In the last two weeks, Dee Milliner has had three interceptions and as Sunday showed, the rookie from Alabama is becoming more sure of his play at the NFL level, writes the Star-Ledger’s Dom Cosentino:
The Dolphins targeted Wallace, one of the league’s fastest receivers, 12 times during the Jets’ 20-7 win Sunday. He caught just five passes for 25 yards. One was a touchdown when Milliner was locked in single coverage on him as the Jets blitzed. But twice, Milliner broke up passes intended for Wallace in the end zone that would have gone for touchdowns. And twice, Milliner came away with interceptions.
All this a week after Milliner had held his own against the Browns’ Josh Gordon, one the NFL’s best receivers.
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comCosentino’s article points out that Ed Reed has been a huge influence for Milliner and his guidance. Reed’s help on the back-end for Milliner has allowed the rookie to play with more confidence and aggressiveness. While it has taken time to adjust, the way the Jets have deployed their safeties over the second half of the season has changed and seems to suit Milliner’s style of play as a rookie.
With an injured Cromartie and Ed Reed to help deep, the Jets have increasingly put Milliner in the spot to take on the toughest opposing receiver with Reed playing over the top. Last week against the Browns and this week against the Dolphins has proven that as teams prepare for the Jets in 2014, picking on Dee Milliner won’t be as effective a strategy as it was early on in Milliner’s rookie season.