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NY Jets Pass D: Not As Bad As You Think?

Have the opposing passing attacks made the Jets' pass defense look much worse than it actually is?

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets pass defense has been bad.  There are no competent cornerbacks remaining on the roster.  The team now has to choose between "Why on earth is this guy starting an NFL game?" and "Seriously? This guy is in the NFL?  Really?"  The result hasn't been pretty.  A 109.2 passer rating allowed, 30th in the NFL.   15 passing TDs allowed, good for 31st in the NFL.  One interception, good for 31st in the NFL.  That all looks horrible.  No doubt the pass defense has been porous.  But has it really been as bad as it seems?

Consider this.  The 2014 New York Jets have already faced the #1 ranked passing team in the NFL in terms of passer rating, the San Diego Chargers.  The Jets have faced the #2 ranked passing team in the NFL, the Denver Broncos.  They have faced the #3 passing team in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers.  Six games, and the Jets have already faced the top 3 passing attacks in the league.  Throw in the Chicago Bears (#10), the Detroit Lions (#20), and the Oakland Raiders (#28), and you have six teams that have an aggregate passer rating of 100+.  100+!  That's basically like facing on average a Hall of Fame QB performance on a weekly basis.  That makes the 109.2 passer rating allowed by the Jets a bit more palatable.  Not good, but less oh my gosh this is incredibly, impossibly awful.

Consider also after facing Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Phillip Rivers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler, the Jets have given up more than 280 yards passing just once, and have given up less than 225 yards passing three times.  The Jets have more games holding opponents under 200 yards passing (twice) than games giving up more than 300 yards passing (once).  This is actually kind of shocking given the practice squad level cornerbacks the Jets have been running out there on a weekly basis as well as the incompetent single deep safety coverage of Calvin Pryor.  It suggests that the Jets pass rush, currently tied for second in the NFL with 19 sacks, and Rex's always innovative defensive schemes, are doing a pretty decent job covering up for the glaring deficiencies in the secondary created by GM John Idzik.

The good news is the run of great quarterbacks is over.  Oh, I know many think Tom Brady is still great, but he isn't. He's barely hanging onto good at this point in his career.  And after Brady the Jets face a succession of mediocrity.  Tom Brady, Kyle Orton, Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger, Kyle Orton, Ryan Tannehill, Teddy Bridgewater, Jake Locker, Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill; a QB murderer's row that ain't.  Other than Big Ben and Brady, the Jets are staring at one long line of QB mediocrity the rest of the way.  There is a chance that this dramatic drop in opposition strength of passing attacks will make the Jets secondary suddenly look respectable.  However, just as the pass defense is probably not as bad as it has looked facing a ridiculously strong set of opponents to start the season, the pass defense will likely not be quite as good as it may look the rest of the way.