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Jets Defense Dominates Despite Depleted LB Corps


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Lorenzo Mauldin JN

By Glenn Naughton

 

It didn’t garner nearly as much attention as Geno Smith’s right knee injury simply because nothing grabs attention the way a quarterback injury does, but following Smith to the locker room just seconds after his injury, was inside linebacker Bruce Carter.  It should have been a terrible blow to the Jets defense as Carter was only seeing increased reps due to the fact that the Jets were already down two players at the position.

Julian Stanford led all Jets linebackers with six tackles.

Julian Stanford led all Jets linebackers with six tackles.

Fellow linebacker Erin Henderson was placed on the non-football injury/illness list just the night before, and only a couple of days after the Jets ruled out rookie linebacker Darron Lee.  Consider the fact that David Harris was playing, but just one week removed from missing his first game since 2008 with a hamstring injury, and the deck appeared to be stacked against the Jets.

However, a great effort Julian Stanford who was added to the 53-man roster on Saturday, may have had any casual observers thinking the Jets defense was at full strength as opposed to playing a guy who was fifth on the depth chart.

Stanford did more than just hold his own.  Despite Carter leaving in the second quarter, Stanford came in late and led all linebackers with six solo tackles, tying Sheldon Richardson for the team lead in that category.

Ironically enough, Stanford wasn’t the only defender who was put in position to succeed as a result of an injury, but Richardson was too.

With defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson ruled out with an ankle injury, there was no time to put Sheldon Richardson out of position at either of the linebacker spots as we’ve seen in weeks past.  Richardson was playing with his hand on the dirt and raised hell.  He and Stanford were a big part of the team setting a franchise record in allowing a paltry six yards rushing to the Ravens.

Sheldon Richardson was a one-man wrecking crew on Sunday.

Sheldon Richardson was a one-man wrecking crew on Sunday.

Putting Richardson on the defensive line had a domino effect, meaning significantly increased reps for linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin who turned in what may have been his best game of the season.  It may not have shown in the box score as Mauldin was credited with just one assisted tackle and zero sacks, but that didn’t tell the whole story.  Mauldin made his presence known, coming up with five hurries against the Ravens according to Connor Hughes who cites PFF.com.

Welcome back, Lorenzo Mauldin. After essentially being a non-factor in the Jets’ first six games, Mauldin played more snaps against Baltimore than he had at any other point this season. Last year’s third-round pick was on the field for 49 plays, or 84 percent of the defensive snaps. He finished with five quarterback hurries, according to ProFootballFocus.com.

As one might expect, the heavy pressure had Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco rattled, and the secondary reaped the rewards.

A defense that ranked dead last in takeaways heading in to the game was able to come away with a pair of interceptions.  One from cornerback Buster Skrine, and another from safety Marcus Gilchrist.

When all was said and done, the Jets defense didn’t allow a single touchdown and yielded only 3 field goals.  The Ravens only trip to the end zone came courtesy of a fumbled snap by rookie punter Lac Edwards who allowed the ball to roll in to the end zone before the Ravens recovered.

So while most of the talk surrounding the Jets at the moment is revolving around their messy quarterback situation, take a second to tip your cap to the defense for a historically strong performance.

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1 hour ago, jamesr said:

Sad that it had to take injuries for Bowles to be pressed into playing guys in their correct positions ... usually it's the opposite.

very sad.  don't worry, sheldon will be playing out of position this week with any luck and mauldin will ride pine.

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7 hours ago, Augustiniak said:

very sad.  don't worry, sheldon will be playing out of position this week with any luck and mauldin will ride pine.

Sheldon on the D-line made such a huge difference on Sunday that I can't see Bowles taking him out of that role.  Just plain insanity if he does.

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Just now, Jack Straw said:

It's incredibly concerning that it took Muhammad Wilkerson getting hurt to get Bowles to operate the defense the way it was built to be run.

It's absolutely insane. I was just saying this in the Maudlin thread.  He finally played everyone at their natural positions, they played great and the D looked the best they have all season long.

It was kind of like the Cinci game.  Play your players at their natural positions and you get results.  Crazy.  I know. 

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Sheldon needs to be re-signed asap.  Even if it means trading Wilk.  If we can somehow afford all three and Bowles can figure out how to use them, great!  But Sheldon is better than Wilk.

Our two big offseason signings:  Fitz and Wilk.  Smh, you're messin' up Macc.

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5 minutes ago, Mike135 said:

Sheldon needs to be re-signed asap.  Even if it means trading Wilk.  If we can somehow afford all three and Bowles can figure out how to use them, great!  But Sheldon is better than Wilk.

Our two big offseason signings:  Fitz and Wilk.  Smh, you're messin' up Macc.

When MACC played hardball (which didn't work out great) with Wilkerson, everyone on this board went nuts, "how can we not sign Wilkerson"...

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7 minutes ago, aec4 said:

When MACC played hardball (which didn't work out great) with Wilkerson, everyone on this board went nuts, "how can we not sign Wilkerson"...

Majority did the same with Fitz.  It means they have to stop listening to the fans.  Let's face it, as a whole, we don't know sh!t.

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21 minutes ago, JiF said:

It's absolutely insane. I was just saying this in the Maudlin thread.  He finally played everyone at their natural positions, they played great and the D looked the best they have all season long.

It was kind of like the Cinci game.  Play your players at their natural positions and you get results.  Crazy.  I know. 

It's all based on getting all your best talent on the field. The problem is that the Jets can't seem to get as good a pass rush when they play a 4-3, and their 3 best defenders are all DL.

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Mo got a 15 million signing bonus; trading him now would mean a 12 million cap hit; this is NOT going to happen. You would have to wait until the offseason first (and loose some trading value) and then still release someone ... he is here at least for another year or two.

Trading Sheldon, however, knocks 8 million off of next years' cap. If you sign him in the off-season, you will need to let Leonard walk eventually.

All this we should have traded Mo stuff is silly; Macc clearly tried to trade him and couldn't get enough value; we could have let him walk for a possible comp. pick next year.

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Sheldon is under contract this year and the Jets have exercised his option year.  

They can basically keep all three under contract for the next 2 years.  Wilkerson is more easily tradeable or releasable in 2018.

Given the SR suspension risk and overall health risk, I think they are better off just rotating the 3, using all 3 SOMETIMES (like first downs), and saving in other places.

But why, given the resources in the DL for those 3, the Jets go off and sign McClendon (who is good) and Jarvis Jenkins (does he play?), when they basically could have used those resources at OL and TE, is mindboggling.

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5 minutes ago, varjet said:

Sheldon is under contract this year and the Jets have exercised his option year.  

They can basically keep all three under contract for the next 2 years.  Wilkerson is more easily tradeable or releasable in 2018.

Given the SR suspension risk and overall health risk, I think they are better off just rotating the 3, using all 3 SOMETIMES (like first downs), and saving in other places.

But why, given the resources in the DL for those 3, the Jets go off and sign McClendon (who is good) and Jarvis Jenkins (does he play?), when they basically could have used those resources at OL and TE, is mindboggling.

My guess is they thought they would have traded Wilkerson. But nobody bit

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