Jets S Jordan Whitehead Jordan Whitehead has been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the team's 22-16 OT victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 1.
Whitehead had 3 interceptions, 2 tackles and 3 pass defenses in the Green & White's come-from-behind triumph at MetLife Stadium Monday. Whitehead became the first Jet to have three INTs in a game since Hall of Fame defensive back Ty Law in 2005 against Buffalo and the first Jets' safety to achieve that feat since Erik McMillan dis so against Miami in 1988.
"He was outstanding. He's been outstanding," HC Robert Saleh said. "He was four dropped interceptions away from having an All-Pro year last year. He caught 'em all today, he's got great instincts in the box, and his range is better this year, his ability to get from red line to red line. We have great confidence in him. He's an outstanding safety and he has been."
Whitehead's first takeaway came in the second quarter. Pro Bowl QB Josh Allen drifted to his left and threw deep middle for wideout Deonte Harty and Whitehead glided over for an over-the-shoulder pick. The Jets' offense, led by QB Zach Wilson, turned the interception into a 26-yard field goal by K Greg Zuerlein to tie the game 3-3.
Midway through the third quarter, Allen tested Whitehead again deep and the veteran defensive back made another over-the-shoulder interception on a pass intended for All-Pro wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the end zone.
Finally, early in the fourth quarter, Whitehead jumped a throw meant for WR Gabriel Davis for No. 3's third takeaway of the night. The pick led to the Jets' first touchdown, a 3-yard connection from Zach Wilson to Garrett Wilson, tying the game at 13-13.
"For me, it was just about getting the defense down 100 percent," Whitehead said of his goals for the 2023 offseason. "Once I learned that and I learned where I was supposed to be in the defense, I knew the plays would come to me. All camp, it was just ball drills, deep balls, breaking on the ball and catching it. I had the ball in my hands last year, but that's the difference between a good player and a great player."
In one game, Whitehead set a career high for interceptions in a season after totaling 2 each of the past 3 years. In addition, he helped the Jets hold the NFL's No. 2 scoring offense last season (28.4 points per game) to 16 points.