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Mo Wilkerson Has Been Poison to Opponents

Posted Sep 24, 2013

Buffalo DE Mario Williams had more sacks in Week 2 alone (4.5) than our entire defense had in the first two weeks combined (4).

On Sunday, Williams and Co. sacked QB Geno Smith zero times, while seven — yes, seven — different Jets sacked Bills QB EJ Manuel during our 27-20 victory at MetLife Stadium.

“As long as somebody’s getting doubled, that means someone has a 1-on-1,” DE Muhammad Wilkerson told newyorkjets.com senior reporter Eric Allen Monday on Jets Replay, “and our motto is you’ve got to win your 1-on-1.”

The 6’4”, 315-pounder certainly won his matchups against the Bills.

“Muhammad Wilkerson, OK, a so-so game,” head coach Rex Ryan joked during Monday afternoon’s news conference. “Two sacks, five hits on the quarterback, I don’t know how many tackles [six, according to pressbox stats]. So I’m happy with him.”

The Temple product also forced a fumble by RB C.J. Spiller during the first two-sack performance of his three-year NFL career in what would be a great day for most but in what has become just a typical day for No. 96.

Though statistics can often be deceiving, some stats are simply too eye-popping to ignore. During Big Mo’s last eight games, dating to Week 13 of the 2012 season, he has six sacks and 15 QB hits. Projected over the course of a 16-game season, that would be 12 sacks and 30 hits on the quarterback.

To put these numbers in perspective, throughout Ryan’s four full seasons as head coach of the Jets, LB Calvin Pace has had the most sacks in a season with eight in ‘09, while the most hits on the QB have come from LB Quinton Coples with 14 last season. In fact, only J.J. Watt, Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh unofficially had more than 30 QB hits across the entire NFL last year.

Wilkerson’s simply one cog in the D-line machine, though.

Damon “Snacks” Harrison has taken his game to a whole new level this season, becoming one of the team’s most improved players.

“Last year, he’d get in and his eyes would be real big,” Muhammad told EA, “but now he’s playing like he’s used to it.”

The addition of first-round rookie Sheldon Richardson has also helped significantly revamp this defensive front, and Wilkerson recognizes the importance of his trenchmates’ contributions toward his own success, pointing out to reporters that Richardson was double-teamed often during Sunday’s game.

“At the end of the day," Wilkerson said, "we have so many different guys who are talented on the defensive line that I feel like offensive coordinators are going to have to pick their poison if they want to double-team somebody.”

Individual stats matter only to the point of helping the team.

After three weeks, the Jets’ defense ranks second in the NFL in sack rate and in the top seven in rush yards, pass yards, total yards, third-down efficiency, and points allowed per game.

And team stats matter only to the point of earning a win. Through three games, the Jets have won two.

Opposing offensive coordinators may want to pick a different poison.
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