With starting safety Calvin Pryor nursing a concussion, Rontez Miles sits on deck for Monday's game against the Colts.
Predominantly a special teams ace, Miles has made an impact with his limited snaps on defense. Against the Rams, Miles was integral in a goal-line stand early in the first quarter as he drove back TE Lance Kendricks for no gain on second and goal from the 2. Last Sunday against the Patriots, the Jets flooded the field with defensive backs and Miles became part of a three-safety look that included Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist.
"I'm way more patient," Miles said this week. "I understand the game, the small things. Last year was more of a fire reaction — I see, go get ball. This year I'm able to see it sooner. I'm able to calm down, which allows me to be less antsy on the field. Everybody knows I'm jittery, I'll be ready to make a play. I'm way more calm, there's more patience in my game. My man coverage is better, too."
Those improved cover skills will be tested again Monday night as three of the Colts' top five reception leaders include a pair of tight ends (Jack Doyle and Dwayne Allen) and a running back (Frank Gore). However, the Cal (PA) product feels prepared to line up against whomever after the valuable experience against the Patriots in Week 12.
"Last week I shadowed [Rob] Gronkowski and covered [Martellus] Bennett and their running backs," he said. "That's what they want me to do."
Miles, donned an "energizer bunny" by special teams coordinator Brant Boyer, may have a flare for the bright lights. The 6'0", 203-pounder's first start came in primetime and No. 2 could be a couple of days away with Pryor being ruled out Saturday.
Last season, Miles made his debut on Thursday Night Football against the Bills in Week 10, playing 98% of the defensive snaps and racking up seven total tackles, three of which were for loss. While he said nothing will compare to his first professional start, he's excited for another matchup under the lights. Miles has 23 defensive tackles this season and he needs just two to set a personal best.
"It's Monday night so we know everyone is watching," he said. "As Coach Bowles would say, 'It's the only show in town.' I think everybody is pretty balanced where we need to be mentally."