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Defense Does Some Good Things vs. Lions

Posted Aug 10, 2013

On paper, this Jets defense has a chance to be dynamic, and may just have enough talent to return the Jets to one of the elite defenses in the league.

The defense's soft opening came Friday night when the Jets took on Detroit in their first preseason game of the year.

The Lions present a formidable matchup for any team, running an offense that features QB Matthew Stafford, the newly acquired Reggie Bush and Megatron, a.k.a. Calvin Johnson.

The Jets were up for the task, however, holding the explosive Lions to just one offensive touchdown on the night.

"I thought the first-team defense challenged them,” head coach Rex Ryan said, “Our guys stepped up and I actually liked the way the first team competed. We put them in some tough situations and I thought they played fairly well.”

DE Muhammad Wilkerson, a key factor in the defense, shared similar sentiments about his squad’s performance.

“We just want to come out and be physical up front,” he said, “in the secondary we wanted to be tight on Calvin. We know he is a great player. Overall I think the defense did well coming out there with the ones.”

Wilkerson wasn’t pulling any punches early, getting to backup QB Shaun Hill for a sack, despite being held by LT Riley Reiff, as time wound down in the first quarter.

Linemate and physical anomaly Quinton Coples added a sack of his own minutes later, once again bringing down the embattled Hill after LB Antwan Barnes had him by the jersey.

The line was explosive and was able to show flashes of a serious pass rush, something the Jets have severely lacked over the past few seasons.

Stuffed in the middle of Coples and Wilkerson, first-round draft pick Sheldon Richardson was playing in his first NFL game.

“Great effort,” Wilkerson said of Richardson’s performance, “He is agile and athletic and was finishing plays, not giving up. That is what we ask from him and if he keeps doing that, there will be great things from him.”

Richardson said he had no butterflies, "none whatsoever," as he showed some of the focus he has for his team.

"First things first — we didn’t win,” Richardson said. “But as a defense we were solid. And I'm glad they took Stafford out in the first quarter. We got there a few times."

Richardson finished the evening with three tackles and did not seem intimidated playing under the bright lights of Ford Field. Coples finished with four tackles, his sack, another tackle for loss, and a pass defensed in the backfield.

The biggest eye opener on defense was S Jaiquawn Jarrett, who racked up five tackles and made some terrific plays in the secondary. The second-year man caught Ryan's attention.

“Some guys stepped up in the second half. Jaiquawn Jarrett, without question,” Rex said. “Talk about 'play like a Jet’ — that guy was in there and he did a tremendous job of hitting and communicating. I really liked the way he stepped up.”
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