"It's tough to think about now," safety Kerry Rhodes said on Thursday. "Because, you know, the way we're playing now. To think that we could have gotten it fixed earlier, but I think that after the bye week you get a lot of time to really reflect on what you have done. What you have done well, what's worked for you; and what's not been good for you. During the regular season, you go from one opponent to the next opponent so you don't really have time to reflect on the things that you have done well too much."
Perhaps Rhodes has a point.
An off-week not only affords a team time to heal, but it also provides time for a unit to assess their own mistakes, and mend those as well.
A Jets defense that recorded just three sacks over the course of the first nine games has recorded 13 in the past three. It has been the D-Line that has the bulk of those sacks, but a lot of their success should be credited to solid play from the secondary.
Given the way the season has unfolded, the Jets have several young players seeing significant playing time on their defense. Some of which were not starting earlier in the season. The inexperience of the group is a fact that Eric Mangini says is pivotal toward explaining why his team has looked so drastically better over the past few games.
"You figure that Darrelle (Revis) is new to the system and David (Harris) is new to the system, Abram Elam is new to the system. Hank (Poteat) has played in the system, but he's really a new starter," Mangini said. "There's Kenyon Coleman, he was in a similar system but he's new. So as those reps build up and those people work together and you do get a chance to step back and look at some of the assumptions that you made going into the season defensively versus what the reality is versus the challenges you face in the second half and are able to take those into account as well. It all plays in together."
The Jets defense draws another tough assignment this season when the overachieving Browns, and their fourth-ranked offense, come to town. Browns quarterback Derek Anderson has been impressive and the Jets ability to get to him, and limit his productivity with Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow, will be a key towards the game's outcome.
The Jets hope their defensive roll continues against this dangerous group.