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The Jets gave up 74 plays of at least 20 yards last year, good for 20th in the NFL.
Robert Saleh wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again, and he made sure defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich knew that as soon as he stepped into the Jets’ facility.
“he first day I took this job, he put a poster up in my office that says, ‘eliminate explosive play,’” Ulbrich said Thursday, per SNY. “That’s definitely where we’re all at.”
Ulbrich is referring to a “cheesy old sign” Saleh carried with him since he was the Jaguars’ linebackers coach in 2014, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. The sign has hand-drawn cartoons of bombs to represent those explosive plays.
Saleh’s 2020 49ers squad allowed just 54 plays of 20 or more yards, the 10th-fewest in the league. But Saleh’s description of “explosive plays” is a little stricter than that. He wants to eliminate passes of more than 16 yards and runs of more than 12 yards. The Jets weren’t great in that category in Week 1, though. Gang Green allowed five long passes and three long runs, including a 57-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson.
A lot of the big plays the Jets surrendered were either given up over the top against the safeties or underneath to Christian McCaffrey. The Patriots don’t have as many explosive players as the Panthers, but Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels always know how to scheme against exploitable defenses – and Ulbrich knows what the Jets need to fix before Week 2.
“We can play tighter to backs. We can eliminate some of the leaky yardages,” Ulbrich said. “We’ll do a better job of that. But at the same time, our commitment is to absolutely eliminate explosive plays.”