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The Jets' Best Defensive Back

The best defensive back on the Jets is big. Really big.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Who is the best NY Jet at defending the pass?  Let's take a look at one simple statistic, passes defended.  Get your hand on the ball, knock it down.  No need to make a great play, no need to create a turnover, just knock it down, don't allow a completion.  Simple, right?  So who is the best Jet at defending the pass?

It's not Dawan Landry.  He has one lonely pass defended the entire year.  One.  In eight games.  You could almost be standing on the field in some random spot for 480 minutes and ONE pass would hit you eventually.  Nice job Dawan.

It's not Kyle Wilson. He has one lonely pass defended the entire year.  One.  In eight games.  You could almost be running on the field with your back turned to the quarterback, never actually seeing the ball on any play, and ONE pass would hit you eventually. Nice job Kyle.

It's not Calvin Pryor.  He has all of two passes defended the entire year.  Playing mostly deep coverage, the last line of pass defense, depended on to help cornerbacks on deep routes, which have been thrown against the Jets with alarming frequency, and Calvin has managed to have the ball hit him all of two times.  Brilliant.

It's not  Phillip Adams.  He has all of three passes defended, and he's not even good enough to supplant Antonio Allen or Darrin Walls, they of the TD pass allowed each week club, in the starting lineup, although Adams does have the only interception by a Jet this year.

It's not Darrin Walls or Antonio Allen.  Although they lead the Jets with five and six passes defended, respectively, they also are charter members of the TD pass of the week club.  If they weren't giving up touchdowns you couldn't be sure they were actually on the field.  They are masters at sorta kinda running vaguely in the vicinity of a wide receiver, flailing helplessly as yet another pass whizzes by them, then running hard to make a desperate and ultimately futile dive at the receiver's feet as he trots into the end zone.  These two are starting defensive backs in the same way Brooks Bollinger was once a starting quarterback: by default.  Like Bollinger they often run around like crazy in random directions, looking like they're hustling but not really doing anything resembling playing the game of football.

That leaves one candidate for best defensive back on the Jets.  He has as many or more passes defended than every defensive back other than Walls and Allen.  And unlike Walls and Allen, he has yet to give up a single touchdown in coverage.  Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Jets fans of all ages, sizes, nationalities and creeds, I give you the Jets defensive back of the year.  I give you 315 pound Muhammad Wilkerson.  With three passes defended he tops both Jets starting safeties, and is not far behind both Jets starting cornerbacks.  And unlike any of them, he has yet to give up a touchdown.  Lest you think this is a statistical fluke, Big Mo actually has the same number of career interceptions as both Walls and Allen, and has the same number of career passes defended as Walls and only one less than Allen.  So Big Mo is not only the Jets' best defensive lineman and best player, he is also the Jets' best defensive back.

Perhaps this was what our intrepid GM, John Idzik, envisioned with his competitiony mantra.  Not only is there competition coming from the defensive backs, but they even have to be concerned with 315 pound defensive ends supplanting them on the Jets defensive backs depth chart.  Diabolically clever Johnny.  Nobody could have expected this.  Perhaps Wilkerson should include the whole best defensive back on the team thing in his ongoing negotiations with the Jets.  Helps with his competitiony score.   Or perhaps he will just forget about negotiating with the Jets altogether and seek to move on to a team that doesn't need to rely on him to defend the pass better than its defensive backs.  Imagine that.