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Mo‘, Mo‘, Mo‘ for Wilkerson in Year Two

Posted Dec 11, 2012

Muhammad Wilkerson was pleased with his performance during the Jets’ 17-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday. The second-year defensive tackle put together another strong game, finishing with three tackles and a sack.

And it wasn’t just Wilkerson who was impressive but the entire defense. One week after holding Arizona to 0-for-15 on third-down conversions, the "D" was almost as dominant against the Jags as Jacksonville finished 2-of-16 on third down..

“I think overall the defense played well,” Wilkerson said Monday. “We executed our game plan and that was to get pressure and everybody on the back end stayed with their keys and made tackles. We did our job on defense.”

As the Green & White have now won back-to-back games for the first time this season with victories over Arizona and Jacksonville, Wilkerson deserves plenty of praise. In the Jets’ last eight games, No. 96 has recorded four sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble return for a touchdown at Seattle and two pass defenses. His four sacks lead the Jets and his unofficial total of 56 tackles rank fourth on the Jets and first on the D-line.

“I think I’m doing pretty good,” Mo said of his progression. “The coaches helped me out this offseason, Coach Dunbar, having him here, and all the great veterans that I have on the defense and on the team as well.”

The former Temple Owl said that having DL coach Karl Dunbar instruct him this season has improved his football IQ and awareness on the field.

Even so, nobody knew how Wilkerson would perform in his second NFL season. While his rookie year was promising, he was involved in a car accident just one month prior to the start of training camp. The accident didn’t result being too big of a setback, but it did seem to change Wilkerson’s mindset.

“I love the game of football,” he said, “and I just knew that I would approach this year differently and move on and play better than I did last year.”

According to head coach Rex Ryan, Wilkerson’s recent stellar play hasn’t come as a surprise and he hopes his lineman will be rewarded with a spot on the Pro Bowl roster.

“We seem like we say it each week,” Ryan said. “Clearly he’s the guy we talked about at the beginning of year. For an interior lineman, he’s just doing an incredible job."

Three regular-season games remain and the playoffs are not completely out of sight, but Wilkerson said he and his teammates are only focused on the next game on their schedule.  

“We’re just going to make sure we prepare for Tennessee,” he said. “We know they’re going to give us all they’ve got and hopefully we pull out the win.”

Wilkerson only set one goal for himself before 2012 started and that was to achieve more than he did in 2011. Jets Nation can attest that watching that goal get accomplished has been nothing short of joyful.  

“I’m proud to be a Jet,” he said. “They brought me here and I’m going to continue to play like a Jet and do the best I can for the defense.”

Preseason Live: New York Jets

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