What has happened to the promising defense of Jets?

The overall defense of the New York Jets has been a complete letdown after the first quarter of the season. What has happened to such a promising defense?

The defense of the New York Jets was expected to be a top-five unit, as it was last year. They added new talent as their defense got younger and added speed at linebacker in Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins.

The Jets got rid of older, unproductive players such as cornerback Antonio Cromartie and linebacker Calvin Pace. They were hoping young players such as safety Calvin Pryor and outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin would build on their promising 2015 campaigns.

Well, through five weeks of the season, the defense is one of the worst in the NFL. Pryor and Mauldin have hurt the team, as well as Darrelle Revis, who has fallen off a cliff compared to his stellar 2015 season. The Jets’ secondary, which was supposed to be a strength, has been torn apart week in and week out.

The defensive line, after compiling seven sacks in Week 1, has been silent the past four weeks. Although Leonard Williams has seven sacks and has established himself as a rising star in the league, his fellow teammates aren’t up to par.

Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson have combined for a minuscule 1.5 sacks. The Jets have once again decided to play Richardson at outside linebacker, something they pledged not to do before the season. The Jets are attempting to compensate for their lack of any competent edge rushers for the second straight year.

Due to a lack of confidence in the secondary, head coach Todd Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers have played simple zone coverage and are playing the corners 8-10 yards off of the line of scrimmage.

This has led to teams repeatedly throwing quick screens that are eating up the Jets. They also aren’t tackling well, which certainly doesn’t help. Bowles was thought of as one of the better defensive minds due to his willingness to blitz in any situation. Now, he has essentially abandoned blitzing due to a lack of trust in his secondary to hold up in coverage.

The Jets are 1-4 at this point in time. They might as well challenge their corners to play press coverage. This way, at least their excellent defensive line will not go to waste. By playing off coverage, teams are neutralizing the Jets’ defensive line by getting rid of the ball instantly.

Bowles has failed in every aspect of coaching this year. That includes game planning, game management and adjusting on defense. He should be capable of fixing the defense, even if that means taking over the play-calling temporarily from Rodgers.

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