In the midst of a frustrating 2013 season, the Jets’ defense quietly emerged as one of the elite units in the league — nearly dragging Gang Green all the way to a playoff berth behind Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and a dominant front seven. So now that Eric Decker and Chris Johnson have breathed some life into a moribund offense, the news out of camp this week should scare some teams in the AFC: According to Wilkerson, that defense has the potential to get a lot better.
“We just have to push ourselves,” Wilkerson said on Wednesday. “Last year I think we didn’t communicate well on the back end, and this year guys are doing that better on the practice field. We just have to keep pushing each other, and keep plugging in days like we had today on the defensive side of the ball, and we’ll get to the No. 1 defense.”
Despite their success, New York had just 15 takeaways last year, resulting in a turnover margin of -13 that ranked 31st in the league — a stat that had been a point of pride when Rex Ryan was drawing up defensive schemes with the Ravens. But after a day in which the defense seemingly created turnovers once every few snaps, Wilkerson sees that changing in 2014 thanks to a far more aggressive edge.
“Last year we didn’t create many turnovers, so I think that’s a positive note today,” Wilkerson said. “You just have to attack the day. We watched it on film and we saw that, so today we had to attack the day and do what we had to do, and play Jets style defense, and we did that today.”