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Giant Slayers

Edition #499

OCT 16
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Good morning!

The NFL is a funny old game. The Jets sitting at 2-3 welcomed in the 5-0 Eagles. A team the Jets had never beaten in franchise history. They welcomed in one of the most dangerous passing attacks in football and did so without their top 3 starting outside corners. I thought we were going to get pummeled…but I’m slowly learning to not write off this defence.

The result? A defensive domination, limiting the Eagles to 14 points and walking away with a 20-14 victory.

The Jets now enter their bye week at 3-3 having beaten the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles, while also running the Chiefs close. They now have two weeks to get healthy and enter what appears to be a more manageable portion of their schedule. At one point this season looked in danger of spiralling out of control, instead, they’re well in the mix for the playoffs and the vibes are once again, absolutely immaculate.

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What do you say about this defence and this defensive coaching staff? Missing key player after key player, they limited the Eagles to 14 points, 348 total yards and forced 4 turnovers, and it’s those turnovers that decided the game. Jalen Hurts was as elusive as he usually is, but the Jets pass-rush forced him off his mark on multiple occasions and they also became the first team this season to force him into 3 interceptions and only the second team to force him into multiple turnovers.

Hurts was pressured on 40% of dropbacks which is the highest mark all season for the Eagles QB, and while he managed to avoid multiple sacks with his ability to slide and vacate the pocket, he wasn’t able to capitalise down the field.

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The offence still has a way to go, the Eagles lost several starters in the secondary through the game last night and the Jets were unable to capitalise. They again stalled in the red zone until the Eagles let the Jets score as the game clock was dwindling. They were just 2/11 on third down. The offensive line lost Joe Tippmann early and struggled throughout. But, they also didn’t turn the ball over and when you have a defence as dominant as the Jets have…that’s the key.

But this game wasn’t about the offence, it was about a defensive unit that refused to go down and a defensive unit that saw everyone write them off. Everyone was swarming to the ball, and when you do that you create opportunities.

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Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts have combined for 3 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions against the Jets this season. Just let that one sink in, the three quarterbacks who dominated the MVP conversation last year have thrown for just 3 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

I couldn’t be prouder to be a Jets fan this morning, when you have the kind of adversity we’ve had and you go into your bye week at 3-3 considering the schedule, that’s remarkable. Of course, nobody is throwing parades for beating a team the media deemed unbeatable, but it’s a big step towards being relevant as the season gets into the business end.

Quincy Williams

The Jets coaching staff is prone to hyperbole, so when Jeff Ulbrich claimed that no linebacker was playing better than Quincy this season, a few people rolled their eyes.

But…no linebacker in football is playing at a higher level than Quincy right now. The fact we picked him up off the waiver wire is pretty remarkable.

We saw a talented but unpolished prospect and the defensive staff has moulded him into one of the best linebackers in football, combining positioning, speed and physicality.

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There were a number of impressive plays including this track and tackle late in the 4th quarter. His ability to stay patient and take the right angle is the biggest improvement I’ve seen this year. Last year he was at times out of control, but that’s largely disappeared from his game this year.

"Our mindset is to scare -- I mean, not scare people. Our mindset is to overpower people with our speed and our violence. So that's the biggest thing. So that's our identity -- violence."

We’re very lucky to have Quincy and he’s playing at an All-Pro level right now. He became the first player in franchise history to have 12+ tackles, a TFL, a fumble recovery and a pass defence in the same game

Jermaine Johnson

Talking about players who have made an astronomical jump this year, it’s hard to look past Jermaine Johnson. His football intelligence is off the charts, he diagnoses plays as well as any lineman I’ve seen on the Jets in the last 10-20 years.

He forced the ball out on the Quinnen Williams interception, he knocked the arm of Hurts which led to the Bryce Hall interception and he was constantly moving the pocket. He also had the awareness to work back to the ball, on one play he chased Swift to the sideline.

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Like Quincy, there were a number of plays we could have picked out to highlight just how good Johnson was last night, but this one was key for the Jets.

"We feel disrespected constantly, and the best way to combat disrespect is results, so that's what we did tonight." - Jermaine Johnson

Pitching a shut-out

With the offence spluttering, the defence had to pitch a shut-out in the second half to keep the game close, and they did just that, holding the Eagles to 0 points over the final 30 minutes. In fact, the Jets held the Eagles to their most consecutive drives without a point under coach Nick Sirianni. So they did something that just hasn’t been done before.

The Jets have only allowed 31 second-half points all season, but again found themselves down early, which is a theme of the 2023 season so far. But, once again they found a way back. That’s the 7th game under Saleh where the Jets have been losing by 10 or more points and come back to win.

The Jets defence hasn’t allowed a second-half touchdown in 5/6 games this season, which is a crazy stat.

You also have to mention guys like Craig James and Tae Hayes, who came up big when the Jets needed them the most.

One thing to focus on over the bye week is the contract of Bryce Huff, every game he plays, he gets more expensive

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The Jets will now get an opportunity to get healthy. Hopefully, Reed and Sauce are back for the game against the Giants. Michael Carter left with a hamstring so that will be one to watch and Saleh believed Joe Tippmann may be out a while with a thigh injury.

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I also wanted to include some quotes from Saleh on a couple of players who came up big yesterday. The first on Tony Adams who intercepted Hurts late in the 4th quarter:

“Right on time. He’s been great. You have to remember, he’s young. He’s a second-year player. As excited as we are about him, we know he’s going to have some ups and downs. The ups are going to continue to become more and more frequent. He’s a freak athlete. It’s important to him. He’s a tremendous communicator. He has tremendous explosiveness and speed and instincts. I stand by it, I think he’s going to be a fixture here for a while.”

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Now on Bryce Hall:

“Bryce, oh man. I said it in the press conference earlier in the week, that kid. When you go from starter, and then you watch the organization draft someone, and then pay someone, and you get relegated to backup duty, and he remakes himself on special teams. Always preparing himself the way he needs to. I thought Tony Oden did a great job getting the entire group ready. With all of the different personnel groupings, we were trying to mix-and-match, moving our corners around so they couldn’t get a beat on it. You can’t do it without a guy like Bryce and his ability to communicate. He’s so smart on the football field, managing the back end and making sure we were aligned the way we needed to be every play. He’s awesome. He’s such a good dude.”

QB Aaron Rodgers was also on the field throwing before the game, and while he’s obviously not close to coming back…that whole thing about potentially being available if the Jets make the playoffs, well

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