Updated, 5:00 p.m. ET
Our front seven has a few one-liners that help explain one of our early strengths in the first quarter of the season.
"There's an old saying that if a team can run on you, there's issues," said LB Quinton Coples.
"Stopping the run on the way to the pass," rookie DL Sheldon Richardson replied. "That's how we play it."
The run defense is no secret. The Jets are No. 5 in the NFL in rush yards allowed per game and No. 2 in yards allowed per carry.
But a few other measures are equally eye-popping. We have 18 tackles for loss on running plays, also second in the NFL. And if you add in pass plays (but not sacks) and include plays stopped for no gain as well as loss, the Jets have 32 such tackles.
That's easily our most in 26 seasons, or since we also had 32 TFLNG at the quarter pole during the fast start to the '86 season.
None of this fazes Q or Sheldon.
"We want turnovers, we want everything that a defensive player can get," said Richardson, the precocious first-rounder who's tied for the team lead with 3.5 tackles for loss, or stuffs, and is a half-tackle off Damon Harrison's team lead with 5.0 tackles at or behind the line. "It's want-to. All it is is you want it. Every play, every snap, we want it."
But what if the other team doesn't want to give you the opportunities to get it? QB Matt Ryan and the Falcons come into Monday night's home game against the Jets with one of the league's four offenses imbalanced at more than a 70/30 pass-to-run ratio. That won't leave many runs for our front seven to try to swarm.
However, RB Steven Jackson is the X-factor here. Atlanta's big offseason free agency acquisition has been inactive with a hamstring injury the past two games. He didn't participate in practices Thursday and today.
"Although they are a pass-heavy team," Coples said, "at the end of the day, if he's back in the lineup, we know they're definitely going to try to run the ball. It's a gametime adjustment."
Many of the Jets know what Jackson can bring to the table. In last year's game at St. Louis, Jackson ran for 81 yards on 13 carries, a decent outing. But he was tackled twice for losses. One of them was by Coples. Forewarned is forearmed for Monday night.
|JETS' TACKLE LEADERS AT/BEHIND THE LINE|
|NT Damon Harrison||5.5||LB David Harris||3.5|
|LB Demario Davis||5.0||DL Sheldon Richardson||3.5|
|DL Sheldon Richardson||5.0||NT Damon Harrison||2.5|
|LB David Harris||4.0||DE Muhammad Wilkerson||2.0|
|DE Muhammad Wilkerson||3.0||DT Leger Douzable||1.5|
Hill on the Mend
WR Stephen Hill wore a baseball cap and did not participate in Thursday's practice after sustaining a concussion early in the first quarter of Sunday's game in Nashville. Today, however, he was out there in the non-contact red jersey and was a limited participant.
"I was encouraged," head coach Rex Ryan said of seeing Hill throw on the helmet and shoulder pads. "That was a good sign."
"We're not there yet. We don't know if he's going to play yet or not," coordinator Marty Mornhinweg added later this afternoon.
The Jets aren't required to give the game status of any of their injured players for the Monday night game until after Saturday's late-morning practice.
Still, Hill has attended meetings throughout the week, has been headache-free for a couple of days now, and he's "feeling good, just ready to play."
"Whenever they give me the OK thumbs up, I'm ready to go," he said.
Today's DNP list was down to three Jets: WR Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring), CB Dee Milliner (hamstring) and T Oday Aboushi (knee). Along with Hill, RB Chris Ivory, TE Kellen Winslow and WR Clyde Gates were limited.
An Ex-Patriot Comes Aboard
We have acquired tight end Zach Sudfeld off of waivers from New England and have released linebacker Scott Solomon.
Sudfeld (6'7", 260) is a rookie free agent out of Nevada. The 24-year-old from Modesto, Calif., had a good preseason for the TE-thin Patriots this summer with eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
He was inactive for the Jets' Thursday night Game 2 at New England but was active for the Patriots' three other games. He was targeted with three passes but had no catches and was in on 45 offensive plays and five special teams plays before he was waived.