No sugarcoating this one

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I’m going to be brutally honest about this . . .

Recently, a Jets player said their defense could be as good as the 1985 Chicago Bears.

In Dallas, they looked more like the 2023 Bears.

And I don’t mean that to be flippant.

After a strong defense performance in their opening-day win over Buffalo, the Jets defense was surprisingly bad in Dallas.

It was a really poor performance.

The Dallas Cowboys were without their #2 receiver, Brandin Cooks, one of the NFL’s fastest players, and a dynamic playmaker, so you would figure this could help them deal with #1 receiver CeeDee Lamb better.

Didn’t happen.

I am a little over two quarters into reviewing the game, the coverage of Lamb in this timeframe was awful.

I am going to start in the early third quarter and go backward.

On a third-and-14, Dak Prescott hit Lamb for a gain of 15 on the right sideline. He was wide open. How does that even happen? Every defense dreams of on third-and-14. That is what you want. And at the very least, play the sticks so if they get a completion, it’s not for a first down. I don’t even know who to blame because nobody was near him. Quite astonishing.

Late second quarter, on a second-and-9, Prescott hits Lamb for a gain of 20, another play he was pretty open, in back for a corner, and in front of safety.

Early second quarter on third-and-2, Prescott hit Lamb on the left side for a gain of 12. He was wide again.

In the first quarter on first-and-12 from their own 3-yard-line, Prescott hit Lamb on an easy quick slant, between two linebackers, that went for a 31-yard gain.

Lamb finished the game with 11 catches for 143 yards.

What on earth was going on here?

Maybe somebody will ask in a press conference. Probably not.

Well, you have to tip your hat to Dallas head coach and offensive play-caller Mike McCarthy, he won the chess match against the Jets defensive coaches in this game.

This was a really bad defensive performance, there is no way around that.

And it wasn’t just the pass defense, it was the run defense. A lot of plays they did a poor job setting the edge.

There was a play late in the second quarter that is the poster child for what I’m talking about.

Dallas rookie running back Deuce Vaughn went for 13 yards off right tackle.

Jets defensive end Michael Clemons did a poor job setting the edge letting Vaughn take the edge easily.

Fellow second-year end Jermaine Johnson had some issues setting the edge as well.

Both need work in this area.

They both have great motors and play with a lot of hustle, but they both still need a lot of work.

If you choose to believe the hype from people not watching closely, that is up to you.

The bottom line is people need to stop putting this Jets defense in Canton.

They have a lot of talent, but that performance in Dallas was terrible.

There is no way around it.

September 18, 2023

Premium will return by 9:30 pm on Wednesday (in season, when there is a Sunday game, we are Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday).

Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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