The New York Jets pass rush has been steadily improving this season and has evolved into one of the best in the NFL. The key has been its ability to create pressure in multiple ways.
"I think everybody's kind of settling down and getting into football shape," DL John Franklin-Myers said. "Getting up to game speed and we are just playing together and so many guys are involved."
DL Quinnen Williams has been dominant and the Jets' best source of pressure. Williams was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 6. He has 5 sacks – tied for 11th most – and 11 QB hits.
Williams has been a game wrecker. Against Green Bay, Williams became the first player this season to register 5 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 QB hits, 2 TFLs, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal.
"[Williams] looks different," DL Sheldon Rankins said. "His explosiveness, his strength, his power, his ability to make plays within the tackle box, outside the tackle box, win one on one and even sometimes when double teams. He is truly operating on a level of dominance."
See the top photos from Thursday's practice leading up to the road game in Denver.
Williams' dominance has drawn attention from opposing offenses and created opportunity for his linemates — Carl Lawson and JFM have stepped up.
"They are paying attention to Quinnen and making sure that he doesn't do damage," HC Robert Saleh said. "And the other guys have to step up and win their one-on-ones. So, it's a good problem to have and a problem that we're welcoming."
Coming off the edge, Lawson has 2.5 sacks, 2 TFLs and 14 QB hits that rank second in the NFL. And during the Jets' three-game win streak, Lawson has 2 sacks, 9 QB hits and a forced fumble.
Franklin-Myers – playing inside and on the edge – in the last three games has 7 QB hits, 1.5 sacks and a TFL. He is also one of 10 defensive linemen to record at least 8 QB hits, 10 tackles, a pass defensed, and a QB sack over that span.
"We are believing in each other and trusting each other," Franklin-Myers said. "We understand what each other is good and bad. And then we are working off each other playing off each other you kind of see it coming together."
The Jets have also been winning with depth. In each of the last three games, at least 9 different Jets D-linemen have taken snaps. In that span, the Jets have recorded a combined 31 sacks and quarterback hits, the most in the NFL.
Heading to Denver to play at Empower Stadium at Mile High, the group is ready and eager to build on its recent success..
"It will absolutely help us up there," Rankins said. "It helps in any environment, but just to know that we can roll out there and make impact plays anytime we are on the field helps."
The front has been impressive, but they have also gotten help from tight coverage.
"Obviously from the defensive line standpoint, they're playing better," DC Jeff Ulbrich said. "But probably not getting enough credit for is that it is a byproduct of the back end just getting tighter."
Going for their fourth straight win, on Sunday against the Broncos, Ulbrich will deploythe dazzling pass rush against QB Russell Wilson, whose line has struggled surrendering 20 sacks, sixth-most in the NFL.
"That is our objective every week, to piss off every quarterback that we have to lineup against in a smart, dominate in a violent way," Rankins said. "And we have been successful in doing that so far."