The New York Jets one question mark for 2016 lies in their secondary

If the Jets want to sustain success in 2016, they must figure out some answers in their secondary fast

Florham Park, N.J. - There are not many question marks surrounding the New York Jets through the first two games of their schedule, but there is one major concern that is in the beginning stages of a dangerous trend. While the offense has gone from decent to dangerous in a span of five days and the defensive line has gone from dangerous to deadly, the amount of big plays the Jets secondary has surrendered in just two games to the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills is alarming.

Entering training camp, there was concern in the Jets secondary due to Darrelle Revis' age and return from wrist surgery, Dee Milliner's health and productivity, Marcus Williams' inconsistencies and Buster Skrine's discipline. A unit that was once the cream of the NFL crop has turned back to a pumpkin. Warning signs showed in the preseason with Milliner being torched by the Jacksonville Jaguars - leading to his release - and it extended through week one after A.J. Green burnt Revis for 12 catches for 180 yards and one touchdown. 

The results have not been pretty and the amount of blown coverages and lapses in the secondary boiled over into Thursday night's game - a 37-31 victory over the Bills. Despite the game ending with a different result, the poor play in the defensive backfield continued as more questions about Darrelle Revis and his shutdown ability have surfaced. A handful of big plays including a 54-yard touchdown to Green in week one, an 84-yard touchdown to Marquise Goodwin and a 71-yard score to former Jet Greg Salas have had the potential to derail the Jets from victory lane. So far, the team has managed to survive with a 1-1 record. But if this continues, the season will get ugly fast. 

"We are making day one training camp mistakes," head coach Todd Bowles said in a conference call on Friday. "We have to be cleaner." 

The Jets need to start scrubbing because what awaits them is a Kansas City Chiefs team that threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns in their season opening comeback victory over the San Diego Chargers. If the unit cannot correct their mistakes, it will not matter how many times the defensive line sacks Alex Smith or stuffs Spencer Ware in the backfield. Smith will adjust and find holes in a secondary that has struggled heavily. 

"We have to clean it up with communication. We have to make sure to correct that first because teams will do it until you put the fire out," said Bowles. "We'll take some time to fix them." 

Darrelle Revis is under the most fire he has ever dealt with in his storied career. Granted, he is not off to the best start but he has not received the help in the secondary from his safeties or other cornerbacks. The team discussed during training camp how the defensive game plan could be adjusted to provide Revis the extra support he may now need at 31 years old. He has not received it, which has led to big play after big play exposing Revis badly. Whether it was the extra yardage between Revis and his receiver or zone coverage, Revis has taken the brunt of the criticism because he has been in the proximity of receivers showcasing tremendous talent. 

Has Revis Island sunk into oblivion? No. It is too early in the season to jump to conclusions on arguably one of the better cornerbacks in the league. But, Revis is not the same lockdown cornerback he once was. He can still be effective but cannot do it alone. 

"[Revis] gave up two plays," said Bowles when asked if he is concerned about his $39 million guaranteed cornerback. "It shouldn't be an indication on the whole season. We don't want to give them up but we'll correct them and move on from there." 

Luckily for New York, they have a full week to correct those mistakes in practice before they visit Kansas City. While it starts with Darrelle Revis being stronger, it continues with the entire unit stepping up, learning the coverage and playing to their potential. 

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Joe Barone is a staff writer at JetsInsider.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@28JoeBarone), or via email (joebarone28@gmail.com). 

 

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