Throughout Rex Ryan’s tenure, the New York Jets have been among the best teams in the NFL at defending the pass. In Ryan’s first four years with in New York, the Jets ranked 1st, 6th, 5th and 2nd in the NFL in pass defense. Darrelle Revis was obviously a huge part of that success, but the Jets still ranked 2nd last season despite Revis missing the majority of the year with a torn ACL.
This season, however, has been a totally different story. The Jets rank 14th in the league in pass yards allowed per game, and they were absolutely shredded by Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday. Dalton threw for 325 yards and 5 TDs, including four to Marvin Jones. Every member of the Jets’ secondary struggled at times in this game, and this is becoming a common theme for the Jets this season.
When the Jets traded Revis, they were making the statement that they believed they could continue their defensive success with Antonio Cromartie as their No. 1 corner. After all, Cromartie was coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he was a dominant player in Revis’ absence. However, Cromartie has dealt with some injuries this season and his play has suffered significantly. Cromartie has struggled for much of the season, and A.J. Green beat him twice for deep balls yesterday.
The Jets also drafted Dee Milliner with the 9th overall pick to replace Revis, but Milliner has been an unmitigated disaster thus far. He missed three games with a hamstring injury, and yesterday was the second time he was benched this season. Jones tormented Milliner throughout the first half, and the rookie was clearly overmatched.
Milliner is still just five games into his rookie season, so there is no reason to worry about his future yet. However, it seems very unlikely that the Jets will be able to rely on him as a contributor this season. Kyle Wilson and Darrin Walls are solid reserves, but none of these players will make the Jets feel secure in the No. 2 corner spot.
The Jets play the New Orleans Saints and their 3rd ranked passing offense on Sunday, so the Jets have very little time to improve. However, they must play better, or, as Rex Ryan said, Drew Brees will break every record known to man.
If the Jets are going to make a run at a playoff berth, they will have to rely on their defense. However, the secondary has failed the Jets many times this season, and if that trend continues the Jets could be in big trouble.