A key cog in the Jets' defensive line rotation, John Franklin-Myers logged 627 snaps last season and registered 33 tackles, 6 TFL and 3 PDs. Known for his powerful play and low pad level, Franklin-Myers added 14 QB hits although his sack total dipped to 3.5 after combining for 11 in 2021 (6) and 2022 (5).
"Personally did good, effort was way better, made the plays, set edges violently and played physical each and every down," he said of his season. "Just have to convert some of my pressures into sacks and get the quarterback down when it's time to do that. And that's the biggest thing I'm going to work on this offseason is converting some of those pressures into sacks and actually getting the quarterback down when I grab them."
The Jets' defense posted several impressive numbers in 2023, finishing No. 1in yards allowed per play (4.57), No. 2in first downs/game (17.5), No. 4 in pass yards/play (5.48) and No. 11in rush yards/play (4.08). While the Jets didn't often play with the lead, they still finished No. 5in sacks/pass attempt (9.20%). Their 48 sacks tied for No. 7 and Franklin-Myers wants to help add to that total next season.
"It starts with some of my angles when I am chasing somebody down," he said. "That was the biggest thing that I was like a step too late, I took a bad angle and stuff like that. That's what I want to do is work on my angles, work on tracking and getting guys down. I have to get my forearms stronger, get my wrists stronger and I have to get those guys down."
Franklin-Myers, a fourth-round pick of the Rams in 2018, has amassed 19.5 sacks in 81 games in addition to 135 tackles and 61 QB hits. Since joining the Jets in 2000, Franklin-Myers is one of 27 players in the league with at least 300 pass rush snaps from the edge and the interior and has produced the eighth-highest pressure rate according to NextGen Stats.
"It's just something that you look back on a season and it hurts to say that," Franklin-Myers lamented about his sack total. "You end up with 4 or whatever, but I could have had 10. It was all just based on getting the dude to the ground and it just can't happen. I have to get my ankles better, I have to actually put time into getting guys to the ground. Just chasing guys, doing drills, running, getting my first step better and all that stuff plays a part into it."
Only the Falcons (521) and the Colts (518) faced more rush attempts (517) than the Jets last season. Teams played the percentages against the Green & White, favoring conservative game plans as the Jets operated with a scuffling offensive unit. But with the return of Aaron Rodgers coupled with some offensive line additions and additional tinkering, Franklin-Myers and the Jets defenders could be teeing off more in 2024.
"The strength is the pass rush and the coverage that we have and utilizing that strength is what we will do when we start winning those games," Franklin-Myers said. "Putting guys into known passing situations where guys aren't being able to run or pass or screen. Known passing situations with our defensive line, we all know what that's going to be. With us, we have to be better in some of the run stuff to get to those known pass situations."
Franklin-Myers, who in a November loss against the Chargers became one of just 12 players since 2000 to collect 3 QB hits and 3 PDs in the same game, said he'll take 4-to-6 weeks around the Super Bowl to get his body healthy. He'll start with some light conditioning before setting sights on his sixth professional campaign.
"That's the goal – be the No. 1 defense and win the Super Bowl," he said. "Again we played a good brand of football, something we're extremely proud of to say that's what we did. But that wasn't our goal. Our goal was to be No. 1 – that didn't happen so room for improvement and what opportunity we have in the offseason."