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Sutton Sees Defense Making Strides

Posted by Randy Lange on November 2, 2007 – 3:55 pm

It could be a Buffalo thing or it could be a Game 8 thing. Either way, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton sees progress being made.

"The players worked very hard the last couple of weeks," Sutton said at his biweekly informal news conference this afternoon. "We’re still a long way away from where we need to be. But they can see the progress and we can see the progress."

Of course, you can never discount a play from a game, so the late 85-yard J.P. Losman-to-Lee Evans touchdown pass that put Sunday’s Bills game out of reach goes on the defense’s log as well. But put that over on the side and the Jets allowed 262 yards on 61 plays for a very respectable 4.3 yards per play. And now counting that home run ball, for the second time in three games, the Green & White allowed just one TD.

It starts with playing the run. Rookie RB Marshawn Lynch told the CBS announcers at the pregame production meeting that he felt sure the Jets game would be his first 100-yard game as a pro. He was wrong. Lynch ran 21 times for 80 yards (after going 23-for-79 in Game 4 at Buffalo), and for the second time this season the Jets held the Bills to 3.1 yards a carry, their best averages this season.

"There are no quantum leaps," Sutton said. "It’s just the ability to keep improving the little things. From a coaching or individual player standpoint, it could be the most simple of things like hand placement or footwork. When those things are improving, you’d be surprised how quick you can fix these problems."

And the improved run play, rather than the fact that Buffalo was Game 8 this season just as Cleveland was Game 8 last season, may have had something to do with the pressure that the Jets successfully brought to bear on Trent Edwards and J.P. Losman.

"A lot of the things tie together," Sutton said. "Sometimes getting control of the run is an easier way to pressure. Once you get one area squared away, it’s much easier to call defenses. You can anticipate what’s going to happen to you. I think they did a good job with the pressures and execution."

Quarterback hits, as imperfectly as they are kept by stat crews around the NFL, have been up. After seven in the first four games, the Jets have 21 the last four, including a season-high-tying seven vs. the Bills. None of the pressures were more exciting than the "cloudburst" approach of having six players standing up and milling around before the snap and then rushing the pocket on a couple of occasions.

"Every week we draw up something we want to do," said LB David Bowens, who had the hit on Edwards the first time the blitz was unveiled, which produced Darrelle Revis’ first pro interception. "It’s fun. As a player, you can get lost in the monotony of being in a four-man or a three-man front."

Bowens still is having limited exposure in the defense, but he had his most productive burst as a Jet in a three-play span in the second-quarter, preceding his QB hit with a half-tackle on a 1-yard loss and then defending an Edwards pass with his elbow. He’s feeling it and he says his defensive mates are feeling it.

"We saw it. Call a spade a spade," he said. "We played a lot better for four quarters. We’ve had flashes of good defense but not consistently, over four quarters. I think we did that against Buffalo. Even on the touchdown, guys were in position."

Is this a mirage or real improvement. We’ll see Sunday. The Redskins certainly have dangerous performers on offense. They also have rankings very similar to the Bills. If not a quantum leap, the Jets need to continue to make strides if they’re to salvage important elements from this season that has started so unfortunately.

Here are some key offensive rankings of the Jets’ last opponent and their next opponent:

  Category Buffalo Washington
  Total Yards per Game 31st 28th
  Total Yards per Play 31st 23rd
  Rushing Yards per Game 20th 18th
  Rushing Yards per Play 24th 25th
  Passing Yards per Game 31st 25th
  Passing Yards per Play 25th 15th

Coles Listed as Doubtful

WR Laveranues Coles sat out his third practice this week today — or more accurately, he stood it out, watching in sweats. But he was not ruled out of Sunday’s game against Washington. His status in the injury report just released is doubtful, which officially means there’s at least a 75 percent chance he won’t play in the game. S Kerry Rhodes was added to the report today with a knee injury. He was limited at practice and is questionable for the game.

The Redskins’ report had several interesting additions today: LB Marcus Washington with a hamstring (limited, questionable), WR James Thrash also with a hammy (limited, probable) and RB Clinton Portis, who did not participate in today’s practice due to a coach’s decision. There is no further word on why coach Joe Gibbs held Portis out, and no listing of Portis’ status for the Jets.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 20 Comments »

20 Responses to “Sutton Sees Defense Making Strides”

  1. By James on Nov 2, 2007 | Reply

    I agree that they are making progress in the right direction, but I still want to see a pass rush and no 10 minute drives to start a game.

  2. By Frank on Nov 2, 2007 | Reply

    I haven’t agreed with much this team has said since the Kendall bomb that wrecked the season. Management lost the team with that dumb move. Anyway the defense has been playing better and ironically I thought Vilma had stepped it up before he got hurt. I suggested after the preseason that Harris should have played next to Vilma but that is now moot. I also said Bender should play he will surprise.

  3. By Charlie on Nov 2, 2007 | Reply

    Randy, I was surprised to read that Ed Donatell is on the Jets staff in an unspecified, unannounced role (from Jets Confidential). Does this mark the end for Sutton?

  4. By Ira on Nov 2, 2007 | Reply

    Randy, Good comparison with the Bills and Skins O. They both struggle and there is a good chance the Jets will have to make Campbell beat you just like the Skins will make Clemens beat them. Which ever QB makes less mistakes and plays better their team will win. At 1-7 there is no reason to hold back. I even think Smith will throw his 1st pass this week on a gadget play.

  5. By Drew on Nov 2, 2007 | Reply

    Last year we got to the QB by creative blitzing by Rhodes. This year…nothing until last week when we sent Revis off the corner and then when we played that wacky 1-6 and then rushed everyone(which I really like) Has anyone seen B. Thomas?? He usually eats up RB’s and gets to the QB. His lost season is a big reason why the defense has struggled. We need our OLB to hit the QB. Go Jets!!

  6. By fantasy land on Nov 3, 2007 | Reply

    Are you guys in Fantasy land? “the team needs some fire?” the team needs a new OL and some defense players that want to earn their salary. I have a little league team here in town that rushes the passer better

  7. By rob on Nov 3, 2007 | Reply

    The defense is pathetic and Sutton and Mangini have shirked accountability. The scheme does not fit the personnel. Let’s own up to it. The off-season was a bust and there really is no hope in sight. There really isn’t alot of talent here and wasting all the draft picks on Revis and Harris (who both appear pretty ordinary) is already haunting the franchise. Let’s play for top draft choice.

  8. By Frank on Nov 3, 2007 | Reply

    The defense has looked better because they added new wrinkles just like we have been screaming for the last several weeks. Now if they start 2 gapping D-Rob and send Thomas on more blitzes we’ll see more sacks and QB pressure. I really hope that Schott has put a different package together for Clemens it better not be Dinks and Dunks this weekend. If they open up the playbook we will win this week.

  9. By Frank on Nov 3, 2007 | Reply

    My new prediction is the Jets will play .500 the rest of the year with Clemens as the starter. The team will respond to Clemens except Coles I wonder if Chad was playing this week if he would be sitting it out?(my opinion) it will be refreshing to see a true NFL arm on the field this week I hope the receivers are ready to catch fastballs. I am worried about the drops it is probably gonna happen.

  10. By Wayne on Nov 3, 2007 | Reply

    Randy, I was at the game last week. Defense looked better because we blitzed Rhodes alot like last year. Pressure on QB is key. D line is putrid, not sure why with all the #1’s. O line is putrid-should have never traded Kendall.Look at coaching as a problem including game planning.We don’t exploit other teams weakness a la Belichick. O is boring with no imagination.Players are not being used right

  11. By Drew on Nov 3, 2007 | Reply

    It would appear the Jets hit a homerun with Revis and Harris. I was a little suprised they moved up to get both but loved both picks. Just imagine in Bender works out. It would again prove that the Jets are an elite drafting team…. Randy’s post shines a light on how badly B Thomas has played. He is the only player that has no excuses about the 3-4. New contract…Off year??

  12. By Patrick on Nov 3, 2007 | Reply

    Frank, Coles has played how many consecutive games? I highly doubt he is sitting out because CP got benched.
    Rob, Revis and Harris look ordinary? How can you say that after a 17 tackle, 1 sack performance? Revis has struggled a bit but playing corner with no pass rush is tough, especially on a rook. Harris is a way better fit for this system then Vilma is. He proved that in one game

  13. By Drew on Nov 3, 2007 | Reply

    I wonder if Rob actually watches Jet games. Harris and Revis are ordinary?? Revis leads the team in tackles and pass defenses…as a rookie and Harris had a monster game in his 1st start. Start watching the games son

  14. By Frank on Nov 3, 2007 | Reply

    Patrick, I like Coles I am tired of his whining shut up and play. As far as Revis and Harris I like both and wanted them and Bender to play right from the start of the season. When Tangenious dumped Kendall they signaled to the team they are more interested in character robots rather than football players and winning games. No one wants to endure a camp like that to then not have a chance to win.

  15. By JetS on Nov 3, 2007 | Reply

    Rhodes is very important to the defense, I rememebr watching the games last year and seeing him coming after the QB and forcing fumbles..What the Jets need is more blitzing by Kerry Rhodes, theyre best defensive player now that Vilma is injured.

  16. By Row on Nov 4, 2007 | Reply

    I agree there has been poor game planning. I don’t believe Coles will start, I do believe he will play. McCareins should start. We will see a good bit of 4wr sets with a lot of motion, and a disregard for the running game. As for the D, they will look like stars vs the Redskins. I’m going to say 2 Turnovers. My prediction Jets-31 Redskins-6. We will also see why we traded Moss. Go Jets. Go Clemens

  17. By Rob on Nov 4, 2007 | Reply

    Our defense has improved but you shouldn’t have to wait till 8th game of season to be mediocre at best if you want to win championships. Like a lot of fans, I’m not questioning teams, players or coaches commitment to win but rather the management. And whats with the offensive play calling.

  18. By mikemcc on Nov 4, 2007 | Reply

    i have a question for anyone who wants to answer. im very concerned about coles’s concussion and i knew thats what he had after the miami game last yr. what os his chance of a full recovery and does anyone know of any nfl players past or present to fully recover?

  19. By uncle joe on Nov 4, 2007 | Reply

    Hey Drew,Frank should start watching games too.Sutton was restricted with the playcalling and blitzes the same way Schott was restricted.The main player on both sides of the ball(although I respect both)were playing poorly.You cant send an outside blitz when your middle is vunarable.Harris changes that.And our draft picks are phenominal.Stucky(if healthy)is gonna be real good for us.

  20. By JR on Nov 5, 2007 | Reply


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