Content available exclusively for subscribers
The Jets need this to happen very badly. It’s what they signed up for . . .
When the Jets play the Atlanta Falcons this weekend, you will see a second-year linebacker named Deion Jones.
He was a second-round pick of the Falcons in the 2016 draft. As a rookie last year, in 13 starts, he finished the season with 11 defenses passes and three interceptions.
Quite a rookie campaign in coverage.
In six starts this year, he has three defensed passes and one interception.
Jets linebacker Darron Lee, a first round pick of the Jets in 2016, had a three passes defensed and no interception in 13 games last year.
This year, in seven starts, he has two passes defensed and no interceptions.
So in a basically a season and a half, Jones has 14 defenses passes and three interceptions (including a Pick Six) and Lee has five passes defensed and no interceptions.
Look, I don’t want to pick on Lee, but there is no way around it – so far, he’s had very little impact on the Jets’ pass defense.
And that was a big reason he was drafted. The Jets linebackers had struggled in pass coverage for several years proceeding his selection, and Lee, with his 4.4 speed, was going to be the panacea for the Jets’ pass coverage woes, especially against tight ends.
It hasn’t happened.
I’m not saying it can’t happen.
I’m just saying it hasn’t happened yet.
So far, in terms of pass coverage, Jones has delivered to Atlanta, what the Jets thought they were getting in Lee.
To his credit, Lee has done some good things in recent weeks.
I really respect his toughness.
He is an unflinching tackler when he hits a hole to take on a ball-carrier.
You saw that last week against the Miami Dolphins
He led the Jets with 11 tackles in that game.
You saw what a difference it makes for Lee when Mo Wilkerson bring his a-game.
Wilkerson was outstanding against Miami, and when he plays like that, he draws a lot of double team attention, and that helps keep Lee clean to make tackles.
Lee’s problem in the past against the run was getting engulfed by offensive guards and center, on the second-level, some who outweigh him by 100 pounds.
When Wilkerson (and Leonard Williams) draw double teams, it’s so much better for Lee, because he’s free to seek out the ball-carrier without having to stack-and-shed a massive offensive lineman.
But it’s time for Lee to take the next step in pass coverage.
That is the biggest reason the Jets picked him, and he’s just not doing enough in that department.
The Jets need a lot more pass defenses from this guy, and an occasional pick.
Like Jones is delivering for Atlanta.
And they need this to start ASAP.
The player is definitely trending in the right direction, but the Jets’ coverage of tight ends and running backs has been inconsistent this year, and he needs to take his coverage game to another level to help improve this issue.
October 25, 2017
Premium will return by 9:30 pm on Thursday.