More than What's on Paper
Looking at the stats, you might think the Jets will turn to the air against the Buccaneers this Sunday as Tampa Bay ranks No. 30 in the league in pass defense. However, numbers aren't the only qualifier to designing a game plan as the Green & White rushed for 194 yards against the Bills, who were the league's third best rush defense at the time.
"As a play caller, as you're calling the game, you get a feel," offensive coordinator John Morton told reporters Thursday. "And it's certain runs, and it is certain runs for these guys, and you listen. You listen to the coaches throughout the game, what's working and what we need to do. That all factors in. It was just going and when something is going, let's stay with it. That's the important thing. Same thing in the passing game."
What Sophomore Slump?
Outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins has progressed nicely in his second year with the Jets. Last year, Jenkins tallied 48 tackles, six of which were for loss, 2.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Through nine games this season, the Georgia product has racked up 25 tackles, four TFL and 2.0 sacks, and he tied last year's totals for quarterback hits, forced fumbles (1) and fumble recoveries (1). Last week, he became the first Jets linebacker to win AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors since David Harris in 2011.
"I think the player is really growing," defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said. "The guy comes to work every day, tries hard and does everything you ask of him as a coach. It's good to kind of see everything we see in practice, he takes into the game. That's the step we thought he needed to take. In practice, we see him do it, but we didn't see him do it in the game. That's the biggest step with him."
The Jets lost not only a valuable piece in their offense with the suspension of receiver Jeremy Kerley, but also their main punt returner. But the Jets have some experience without Kerley as he hurt his foot in the first quarter against the Bills and did not return. Rookie running back Eli McGuire filled in for the seventh-year vet and returned one punt for 10 yards along with a pair of fair catches. McGuire is in the mix for both the kick and punt returner role this weekend, along with rookie WR ArDarius Stewart, who's been the team's primary kick returner this season.
"Ideally, going back and forth, you'd like to settle on one," special teams coordinator Brant Boyer said. "You'd like a guy that can do both and somebody emerge from that position. I think ArDarius is more of a pound-it guy. He's more physical in that role. Eli is a guy that you can use more on some outside returns and he does a nice job, too. We just have to make a decision on who we're going to go with and see what happens."