By Glenn Naughton
Any NFL team that opens their season with a win and follows it up with six consecutive defeats is bound to face its share of questions and criticism. When you examine the 2014 New York Jets up to this point and the multitude of issues they’ve had to contend with, one that jumps out as a big reason for their current woes is their inability to create turnovers. With seven games in the books thus far, the Jets defense has managed to force just three turnovers, ranking them dead last in the NFL. That, paired with an offense that has given the ball away ten times (7 interceptions, 3 lost fumbles) is a big part of their 1-6 start. If the Jets want to start winning some games, this defense must start creating turnovers. Fortunately for the Jets, their next nine games are far more likely to present opportunities than their previous seven.
Through their first seven games, the Jets faced four teams who have committed five or fewer turnovers this season. Over the next nine, they’ll play eight games against teams with six or more. The Jets’ inability to cause turnovers could be considered somewhat of a perfect storm. A young, inexperienced, and undermanned secondary taking on some of the best and brightest QB’s in the NFL was always going to be a struggle to defend. Watching the Jets fail to capitalize on several turnover opportunities only magnified their shortcomings. Dropped interceptions by Kyle Wilson and Antonio Allen on passes that essentially looked to be intended for them, and a David Harris interception that was waved off against the Packers as Damon “Big Snacks” Harrison was deemed to have his big toe on the field of play as he tried to get off before the snap. That resulted in a “too many men on the field” penalty that wiped out the Harris pick. However, this is the NFL, and those things happen. Every team has miscues and drops interceptions but they still manage to haul one in from time to time. The Jets own exactly one interception this season and that was from castoff CB Phillip Adams in their worst loss of the season, a 31-0 drubbing at the hands of Philip Rivers and the Chargers.
This weeks opponent, the Buffalo Bills, have a quarterback in Kyle Orton who has thrown three interceptions and lost a fumble in just three starts. Of all the quarterbacks the Jets have faced this season, Orton presents their best opportunity to win the turnover battle if Geno Smith can duplicate his zero turnover performance against the New England Patriots, and the Jets’ front-7 can continue harassing the qarterback as they have this season, ranking sixth in the NFL with 20 sacks. Here’s to hoping that some turnovers, can lead to a turnaround.