Jets LB Neville Hewitt: Jets Must Protect Their House vs. 49ers

Veteran Jets ILB Appeared in 100 Snaps vs. Bills, Says Eye Discipline Will Be Key in Week 2


As far as the Jets Mike linebacker Neville Hewitt sees it, it's simple: The Jets are playing at home Sunday and the defending NFC champion, the San Francisco 49ers, are the guests.

"It's our house," Hewitt said on this week's installment of "Inside the Jets " with Dan Graca and Bart Scott. "We play there. They're visiting, so we have to hold it down."

The Jets will need a more disciplined defensive effort in Week 2. Last week, the Green & White allowed 404 yards of total offense to the Bills, and untimely penalties and lack of a success on third down (7 of 14) plagued the unit in a 27-17 loss.

"We just were undisciplined," Hewitt said. "We had a lot of penalties and when it came down to third down, we just didn't execute. A lot of the stuff that we see on film, all of it is correctable."

Hewitt, who experienced a breakthrough season in 2019, remains at the forefront of what was once expected to be a deep inside linebackers group. C.J. Mosley opted out of the season because of family concerns, former Ravens backer Patrick Onwuasor started the year on injured reserve with a knee injury and Avery Williamson (hamstring) was inactive Sunday. Second-year defender Blake Cashman started alongside Hewitt at Buffalo but departed early after sustaining a groin injury. Hewitt, who had 7 tackles and 1 PD, spent the majority of the opener next to Harvey Langi.

"Harvey is probably the linebacker who is in the best shape, he can run," said Hewitt of Langi, who totaled 6 tackles and 1 PD. "He played all special teams and was still out there flying around. He's a guy that once he knows what to do, he's going to get it done."

The modest Hewitt was flying around quite a bit in Week 1 himself, participating in 100 total plays at Buffalo (87 defense and 13 special teams) while becoming the first Jets linebacker to reach the century mark in plays since at least 2005. Despite missing the first few snaps, Langi appeared in 99 plays.

After an off day on Tuesday, the Jets took the game plan for the 49ers and began their practice week on Wednesday. Hewitt and safety Marcus Maye want the defensive group to pick up the pace at One Jets Drive.

"[Sunday] was our first game of the year," Hewitt said Monday. "We had no preseason and scrimmage speed isn't as fast as the game speed. We have to adjust to it fast. I think me and Maye were saying [that] in practice we have to go as hard as we can and start practice fast and bring that to the game."

After the Jets first game of 2020, Head Coach Adam Gase not only lamented the offense's slow start but he also pointed to sloppy tackling on both defense and special teams.

"Defensively and special teams, a lot of our issues came with missed tackles," he said. "We just have to keep working on our fundamentals and making sure that when we do our drill work with tackling and ball security. We make sure that we are really wired in when we do that. We also have to do a good job of wrapping up, getting to the ball at practice and just do a better job this week than we did last week."

The old adage in the NFL is you correct your mistakes and you move on. The 49ers had Hewitt's full attention fewer than 24 hours after the Jets dropped their first contest of an unprecedented campaign.

"I watched the film," he said of the opener. "We went over it with our coaches. It's behind us until we play them again. It's San Fran now."

Under Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers feature an outside-zone run scheme with athletic players at all levels.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo has a banged-up receiver group (the 49ers added veteran WR Mohamed Sanu on Monday) and TE George Kittle has a knee injury, but the Niners are going to run the ball, get their offensive linemen on the move and set-up the play-action game.

"Eye discipline," Hewitt said of the emphasis for a defense in rebound mode. "We have to really read our keys this week, read the elephants on parade and just be disciplined with our eyes and do what we're supposed to do."

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