Last season, the Jets fielded a good defense. In 2023, they want to become an elite unit and perhaps one for the ages.
"I'm very confident," said CB D.J. Reed. "I think we have the potential to be the best defense in the NFL and honestly, I think we could be historical. Not just the best defense in the league, but I think we got a historical defense like the 85-86 Bears like the (Legion of Boom) in 2013. I think we could be that dominant if we put all the things together and we just focus on the now and we're deliberate, and everyone plays up to their potential. I think the sky's the limit for us."
In 2022, the Jets finished No. 4 both in yards allowed (311.1 yds/g) and scoring (18.6 pts/G). The '85 Bears finished No. 1 in yards allowed (258.4/g) and scoring (12.4 pts/G) while the '13 Seahawks also finished 1st in total defense (273.6 yds/g) and scoring (14.4 pts/g).
"That is a pretty big comparison. They did some great things. Obviously, history tells you that," said MLB C.J. Mosley. "But right now, we are getting ready for that first game, and we have a long road ahead of us. Ask D.J. and us that at the end of the season and then we can talk about it. Honestly, we obviously have high expectations for ourselves, individually and as a defense. But we have to put it all to the test. We got a long way to go. I don't want to say we are to the '85 Bears yet. But who knows what can happen this season? Let's find out."
The great defenses create turnovers and both the '85 Bears (54 TO/34 INTS) and 2013 'Hawks (39/28) led the NFL in takeaways and interceptions. Last season, the Jets finished 29th in takeaways with 16 and T19th in interceptions with 12.
"We all know and understand that you have to win the turnover battle," said DL John Franklin-Myers. "That is the most telling stat in football, and we understand that and that's going to take us from No. 4 to No. 1."
The Jets want to be the best defense in the NFL and Franklin-Myers said that along with winning a championship is exactly where their goals should be set.
"We all talk about manifestation," he said. "You have to talk about it, you have to believe it, you have to say it in order to do it. And we're not afraid to say it and we're not afraid to go out there on the limb and say that we want to win the Super Bowl, we want to be the best defense in the NFL. If those aren't your dreams, then you are in the wrong place."
Mosley, the veteran leader who was again voted a team captain, feels like the right pieces are in place for another big jump from the defense that finished both 32nd in yards allowed and scoring and T29th in takeaways just two years ago. He likes the confidence expressed by his teammates and is ready to go to battle with a unit intent on finding another level.
"I don't mind it at all," he said of Reed's and JFM's comments. "You can say those types of things, but it is all about how you back it up. DJ and JFM, those are guys that would back up their game. Those guys work and go the extra mile after practice to make sure they are doing the right things and studying. I am not worried them having those high expectations and not being able to back it up. But, if one of our brothers does say that, now we all have to put on a show. But it is cool to always be measured against another great team or another great defense, but it is a whole other thing when they are talking about the 2023 Jets.
"At the end of the year, that is what I hope people are talking about, how great the 2023 Jets defense was. I definitely feel we have all the right pieces. We have the right coaches, the right personnel and just everything. We feel like we can match-up with any type of offense. Those are just words right now and we have to put it to the test, but we are definitely excited for the challenge."
See the top photos of the Jets during Monday's practice at 1 Jets Drive.