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LBs, Defense Have Something to Take Away


2009 Preseason Week 3 - Jets at Giants Photos

It wasn't a perfect night for the Jets defense. They gave up 25 points and 379 yards in the 27-25 win over the Giants on Saturday night. Five penalties were called on the defense in the first quarter alone.

But one thing the Rex Ryan/Mike Pettine defense wants to do is take the ball away from the opposing offense, and in the first half that's what the Jets — and especially their two inside linebackers, Bart Scott and David Harris — got accomplished.

Scott was in the middle of both takeaways. On the Giants' second drive, Eli Manning was hurried into a pass that Scott batted into the air and Harris picked off at the Giants 27, setting up the Jets' first touchdown drive.

"I just tried to make a play," Scott said. "I have route recognition and an understanding of what they like to do in certain formations. I just tried to get a hat up on the ball, it shot up and Dave made a great play."

In the second quarter, No. 57 added to his playmaking with a tug-of-war for the ball with Giants running back Brandon Jacobs early in the second quarter. Scott ripped the ball from Jacobs' grasp for the fumble recovery at the Jets 27, keeping the Giants off the board.

"I wanted it more than he wanted it," Scott said. "It's just about who did more curls that week."

Harris was very active into the third quarter with a game-leading eight tackles and the interception. The third-year veteran continues his great preseason with 16 tackles and two sacks in three games.

Saturday was the first game for the big guy in the middle — nose tackle Kris Jenkins. As usual he made his presence felt.

Big Jenk threw his weight around from the beginning, getting inside on the fourth play from scrimmage and later pushing through center Shaun O'Hara during the Scott fumble recovery. He finished the game with a couple of hurries and two tackles.

"This is really the first time we had a chance to play with Jenkins in the lineup, so we have to kind of get our chemistry because it's new for me," said Scott. "I haven't played with him in there so I have to get used to his tempo."

The linebackers were very active all evening as the Jets got sacks from third-year man Jason Trusnik and rookie Jamaal Westerman late in the game. Westerman, the former Rutgers DE, is making the strides he needs to make the team.

"I have to be more consistent and every day just get a little better and take steps forward rather than backward," said Westerman. "We're working hard, everybody from the D-line to linebackers, at getting to the quarterback, and as long as we keep doing that and working hard, I think we'll be OK."

Vernon Gholston, who started at outside linebacker, almost had the first sack of his Jets career early in the fourth quarter, but he was flagged for helmet-to-helmet contact with Giants backup David Carr. Still, Ryan said he saw progress from Gholston.

"I think we saw that he made some plays out there. He was aggressive, sometimes maybe a little inconsistent," said the Jets head coach. "We still have to keep him going but I think he's getting better, and I think we saw that today. I mean, this is a good football team that we were up against, and I thought he competed well."

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