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A loss would put big dent in Jets defense’s resurgence – The Hamden Journal

A loss would put big dent in Jets defense’s resurgence

Defensively, the Jets’ turnaround from last season to this season cannot be overstated.

They were horrible in 2021, ranked last in the league both in most points allowed (504) and most yards allowed (6,670). This season, the Jets have yielded the fifth-fewest points in the league (282) and fourth-fewest yards (4,899).

There’s little question the Jets, because of their aggressive defense, would be a team no one wants to play in the postseason — if they can only get there.

This is what’s been eating at linebacker, team captain and Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley of late. It pains him to imagine the playoffs taking place without the Jets.

The problem is this: They enter Sunday’s game in Seattle riding a four-game losing streak and needing to win their final two games (along with one New England loss) to qualify for the postseason.

C.J. Mosley, tackling the Bills’ Nyheim Hines during a game earlier this season, said it would sting if the Jets defense was not in the playoffs.
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

“These past few weeks, the main thing that’s had me in a bitter mood is thinking about being at home on the couch watching the playoffs with our defense not playing in it,’’ Mosley told The Post. “There’s so much work we’ve put in, all the things we’ve done this year to make our defense better. We’ve got the stats to show it, and it’s going to hurt real bad if we’re watching TV in the playoffs and seeing other defenses out there and not ours, playing against teams that we know we can play against.

“Only one way to fix that and that’s to handle our business, not look at the big picture and take it one day at a time.’’

Go beat Seattle.

“We’ve got to get it,’’ Mosley said.

The recent plight of the defense has been about zero margin for errors. The offense has produced four touchdowns in the past four games, putting the defense in position to have to pitch shutouts.

Two games ago against the Lions, it was a 51-yard catch-and-run TD with 1:49 remaining by a little-used tight end who safety Jordan Whitehead forgot to cover that was the difference in a 20-17 loss. Last week, it was a 96-yard drive by the Jaguars that was a centerpiece to a 19-3 loss.

“We understand that, because of the standard we’ve set, those type of things, giving up that long drive won’t be tolerated, won’t be accepted,’’ defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins told The Post. “We understand who we are and how great we can be, and giving up that drive was unacceptable.’’

Defensive tackle John Franklin-Myers, like Mosley and Rankins, refused to accept any excuse for the slip-ups the past two games.

“It’s our job to get off the field and give the offense good field position,’’ he said. “That 96-yard drive was completely on us. We had them backed up and just made mistakes. Stuff like that just can’t happen. We’ve just got to be better.’’

Said Mosley: “You look at the numbers from last year and you can say, ‘Wow, we’ve improved by leaps and bounds with what we have accomplished this year.’ It’s easy for us to say, ‘Hey, the offense has got to score more,’ or, ‘We’ve only given up one touchdown and a field goal.’

“If we feel we’re that great, let’s stop them from getting that one more field goal, let’s not give up that one big play. Let’s try to be perfect on every single play. Some people can look at it as we need more help [from the offense] or we can look at it as, ‘Hey, we’ve got all the help that we need, let’s try to do better.’

“That’s our mentality, trying to take our defense to the next level.’’

Defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich on Thursday echoed Mosley’s sentiments about what a waste it would be for this defense not to have a crack at the playoffs.

“This defense absolutely has expectations to dominate every time we’re on the field, regardless of circumstance,’’ Ulbrich said. “We play this game to go to the playoffs, to win it all, to win the Super Bowl, absolutely.’’

Ulbrich and his players said the standard that’s been set this season is not what’s been on display the past two games.

“For the good things that we did do the last couple of games, there’s absolutely zero men in that entire defensive room that are happy with our effort, and would say that’s our standard,’’ he said. “They believe there’s an absolute other place that we can go as far as that’s concerned. They recognize the fact that we have improved, but we are not the defense that we can be yet. Yeah, we’re playing good, but there’s another place we can go.’’