Florham Park, NJ - The Jets defense didn't do anything right last week in Oakland but nothing was worse than their pitiful attempts as tackling. No pass rush, all types of blown coverages and they allowed 118 rushing yards (at 4.7 yards a clip) and yet none of that was nearly as atrocious as all the missed tackles.
Earlier in the week David Harris said he was "disgusted" by what he saw when reviewing the film, Todd Bowles and Muhammad Wilkerson said players were "loafing" and because of that loafing they had over 20 missed tackles. To Bowles, Harris, Wilkerson and everyone in that locker room that is something that can't be tolerated, but it's also something they feel confident they can fix.
"It's unacceptable. We weren't good enough," Bowles said. "They know it wasn't good enough, we know it wasn't good enough, we have to be better at coaching it, they have to get better at playing it. It is one game, it's the first time we fell apart like that. We have to come back together and it can't happen again."
Harris said there were a number of times where players just weren't hustling and Bowles agreed saying, "We had some loafs on defense for the first time this year. They were minor loafs, but they were still loafs none the less and we have to get everybody to the ball...
"It wasn't loafing like a big deal, it's taking two steps, one here or another. I think we are splitting hairs here. We're not saying people were just dogging it all the way to the ball here. There might have been somebody getting tackled down the field and somebody pulled up a yard or two from the ball, or not finishing or something like that. It wasn't loafing like we were just dog tired and we were loafing. Our guys understand what happened in the game, the coaches understand what happened in the game (and) we'll work to correct that."
So, to work on correcting those issues and making sure this doesn't become a recurring problem they put on the shoulder pads in practice and focused on wrapping up on tackles. Bowles said practice was about "effort, it's technique, it's fundamentals and it's want to." All that is great, and also true, but that's all about individual tackling. There were plenty of instances of poor individual tackling against the Raiders but one thing you can do to mask any deficiencies with individual tackling is make sure players don't have to make individual tackles. As they say there's strength in numbers.
"Guys know how to tackle, we just have to get more hats to the ball if we miss a tackle," Bowles said. "We have to tackle better no doubt about it, but we have to gang tackle. That solves a lot of problems."
Bowles mentioned "getting 11 hats on the ball" a few different times to the media, so you know that's a message he mentioned many more times to the team.
"Just more effort, like coach said. Guys got to have more effort, especially on defense (that) side of the ball," Darrelle Revis said. "For us, we bring that energy, we bring that type of toughness to the game. On defense that's for us to go out there and create turnovers, get off (the field) on third downs and get the ball back to our offense so there is a big spark plug for us on defense and we felt that overall we didn't fufill that task on Sunday."
The Jets need their defense to play like a top five defense, this offense isn't good enough to carry the teams without help from the defense, even when Chris Ivory is running all over opposing defenses let alone when he's not, last week the defense let the offense down. The defense dug a hole this offense had no chance of climbing out of.
Starting this week Bowles and the Jets defense hope put that disaster of a performance behind them and it starts with the tackling. If guys can't get the job done individually then the answer has to be in gang tackling, 11 hats on the ball.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/Scout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).