Frank Bush, the Jets' interim defensive coordinator, was last week thrust into a role he knows well, but one that he admits caught him by surprise.
"Obviously, not doing it in a while there are some nerves that happen," Bush told reporters on Thursday after his first game calling defensive signals. "The support staff did a great job helping me get through. Initially I thought there were some things I could get to, but we didn't. Once you get going it feels better.
"It's a big stage and for a while the pressure is on you and you can feel it."
He added: "Last week it kind of hit me, the whole situation was surprising. It was a whirlwind, this week was normal, though you can't call it normal in 2020. This week I can check the boxes better than last week."
That pressure, whether self-imposed or simply a nature of the business, landed hard on Bush after Jets Head Coach Adam Gase dismissed Gregg Williams after the loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Gase and Bush go back to working together in Miami, before both came north to join the Jets before the 2019 season.
Against Seattle, the Jets' defense was tagged for 174 rushing yards and 239 passing yards.
"They didn't get us a little, they got us a lot," Bush said. "Frankly I was surprised at some of the ways they were able to run the ball. We identified that it was technique more than anything. Some guys were trying too hard, overreacting, and they [the Seahawks] were able to move the ball. Guys got frustrated and they tried to make plays. We've been able to put our finger on the problem. These problems are not glaring, more like paper cuts that allowed them to run."
The Jets secondary last week, and for the rest of the season, is likely to have few veteran players other than safety Marcus Maye and CB Arthur Maulet. The absence of Brian Poole has given an opportunity to the rookie undrafted free agent Javelin Guidry. Bryce Hall, another rookie, is getting a baptism by fire along with Lamar Jackson; Bless Austin only recently returned from injury. In addition, OLB Jordan Jenkins (shoulder) has been placed on IR and is out for the season. He will likely need surgery.
Bush knows the Jets (0-13) are in for another challenge on defense against a well-balanced Rams (9-4) team that is fifth in the NFL in total offense, scoring an average of 25 points a game while averaging 389.4 yds/gm overall, 260.5 yds/gm passing and 128.9 yds/gm rushing.
"They have a system in place and run it well," Bush said. "They do things well. We have to figure out a way to slow them down."
Bush offered comments on several of the Jets defenders:
• CB Javelin Guidry: "He came in with tremendous speed [he ran a 4.29 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine] and we respect that. What he's shown us is the ability to retain information and carry to the field. And toughness in box [playing nickel] mixing up with linemen and tight ends. I've been impressed. He's getting better every week, he understands the system, he gets in and makes plays when it's time for him to make plays.
• DL Quinnen Williams: "A very talented kid. This year he's been able to finish things. Last year I didn't think he quite understood the schemes. Now he knows how to fit himself into plays and finish the play. He's stronger and more aware, he studies the game better. He's more mature than what he was, and you see that on the field. Tremendous potential, one of few guys with that size who play inside, what I call slippery for a big guy. He does things from a big guy standpoint you don't see from other people. The more he learns the game, he's going to be a force."
• S Marcus Maye: "I've always been a fan of Marcus, I like how he plays football. Coming here [from Miami] I always respected the way he plays, and this year he has stepped up a lot. There's a young secondary around him, and he's taken on a more verbal role, getting the guys together and he's doing his job so well. I think he's one of the best safeties in the league."