It wasn't pleasant watching the Jets' defense struggle against Oakland's offense on Sunday — "unacceptable" was a word Todd Bowles used at a defensive meeting this week.
One good thing to come out of that game so far this week is that the players seem to agree wholeheartedly with their head coach. LB David Harris and DE Muhammad Wilkerson spoke out earlier in the week and the locker room after today's second practice of the week has been of one mind.
"Those two are very passionate players," coordinator Kacy Rodgers said. "If we don't have success, those guys are a whole tightknit group. We have pretty high standards, and that game was not up to our standards."
"Usually we play with our hair on fire and we get to the ballcarrier, but it just wasn't there Sunday at all," DE Leger Douzable told newyorkjets.com's Eric Allen. "Nobody had to say anything. We knew exactly what happened and we knew we had to nip that in the bud and correct that right away."
"That probably will be our worst performance of the year and we never want to relive that," CB Buster Skrine said. "The tempo this week has gone up a lot. We're getting better."
The correction came with a Wednesday practice in "uppers" — full shoulder pads — with an emphasis on tackling technique. No taking to the ground, but there was definitely a more physical component to that session.
"It's about being where you've got to be," said LB Demario Davis. "Get your feet right, get your head across on tackles, get back to fundamentals so we can be better on Sunday."
Returned to spider pads for today's practice, LB Quinton Coples said, "Everything's going well. Now we've just got to make it happen."
A big key is not letting the Jaguars' offense feed off of what the Raiders' O did to the Jets' D.
"They've got a young group just like Oakland does, as far as the quarterback, receivers, and the running back position," Douzable said. "If we're not on our P's and Q's, it's going to be another issue. So I think we're definitely eager to go back out there and show what we can do."
Mauldin Making a Move?
One Jets defender who's extra eager to have at Jacksonville and QB Blake Bortles is rookie LB Lorenzo Mauldin, who could be ready to make a rookie move, based on one noticeable pass rush at Oakland where he beat veteran LT Donald Penn to the outside and put a good, hard QB hit that produced a Derek Carr third-down incompletion.
"I got back into what I do," Mauldin told me today. "I got into games early in the season and I was running down the middle of the tackles, not really understanding how to get around them. Now I'm really studying who I'm going up against. It was just a matter of time before I could actually get out there and work it. So I got an opportunity against the Raiders. Everything's falling into place."
Mauldin has yet to get a sack. The Carr knockdown was his second QB hit, and there was his forced fumble vs. Cleveland that he doesn't remember because he suffered a concussion on the play. But he says of that first pro sack, "It's coming, it's coming."
Perhaps against Bortles, who avoided Mauldin's pass rush once before in the 2013 game between Mauldin's Louisville team and Bortles' Central Florida squad.
"With the max protect they had in that game, it was pretty hard to get after him that day," he said. "But now I get a chance to get after him again."