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It doesn’t just need to improve a little, but a lot . . .
Some people are dismissive of spring practices, like J.C. Tretter, but man did the Jets need them this year. especially at QB and on defense. Those spring practice reps have been huge for many young Jets.
Let’s focus on the defense.
What a huge off-season for the Jets, in free agency, the draft, and the spring practices. They needed to get so much better, talent-wise, scheme-wise, chemistry-wise, the whole deal.
It wasn’t just rough last year, it was really rough.
“I think what gets lost in the shuffle a little bit is how bad they were defensively,” said former NFL GM Mike Lombardi on his podcast. “They were 32nd in points allowed. They were 32nd in yards allowed. They were 32nd in teams being able to run the ball into the end zone on them. They were 32nd in rushing attempts.”
Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich addressed the media for the first time this off-season and was asked about how they rebound from such a tough season.
“I think you look at everything. I think as coaches, we have to have the humility and really look at ourselves and how we can do it better from a scheme standpoint, from a technique standpoint, from a teaching standpoint, from a drill standpoint, from everything,” Ulbrich said.
Perhaps the scheme needs to be tweaked. Hey, Pete Carroll, a forefather of this system, is making major changes to his playbook.
“I’ll tell you, we’ve been a little bit arrogant over the years, the way we play defense,” Carroll said. “Because we’ve been able to do it, just go ahead and play what we want to play. Remember how people just talk – ‘All they do is play 3-deep. You know, they don’t play anything else. They must be stupid’? You know, we were killing it for years, so we just (kept doing it). It’s not that time right now.”
So coming off last season, the system needed to be tweaked, and obviously the talent needed to be as well.
“Obviously, [you] take a fine-tooth comb through the roster and where we can improve in every single area,” Ulbrich said. “So, that’s where we’re at. We devoted the majority of the offseason to that. Obviously, acquiring free agents and guys in the draft, that’s a big part of the offseason.”
And they have improved, on paper, in certain areas for sure, including the secondary, where they could “kind of” have four new starters with cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed and safeties Jordan Whitehead and Lamarcus Joyner. Gardner, Reed and Whitehead would be new starters, the “kind of” applies to Joyner, who started the opener last year in Carolina, but suffered a season-ending arm injury against the Panthers, so he played very little last year.
The secondary talent should make them better on the back end.
They also were focused like a laser on improving the pass rush with the drafting of Jermaine Johnson and some other moves. We will see if that area improves. It has to if this defense is going to take a quantum leap.
But you can’t minimize the importance of tweaking the scheme, which might have been a little outdated, at least Carroll thinks it was.
Ulbrich did say, “a big part of the offseason is also refining our scheme.”
How much do they refine it? We will see when the games start.
Too many opposing quarterbacks last year made it look too easy against that scheme. It seemed easy for a number of quarterbacks to decipher.
A rookie QB put up 54 points on them.
Yes, some of it was talent, but some of it was also scheme-related.
June 3, 2022
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