General manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh knew what they were looking for when they hired a DJ for their DB party this season.
D.J. Reed has all the tools a cornerback needs. He's confident in himself, respectful of opponents, supportive of his teammates. And along with his physical talents, he brings an analytical element to his position, which has helped the Jets make bold strides in pass coverage this season.
"I would say it's an elite unit just with what we're doing," Reed told Eric Allen of newyorkjets.com this week. "The last two games, we're playing a lot of snaps. Usually when you play over 70 snaps, the offense scores a lot of points, and that hasn't been the case. Even the last game, we were in the strike zone a lot, put in half-field situations, and they got field goals or punted the ball the majority of the time.
"I think as a unit we're playing good. We want to take the ball, get more turnovers. But as far as a defensive unit, we're playing great football, so we've just got to keep it up."
One reason to keep it up this week, as the Jets and their fans everywhere know, is because the Buffalo Bills are coming to MetLife on Sunday and they've been known to wreck a few secondaries with their Josh Allen/Stefon Diggs passing game.
This is where Reed's respect for opponents comes into play. He's confident in himself and his defense but he's well aware of the Bills' potential for explosive plays.
"Diggs is a good receiver because his route tree is unconventional. He runs to get open. That makes it more challenging because you have to play him honest, you can't anticipate him running this route in this formation because he'll change it up," he said. "And it's a challenge especially because he and Josh are best friends. He's going to get the ball thrown to him. So you've got to play with good eye discipline and make plays when you can.
"Josh Allen, I think he's playing the best ball right now at quarterback. Just watching the tape, watching the throws he makes, how long he can stay in the pocket, how long he can guy time, he's hard to tackle, he can run the ball as well. He's a complete quarterback, in my opinion."
See the top photos from Thursday's practice leading up to the home game against Buffalo.
But the Bills' bundle of No.1 offensive rankings, while impressive, don't deter Reed because of who he lines up with in the back end of the Jets' D. He's praised Sauce Gardner numerous times, this week emphasizing, "I knew Sauce was gong to be really good. To see him doing it as a rookie, though, the first eight games are really impressive."
Then there is the Jets' veteran safety tandem of Jordan Whitehead and Lamarcus Joyner. "J-White's playing really good coming down in the run game, hitting dudes, punishing guys and making plays in the post," he said, using Whitehead's nickname and Twitter handle, @jwhite_333. "Same as Lamarcus. He's getting his hands on the ball." As in a team-leading four takeaways.
Reed even offered some special thoughts on how nickel Michael Carter II fits into the corner array. "I think he's playing at a Pro Bowl level as well," Reed said. "He's making a lot of plays. We're basically taking three guys out of the game for these first [eight] games. Nobody's really done anything astronomical."
He wasn't forgetting one more Green & White player from his mini scouting reports, a starting right corner named Dennis Duane Reed Jr. D.J. had three passes defensed at Denver, six for the season, and got his first INT and forced fumble as a Jet in the season opener against Baltimore. .He, Joyner and MLB C.J. Mosley are tied for the Jets lead in scrimmage plays, each having played all 552 defensive snaps this season.
"I think I still have a lot of room," Reed said. "When we go over the film after the game, there's still plays that I feel could be made out there, that if I did this, then my good game would be a great game.
"I just feel like I haven't showed everything," he concluded. "I haven't really put out the whole toolbox yet. Keep playing, it'll come. I've still got more in the tank."
Sunday would be a great time for Reed and his secondary mates to break out the DB toolbox and throw a monkey wrench into Buffalo's offensive plans for the Jets. "I'm looking forward to it," D.J. said. "It's going to be a good challenge."