Todd Bowles: We were well prepared, don’t think we knew plays per se

Josh Alper
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

After the Jets beat the Lions on Monday night, linebacker Darron Lee said that the defense was “calling out their plays” when quarterback Matthew Stafford brought the Detroit offense to the line.

Lee said the Jets knew the team’s hand signals and “were in his head as a defense,” which is a contention that’s borne out by the four interceptions Stafford threw before being pulled in the second half of the game. On Tuesday, though, Jets head coach Todd Bowles said that the Jets’ knowledge may not have been as vast as Lee contended after the game.

“No, we didn’t know any audibles, we didn’t know any plays,” Bowles said, via a transcript of his media session. “Those guys did a good job following out their assignments that the coaches taught them. And they were anticipating certain things, if they had certain formations and [we] were in good position to make those type of plays but I don’t think we knew the plays. … The coaches did a good job of just preparing them and that was really about it. We didn’t know their plays, per se.”

Chris Burke of The Athletic broke down Lee’s interception return for a touchdown and found that it came on a play identical to one that the Lions ran in Week 14 last season. The formation, Stafford’s hand signals, motion man and routes all line up and the tape shows Lee beating Theo Riddick to the spot where Stafford, who was being pressured, throws the ball.

It’s a good example of how much the Jets prepared for the game and how well they executed when it came time to put that classroom work to use. They’ll try to do the same against the Dolphins, although the secret is pretty well out that you need to come up with some new wrinkles when facing the Jets defense.

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