A late preseason arrival, Jets defensive lineman Kony Ealy has made an early impact.
Ealy recorded a strip-sack in his Jets debut against the Eagles in the preseason finale followed by an impressive Week 1 performance. The four-year veteran almost sacked quarterback Tyrod Taylor on the first play from scrimmage and batted down a ball at the line five plays later. Through two games, Ealy has also recorded six tackles, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit.
"Very comfortable. I feel very acclimated here with the team," he said. "They're showing great love as far as welcoming me in. I feel like I've been here all summer. I'm just getting in and getting the plays down, so I can go out there and play fast."
The 6'4", 275-pounder said he feels more explosive playing with his hand in the dirt, but is comfortable standing up, which he's done in certain sub packages. The Green & White has only registered two sacks in as many weeks, but Ealy is confident change is on the horizon.
"Our pass rush isn't where it needs to be because of us not getting off on third downs," he said. "We're not getting a lot of third-and-long situations, we've been having a lot of third-and-minus situations. If we stop the run effectively every down and make that a big emphasis this week, we could push those situations to third-and-long. Then, our pass rush will come alive. We have too much talent on the D-Line for that not to happen."
Despite allowing 180 yards on the ground last week in Oakland, Ealy said the Jets' rush defense is close to where it needs to be. Against the Raiders, the unit only surrendered an average of 3.4 yards on 25 carries, minus a pair of 40-plus-yard scoring plays.
For the third consecutive week, the defense will face another top-tier running back in Jay Ajayi, who ranked No. 5 in the NFL in rushing last season. In order to limit Ajayi's effectiveness, Ealy said the D-line has to maintain gap discipline for 60 minutes, a challenge he's embracing.
"Really elusive, downhill runner, hard runner," he said of Ajayi. "He's going to give you everything he has. We just have to take the right angles, wrap up, gang tackle and get off the field on the third downs. Because if we stop the run, it'll kill their offense."