Much has been made of the turnover problems that Geno Smith and the New York Jets have dealt with offensively. Smith is 3rd in the NFL in interceptions, and the Jets have a -11 turnover differential. However, what has not received enough attention is the other half of the Jets’ turnover problems.
For all the success that the Jets’ top 5 defense has enjoyed, they have a glaring lack of accomplishment when it comes to forcing turnovers. The Jets’ defense has just three takeaways this season, tying them for 29th in the NFL. In a league where turnover differential is one of the most reliable indicators of success, the Jets’ failure in this area is a huge concern.
It’s not like the Jets don’t have players who can make big plays on defense. Antonio Cromartie has 25 career interceptions, Dawan Landry has 13 picks and David Harris has 6 INTs and 7 forced fumbles. Young talents like Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Demario Davis have all shown a knack for getting after the ball, and Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson were both ballhawks in college who haven’t quite translated those skills to the NFL.
A big part of the problem for the Jets right now is not capitalizing on opportunities. They have forced 8 fumbles but only managed to recover two of them, and they have dropped several interceptions as well. Part of this is simply bad luck, but that does not excuse the Jets for their lack of success.
With the offense struggling to move the ball for much of the season, a few short fields off turnovers would do the Jets a world of good. They will face the New England Patriots this week, who have not been as good protecting the ball this season as they have in recent seasons. However, the Patriots have a very good defense, so the Jets’ offense could use all the help it can get.
The Jets did a great job containing Tom Brady in their Week 2 matchup, and they need to have the same level of success again. If the Jets can add a takeaway or two to that equation, their chances of winning will increase dramatically. Forcing turnovers is one of the best ways to win games, and the Jets need to start doing it.