Our old friend Bill Barnwell, now of Grantland, recently wrote of the Jets collapse this season, and while the whole piece is worth the read, here’s part of his thoughts on the Jets, and some good things to take away from what we saw on defense amidst all the stuff we’ve been beating the Jets up over all season.
One positive for 2011, though, is that the defense was a lot better than it looked. The Jets were 20th in points allowed, but that’s exclusively because the team played at a bizarrely fast pace and alongside an offense that reveled in three-and-outs. The Jets faced 201 possessions in 2011, which was tied with the Bears and Lions for the most of any team in football. They were second in yards allowed per drive and sixth in points. Even if they do cut Bart Scott as rumored this offseason, the defense isn’t the problem.
I think many fans would agree that while the defense didn’t always get the stops all the time, they played pretty damn well despite how the offense set them up. The defense ranked 4th in opponent third down conversions (32.7%) all season, meaning they were good at getting other teams off the field. In the AFC, the Jets ranked 2nd of 16 in total takeaways (31), but they ranked just 10th out of 16 in turnover differential (-3). That means that the offense and special teams were letting the Jets defense down, all season, by putting them in bad spots that made it very hard to dig out.
What this means to me is that the Jets are going to have a lot to focus on their offense this offseason to make it vastly better … from the coordinator spot, all the way to the backup linemen spots. Right now, the offense is squandering the great play of this defense.