Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman wasn't going to get too technical with the question. Asked last week about the Steelers' turnover situation, his answer could equally apply to the Jets' pass defense today. Just insert a "don't" here and there:
"Why interceptions happen, why fumbles happened, I don't know. They're hard to explain. You just hope that you get your share of them on defense and when you do, you'll generally have a good day."
Our defense hasn't had a good day in a while when it comes to takeaways. The loss to the Steelers marked the fourth game this season they couldn't come up with an opponent's fumble and the fifth that they didn't intercept a pass.
Dawan Landry's interception in the second quarter of the opener against Tampa Bay is our only pick of the year. There has been only two other six-game in-season stretches in franchise history when the Jets had only one pick — the overlapping sixpacks of Games 4-9 and Games 5-10 in 2010. The Jets have never before opened a season with one interception in their first six games. And they've had only two other five-game stretches with no INTs, in 1979 and 2010.
"Am I shocked that we have one interception all year? Yeah," head coach Rex Ryan said at today's news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. "I'd be shocked if we only had one in a game. So yes, it's very disappointing. It's one of those things where you can't make them throw it to you, but certainly you try."
Ryan said the Jets did try to bait Ben Roethlisberger into some throws into coverage traps, but Big Ben declined as he hit 23 of 30 passes, including the one long touchdown catch-and-run to Emmanuel Sanders past Antonio Cromartie.
Coupled with the 77-yarder from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Nate Washington also just past Cro's outstretched hand two games earlier at Tennessee, Ryan was asked about teams throwing on our most veteran corner and defensive leader. The coach wasn't backing off on his decisions to put Cromartie in Cover-Zero 1-on-1 situations, and Sunday after the game, Cromartie wasn't flinching either when asked if opponents are targeting him.
"I don't really care if they do," he said. "You're going to get thrown at. I think in this game I got thrown at eight times. They completed three of them, one for a touchdown. You want to come in and try to compete in order to do the things that you try to do."
One thing the Jets know about their next opponent is that Tom Brady will throw fearlessly at the secondary and won't leave too many throws up for grabs. They haven't intercepted him in their last four meetings, and he's thrown 164 passes since the last time the Green & White picked him off. The player who did that happened to be Cromartie, at the end of the first half at Gillette Stadium in Game 5 of 2011.
Brady has a similar streak at MetLife Stadium, where he's thrown 74 passes since the last time he was picked, in Game 2 in 2010, when Cromartie again intercepted him and then got his hands on another Brady ball that S Brodney Pool picked off, both in the span of four passes. Can Cro rise to the occasion once more against Brady and the Patriots' band of young, new receivers? If he and our secondary can do that, it could turn into one of DT's "good days" this coming Sunday.