. They are healthy, and the full cast should be on board.
Arizona (2-2) is making the trip cross country and saddled in a two-game losing streak with an offense that hasn’t reached its potential. Arizona quarterback Kyle Murray was held to 133 passing yards by Carolina last week in spite of 24 completions.
This was supposed to be a Jets’ defense that would rise to an occasion like this one. Instead, they have mired in mediocrity giving up nearly 33 points per contest.
The unit embarrassed themselves 10 days ago when they committed a rash of personal fouls and couldn’t stop a sluggish Denver team that made a third-string quarterback look like John Elway most of the night.
Head coach Adam Gase, who continues to have his share of turmoil on the hot seat, raised the intensity of practices this week and knows it is time.
The biggest thing for me is, let’s play a cleaner game,” stated Gase. “For me, last week was a great indication of we beat ourselves. Denver made the plays, when we gave them the opportunity to make those plays by extending drives.
“That wasn’t what we could do against those guys. We couldn’t give them more chances than what they had. For us on offense, it’s finishing in the red zone. Executing, being in the right spots, getting the ball to the right guy, doing things the right way. And all the things that we’re practicing, let’s take it from the practice field to the game.”
They need to look themselves in the mirror and out the clamps on quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver De’Andre Hopkins.
Safety Marcus Maye also has seen an elevated commitment from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who has been hard pressed for answers.
“He’s turned it up a notch,” said Maye about Williams. “There’s no room for error. A guy like Hopkins will make plays when he gets the opportunity. We can’t allow him to get the ball.
Maye realizes the sense of growing sense of accountability.
“That’s the nature of the business,” said Maye in reference to players’ possibly losing their jobs. “we just have to continue to push and work hard.”
Linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who has been critical of the coaching staff along with fellow linebacker Avery Williamson, recalled how the team turned a wallowing 1-7 campaign last year into a promising 6-2 finish.
“Yeah, that shows that guys give a (bleep),’’ Jenkins said. “In the past, there were teams where guys were losing and were like, ‘OK, we’re losing, eventually we’ll get it right,’ and then doing the same thing and getting the same results.”
We’ve yet to see what was expected from a unit that was highly regarded last season and appeared to have all the pieces in place for 2020. With an offense that has been decimated with injuries and in effectiveness, the onus is on the defense.
“We have to scratch and claw for a win,” added Maye.
They will especially if the Arizona offense finds its rhythm. Yet, anything less than a stellar performance against Arizona won’t be acceptable.