Jets defense needs more consistency

With so much attention being focused on Chad Pennington and the Jets offensive struggles, the defense seems to be getting a free pass.

Although the 16 points they allowed on Sunday is not the gaudiest of figures, the Jets defense yielded close to 300 yards through the air, and another one hundred fifty one on the ground.

The Eagles offense had their way with the Jets on third down, converting on nine of their 16 attempts; a telling statistic for a Jets team that is yet to display any sort of defensive consistency.

"At this point we're not where we should be," safety Kerry Rhodes, said after Sunday's 16-14 loss at the Meadowlands. "Like I said we play in spurts, but spurts aren't good enough in this league. There are too many good players in this league and too many good teams in this league to play well for half of the game or courses of the game and expect to win. We can say what we want. We can say we have a good team. We can say we have good players, which we do. Our record is 1-5 and that's not good."

The frustration is clearly mounting in the Jets locker room as, for the second straight week, the defense played well enough to win, but struggled to avoid the big play.

Last week it was Andre Dyson's missed tackle of Plaxico Burress that led to a 53-yard touchdown reception for the Giants. This week it was Eric Smith's missed tackle on Eagle wideout Kevin Curtis that proved fatal. Curtis's 75 yard catch-and-run seemed to typify the Jets season.

"It's frustrating when we get two, three plays into the game and we give up a (75 yard) touchdown," Jon Vilma said of his frustration. "16 points, you take away that score, we win the game. That's what's frustrating."

Vilma makes a valid point. Although the Jets defense has not played consistently well, they haven't been terrible either.

Despite ranking 24th in the league against the run, they have managed two hold two of their last three opponents under 17 points. The defense continues to bend without breaking; yet they constantly yield time consuming drives.

"It's very tough," Shaun Ellis said. "You start to feel like, 'Why are we doing this?' We can't fall into that trap. We have to continue to go out and practice. We have to take the coaching and the criticisms. It's very disappointing. The fans expect a lot out of us and we're not giving it to them right now. It's tough. I can feel their pain."

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