Skip to main content

Inside the Numbers | Jermaine Johnson Edges Ahead in Jets' Tight Sack Race

Xavier Gipson Joins a Short List of Quadruple-Duty Rookie Performers in Franchise History


Jermaine Johnson says his and the Jets defense's approach during these difficult times is simple and powerful.

"I know we embrace all adversity," Johnson said this week, "and we're just making sure we reach our standard, meet our standard, uphold our standard every single game."

One of those standards is number of sacks. And the second-year linebacker/edge finds himself on the top of a crowded pile in the Jets' team sack standings. With 1.5 sacks of the Falcons' Desmond Ridder, Johnson finds himself at the top of the Green & White leaderboard with 6.5 sacks for the season. Right behind are Bryce Huff and Quinton Jefferson, both at six.

That raises an interesting series of questions. When did the Jets last have three defenders with six sacks each in a season? That would be 2014 with the trio of Sheldon Richardson (8), Quinton Coples (6.5) and Muhammad Wilkerson (6).

Last time three Jets had seven sacks in a season? We're going back-back-back to 1985 with Mark Gastineau (13.5), Joe Klecko (7.5) and Barry Bennett (7.5).

Anything higher takes us back before 1981, when sacks became official in the NFL. We can still dive into the last time three Jets had double-digit sacks together but we'll wait to see how things develop in the Jets sack race over the final five games before breaking out the 10-10-10 trios.

But Johnson knows a few other stats matter a little more than sacks at this point.

"I know both sides of the ball are looking for that one percent, that inch that we can get better at," he said. "The most important thing is winning."

Gipson Wore Many Hats vs. Falcons
Xavier Gipson's profile, and not just as a kick returner, has risen throughout the season. After averaging eight offensive snaps a game through the first seven games, he's averaging 45 a game over the last five.

Another way to show he's X-panding his role is by citing his numbers from Atlanta: one rush for 1 yard, five catches for 77 yards — including a 36-yard grab that served not only as his career-long catch but also ended the Jets' explosive-plays drought at two games — four punt returns for 45 yards and one kickoff return for 25 yards. Total for the game: 148 all-purpose yards.

That's the second time this season (the first was against Kansas City) that Gipson has had at least a yard in all four categories and the first time he's cleared 100 APY, joining a list of Jets legends who did quadruple duty in their rookie seasons by gaining at least 1 yard rushing, receiving, punt-returning and kickoff-returning and at least 100 all-purpose yards in at least one game.

Here is the list since 1970, which includes Bruce Harper, who established multitasking as his trademark in '77, and Leon Washington, who continues as a Jets special teams assistant coach working with Gipson on a daily basis:

Table inside Article
Jets Rookie Season How Acq Age # of Games
Bruce Harper 1977 UdFA 22 7
Leon Johnson 1997 Rd 4 23 3
Cedric Minter 1984 UdFA 26 2
Terance Mathis 1990 Rd 3 23 1
Leon Washington 2006 Rd 4 24 1
Xavier Gipson 2023 UdFA 22 1

Related Content