Jonathan Vilma wasn’t about to do cartwheels through the Jets’ locker room today, but he was encouraged to hear that the Jets are an NFL top-10 team in one rushing defense category: yards per carry allowed.
"Yeah, we felt that against Buffalo," Vilma said of the run defense starting to tighten things up. "I don’t know how many yards we held them to, but I know it was under 100. That’s always the goal, to hold them under 100 and keep the yards per carry down. I felt we did a good job of that.
"The bottom line is still to win. We can have all those things, all the great stats, but we still have to find a way to win."
But perhaps stopping the run will help the Jets’ pass rush and coverage toward that end. Bills rookie Marshawn Lynch, while impressive in bursting through the Jets’ nickel front for his 10-yard touchdown run, finished with 79 yards on 23 carries, and the Bills were held to 86 rushing yards at 3.1 yards per carry.
That brought the Green & White’s per-carry average down to 3.7, improving their NFL ranking from 15th to ninth. Their rush yards allowed per game also improved to 112.5, with their ranking also rising from 20th to 16th.
These gains will be tested by the Giants on Sunday and by Derrick Ward, a seventh-round pick by the Jets in 2004 whom the Giants signed off their practice squad. Ward has taken over Big Blue’s ground game from the injured Brandon Jacobs and is averaging 4.8 yards a pop (73 carries, 353 yards). And this week word is Jacobs is ready to return from his right knee sprain and coach Tom Coughlin’s job will be to achieve an optimum blend of Ward and Jacobs.
Some Rest for No. 51
Vilma will be on the front lines again vs. the Giants, trying as always to stop the pass and the run. But it was interesting that at Buffalo, for the first time in two seasons, he was not on the field for every Jets defensive play. CBS without comment showed No. 51 on the sidelines for one of the four plays he said he came off the field for in the second quarter.
It’s not like Vilma has never sat out a play. He didn’t start his first two games as a rookie in 2004 and yielded his MLB spot here and there once Sam Cowart returned to health that season.
But by an unofficial count, in ’05, besides eight end-game plays, he missed only one midgame play at Baltimore. And last season Vilma was involved in all 1,093 of the Jets’ defensive snaps, including the playoff game at New England.
"It’s been eight or nine years," he said about his remarkable longevity of taking almost every rep, including his four seasons as starter and star at Miami.
The coaches, needless to say, are mixing and matching, scheming and subbing, trying to get the D up to speed. Rookie David Harris is getting more PT in the base, not to mention the nickel. David Bowens has been seeing more action on the outside. All active D-linemen are getting reps, and Darrelle Revis gives the Jets three corners who see action in the base.
For those keeping score at home, there have been some changes to the statistics from the Jets-Bills game.
The forced fumble originally credited to Jonathan Vilma late in the first quarter was actually forced by Darrelle Revis and now the official play-by-play correctly recognizes Revis with the FF.
Also, Jerricho Cotchery’s second 28-yard reception has been changed to a 29-yarder because the ball was actually advanced to the Bills 13, not the 14 as originally scored. And Justin McCareins’ ensuing illegal motion penalty, originally scored as a 4-yard penalty, becomes a 5-yarder.
That means Cotchery has 107 receiving yards, Pennington 291 passing yards and the Jets 347 total yards and 66 penalty yards.
No, Elias Sports Bureau did not find four missing points for the Green & White.
Newest Jet: Clowney
Head coach Eric Mangini announced that with Cody Spencer going on the Non-Football Illness list, the Jets have signed rookie WR David Clowney off of Green Bay’s practice squad. The Packers’ fifth-round draft pick (157th overall) out of Virginia Tech, Clowney checks in at 6’0" and 188 pounds. The Long Island-born and Florida-bred player’s preseason numbers for the Pack were not eye-popping, but what was impressive at the NFL Combine workouts was his 4.36 speed. He does a lot of special teams work, and not just as a returner but also on punt and field goal block and as a gunner on the punt cover team.
Tags: David Clowney, David Harris, Derrick Ward, Jonathan Vilma, Marshawn Lynch
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