Who's to blame for horrible defense?

It has gotten so bad with this Jets defense that not even a high-powered offense can help compensate for it. <p>

Chad Pennington put in a standout performance on Sunday, when he completed 11 of 14 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns, as he registered a 158.3 quarterback rating, the highest possible numerical rating a quarterback can earn.

However, this superb effort was not enough as Gang Green's defense surrendered 538 total yards, and forced the Colts offense into punting only three times, while allowing them to score four touchdowns and a field goal on offense, and one touchdown on special teams.

The Colts ran 77 plays on offense, had 30 first downs, and converted 50 percent on third down (7-14), in their 38-31 win over the Jets on Sunday. This lousy effort by the defense is prompting Herman Edwards to take a look at how things are done.

"We have to get better on defense that is a fact, end of story, that is what we have to," Edwards said on Monday. "I just think we have to be more consistent, we did not tackle well, especially in space, we have to do better.

"We might even have to simplify some things (on defense), if we have to. You want to make the players successful, that is your job as coach, to do that whatever you have to put them in positions to succeed."

So far the Jets defense has not been succeeding, as they currently rank last in the NFL against the run, surrendering 154.1 yards per game, as the team remains in last place in the AFC East, with a 3-7 record.

Yesterday's performance against the Colts was a microcosm of how the season has been going for this defense, as they constantly miss tackles and are generally ineffective at stopping their opposition from scoring points.

But defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell doesn't totally agree with Edwards' answer that it lies in the scheme. He feels the problem might be with the execution of the players on his defensive unit.

"I just think we've got our chances to make (plays) and we're not making them," said Cottrell. "We're there and we aren't (making plays). The effort was there but we weren't executing where we were supposed to have been. It was a total lack of consistency… I think we've got to execute."

10 games into the season and this team is still not executing a scheme they have been playing for three years. Come on!

This answer by Cottrell means one of two things, either he is not doing a good job preparing the defensive players, or the Jets simply don't have the personnel to make it work. Edwards hinted it might be the latter at his Monday afternoon press conference.

"He (Teddy) has been a good coach, he is calling the plays he can and doing whatever he can do with the players he has, and that's all you can do, I will leave it at that" said Edwards. "Don't worry about the guys you don't have, just play with the guys you have, and put them in position to make some plays."


A common misconception is that this Jets defense is the exact same as the one used by the World Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This is not true.

The Jets do play a Cover Two zone, but they play more gap containment, rather than gap penetration. Gap penetration is what is played by the Bucs. A Cover Two scheme can go either way, penetration or containment.

"This is not the Tampa defense, the scheme is not either," said Edwards. "People think that because we are playing a 4-3 we are playing the Tampa defense. We are playing the Jets defense that we feel is best for our players."

Well one thing is certain; the Jets have not been containing any gaps all season long, so something is wrong, whether it's the scheme, coaching, or the players.


Paul Hackett although being criticized for his unorthodox play calling on the Jets last drive has the support of Edwards.

"When you have 34 plays on offense you have to make a perfect call every time," said Edwards. "We are kidding ourselves, we cannot do that. When you play a game like this you have no room for error."

The Jets ran only 34 offensive plays against the Colts, compared to their 77. It was amazing they were able to stay competitive.


FS Jon McGraw has been placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the 2003 season, as he will have surgery on his injured shoulder. DT Josh Evans will take his place on the 53- man roster, and be activated this Sunday, when the Jets host the Jacksonville Jaguars.

CB Donnie Abraham is probable, DE John Abraham is questionable, RB LaMont Jordan is probable with a broken left finger, and he is in a soft cast and will probably play this Sunday.


In typical Edwards' fashion, he has yet to declare this a lost season yet, citing his team still has six games remaining.

"I am not saying it is a down year yet, we have six games left, anything can happen," said Edwards. "We just have to go out and win a game, but we will see what happens nothing is over yet. All of the sudden you see teams that jumped out there, not look so good.

"The great thing about this game is you have a chance to win every game, and the players know that, and that is how they prepare. They are playing hard enough."

Jets Insider Top Stories