The New York Jets locker room may have been located in the state of California yesterday, but judging by comments made by defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson after the game, it would appear the Jets locker room, or at least Wilkerson, is in a state of denial.
On a day in which head coach Todd Bowles watched his defense get beat on the ground and through the air to the tune of 410 total yards (180 on the ground) and 45 points, Rich Cimini of ESPN New York reported that Wilkerson responded to questions about the team’s performance by saying that the defensive line “responded really good” to being called out by Bowles after a lackluster performance in Buffalo one week before.
Yes, you read that right. Muhammad Wilkerson, who has been invisible through the season’s first two games despite an $18 million a year contract, feels that the team’s defensive line responded well to criticism for under-performing in the team’s season opener.
Aside from playing a huge role in being gashed for 180 yards on the ground, how many sacks did the defensive line produce, you ask? Zero.
How often was Derek Carr pressured? Well, we counted one on a play that saw Wilkerson go unblocked, but other than that, you’d be generous to say they came away with a half-dozen.
Todd Bowles was thought to have entered this season on solid footing as long as his team played hard every Sunday and looked prepared. We’re only two games in, but if this team is going to continue to play like this, Bowles can ill afford to have players like Wilkerson (or anyone else) saying that the team bounced back or “responded really good” from giving up half as many points the week before.
Time for a reality check, Mo. This team didn’t play well at all. Minus a handful of individual players, the defense was a complete mess. If it doesn’t get better soon, Wilkerson may not be in a state of denial next season, but he certainly won’t be playing his home games in the state of New Jersey.