As the Jets have reached the midway point of the season, safety Marcus Maye believes the defense is in an "okay spot," but not where they'd like to be.
"We have a lot more ball to play," Maye said. "We do a great job of flying around. We're always going to play fast and physical. Once we settle in and figure out what the offense is trying to do with us, we're pretty good. Once we're all on the same page, I feel like we can be one of the best defenses out there."
The Green & White ranks near the bottom-third in the NFL in total (24th), passing (19th) and rushing defense (21st). On the other end of the spectrum, the group ranks fourth in third-down defense, holding opponents to a 33% conversion rate, and sixth in red zone defense with a 46.2% conversion rate. Additionally, the unit is sixth in the NFL with 15 takeaways. But the Jets haven't forced a turnover in their last two outings.
"Takeaways are hard to get," Maye said. "They're not easy to come by because they're not trying to just give you the ball. You just have to create them by stripping at the ball, punching at the ball and creating disguises so the quarterback doesn't have a clear picture. We have to rush the passer and get the quarterback off of his spot, so he can make errant throws."
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The 6'0", 207-pounder missed Week 7 with a thumb injury and was determined to get back on the field against the Bears in Week 8. He felt the need to "suck it up and go" because the team needed him out there. In fact, Maye led the Green & White with seven tackles last Sunday despite playing with a cast on his injured thumb.
"It's a good and bad thing," he said. "It's never a good thing when your middle-of-the-field safety is leading in tackles, but certain situations happen where I have to do my job and that's to get the ball carrier down and not let it break. I take pride in getting tackles and not missing tackles and not letting the ball break through our defense. That's what I was doing."
This weekend, Maye will return to his home state and expects to have at least 30 friends and family in attendance. Additionally, the last time Maye lined up against the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium, he recorded his second professional interception. When these teams met in Week 2, Maye was inactive because of an ankle/foot injury that sidelined him for the majority of the summer.
Sunday will mark the third different Dolphins quarterback the Jets will face in as many games. Brock Osweiler, who's taken over for the injured Ryan Tannehill (shoulder), has thrown for 895 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions in four games (three starts) while completing 64.1% of his passes.
"They can run the ball a lot more with Tannehill," Maye said. "Osweiler comes in and he's more in the pocket. He's taller and can throw the ball around. It's different game plans with those two quarterbacks."