BustsThe Jets have allowed an NFL-high seven pass plays of 40-plus yards. In their Week 4 loss to the Seahawks, the Green & White surrendered six plays that covered 20+ yards. Head coach Todd Bowles said the problem is not communication and it's often been a different defender at fault on each occasion.
"It's really not miscommunication, so that's probably the wrong choice of word. You can call it busts," he said Monday. "Sometimes it's not miscommunication when there's only one guy involved. I've seen certain plays like that that I've coached the secondary. I don't know if there's been as many at the same time, but overall during the course of the year you've seen certain plays like that. We've had way too many."
Battle TestedWhile DE Muhammad Wilkerson isn't happy about the team's start, the veteran knows through recent experience that things can get turned around quickly. Last year, the Jets had a rough stretch in weeks seven through 11, losing four of five games.
"We talked about last year. We were 1-4 in the second quarter of the season, so nobody is down," Wilkerson said. "Of course we wanted to get the win. The reason we lost was because of communication (and) execution, which are things we need to correct throughout the week and get ready for Pittsburgh."
The Right LeaderQB Ryan Fitzpatrick has struggled the past two weeks after torching the Buffalo secondary for 374 yards and a touchdown. Despite Fitzpatrick's nine interceptions since week two, WR Brandon Marshall remains confident Fitzpatrick is the right man to lead the team.
"Like I said, we've all dealt with it, especially guys like Fitz. He's been around and been a couple places. He's been a starting quarterback and a backup quarterback," said Marshall, who caught his first TD pass of the season against the 'Hawks. "He's won jobs and had jobs taken away from him. So this is familiar territory for him. It's good because we need a guy like that, that's been through it, to understand how to deal with it."
Steady GrowthAlthough they didn't get the outcome they desired against the Seahawks, Bowles thought his club took some steps forward in Week 4.
"On to the next one," Bowles said. "We're close, we made some plays, made some strides from the Kansas City game to last game. We have to clean up some mistakes, we can't beat ourselves."
Film ReviewFitzpatrick played very well in the first half, throwing for 188 yards while completing 70% of his passes. After the offense was unable to register any points in the third quarter, Fitzpatrick was intercepted three times in the decisive fourth quarter.
"Well we knew going into the game it was going to be tough just because of the way they play defense and force you to execute," he said. "Part of it is getting behind on third down with the penalties, me taking sacks or whatever it is. Getting behind the sticks a little bit hurt us and then obviously at the end the turnovers. But we knew we had our work cut out for us and we knew were going to have to execute all game long. We're going to have to be patient, we're going to have to punt at times and it just didn't come together for us in the second half."
Relieving the PressureWR Eric Decker did not play Sunday (shoulder), leaving Marshall and company with a tough task against the league's best defense. Marshall accounted for 89 of the team's 261 receiving yards, including a 41-yard reception with Pro Bowl CB Richard Sherman in coverage.
"Well my job is to make it easier on the field on the offensive side," Marshall said about his role without Decker in the lineup. "I'm focusing on creating six or seven man boxes, I'm focused on making sure teams double team me or play special coverage to me, so my guys on the other side are one-on-one, basically cover zero. So that's on our receivers and on everyone else that can see that and take advantage of that. I'm going to continue to do my best to create those matchups and to me we have those guys in this locker room that should be able to beat one-on-one coverage."
InjuriesBowles said that Darrelle Revis had an MRI and suffered a mild hamstring strain. The Jets head coach said it's too early to determine his status for Sunday's game against the Steelers along with Decker, who is still nursing a shoulder injury.