Another season, another 100 tackles. Yawn.
"Thanks, I appreciate it," Jets MLB David Harris replied to congratulations for him reaching 100 tackles in a season again. "I've been fortunate to stay healthy for most of my career and be on the field a lot. I mean, if I play every snap of every game, you would think a linebacker should have 100 tackles every year."
You would think that, but of course many LBs don't. Yet when the Jets defensive coaches' video review gave Harris 10 tackles for the Giants game, that raised him to exactly 100 on the year and marked the eighth time in his nine Jets seasons that he's reached that level.
For those wanting to confirm Harris' career numbers, he's at 1,119 for his career, having passed Marvin Jones, No. 3 on the franchise's all-time tackles list at 1,021, back in the opener against Cleveland, and he needs a mere 113 tackles to pass Mo Lewis at 1,231 in second place, which, assuming continued good in-season health, should happen around this time next year.
But for today and tomorrow, Harris and his defense have more pressing concerns, such as how to slow down rookie QB Marcus Mariota and the Titans.
"Anytime you've got a mobile quarterback, that makes it just that much harder on the defense," Harris said. "It's another guy you've got to worry about, getting out of the pocket and making plays with his feet. And Delanie Walker is probably one of the most underrated tight ends in the league, along with Charles Clay up in Buffalo. They do so many things on offense, the run game and the play-action that marries off of it. They do a good job of keeping you balanced."
But the Jets would like to turn the Titans zero-dimensional in the red zone, as they've done with most opponents this season. One of last week's storylines was the Green & White's No. 1-ranked offense inside the opponents' 20, but for the third straight week the Jets' defense is also No. 1 in the league, allowing TDs at a 36.0% rate.
The Titans are tied for the sixth-best RZ offense (63.6% TD rate), and while neither of Mariota's TD runs this year qualified as red zone rushes, he's similarly dangerous close to the goal line or far away, so this matchup bears watching Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
But in general the Jets have been equally tough vs. the run and the pass in the zone: They've allowed 2.5 yards/carry and two touchdowns on the ground and 2.1 yards/pass play and four TD passes.
And one really sweet season-long development is that not only are they preventing TDs in the red zone, they're sometimes preventing scores. They have six RZ takeaways, just two off the franchise record of eight, set in 1994 and equaled in 2001, with four games to go. Most recently was the momentum-changing Rontez Miles interception against the Giants.
"That was huge," said Harris, who enjoys playing up his teammates more than himself. "This is the NFL. There are exceptional coordinators and players all across the line. As a defense, you try to prevent points. You try to prevent them from running the ball in the red zone and you try to make it tough on them when they do pass.
"No matter where they started their drive, your job is to keep them out of the end zone. People have been doing a good job of that for us."