New York Jets coach Rex Ryan made it completely known who he thought stepped up the most in the team's 26-17 loss to the Detroit Lions this past Friday. The enigmatic coach lauded the way his safety Jaiquawn Jarrett played in the game and took time to praise him.
"You talk about playing like a Jet, that guy was in there and he did a tremendous job of hitting and communicating," said Ryan of Jarrett. "I really liked the way he stepped up."
Jarrett played the game strongly. He finished the contest with five tackles, good for second behind fellow safety, Josh Bush. He also added a special teams assist and a quarterback hit. When the clock reached zero, Jarrett had been on the field for the most plays out of all Jets personnel. When asked about how Jarrett was able to sustain a high level of competitiveness, the Brooklyn native stated that nothing beats preparation through hard work.
"I want to make sure I continue to prepare," said Jarrett. "Just getting out there and getting better each day in practice, continuing to prepare as if I'm a starter or wherever I'm at on the depth chart."
2013 marks an improbable return for the now three year veteran. Just last year, Jarrett was unceremoniously cut by the same team that drafted him in the Philadelphia Eagles. Cut in September, Jarrett went on to sign a reserve contract with his hometown Jets just before the start of the new year. Jarrett remembers the time of confusion and uses it as a learning experience to better himself both on and off the field.
"You always go through obstacles in life, so getting cut, it was just so surreal," told the Temple alum. "It made me understand and realize how the business is, so I was just thankful for the opportunity that the Jets organization has given me."
Jarrett also credits a lot of his success to his teammates and the competition that they provide for him. He credits Coach Tim McDonald with helping him learn the defense and has benefitted from playing with veterans Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen. He looks forward to seeing what will come of the 2013 season.
"My goal is to come out here and practice every day to better myself, to do whatever is necessary for me to become a better individual player, so that when I'm out there on this field, I can help this team."