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The Jets defense was pretty good last year. New York allowed 29 touchdowns in 2015, tied with the Broncos for the fourth fewest in the NFL. But the Jets allowed a ton of long touchdowns: on average, those 29 touchdowns scored by opposing offenses came from 23 yards away.

That may not mean much to you in the abstract, but only three other defenses (Ravens, Vikings, Rams) saw allowed touchdowns from, on average, at least 20 yards away; by contract, the other 31 teams allowed touchdowns that gained, on average, 16.22 yards. One reason I initially thought the Jets defense fared poorly in this statistic is because of the team’s historically great run defense, and that’s partially true. The Jets allowed only four rushing touchdowns last year, and they came from 1, 1, 2, and 18 yards away.

But if you look at only passing touchdowns, the Jets defense still allowed the longest average touchdown at 26 yards (even worse than the Saints!), compared to an NFL average of 19 yards. The Jets allowed 15 touchdown passes of 20+ yards last year, tied with New York’s other team for the most in the NFL.

What was the reason for those long touchdowns? I went back and re-watched all 15 touchdowns, and tried to assign blame.  In most cases, it was pretty easy. [click to continue…]

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An interesting story today on Antonio Cromartie, courtesy of Bob Glauber of Newsday. Cromartie says that after Revis was injured, the All-Pro cornerback told Cromartie that he needed to start taking his job more seriously and that it was time for him to reach his potential. Cromartie stated: “Hearing it from your peers, you take more out of that than hearing it from your coach…. Your peers expect so much out of you and expect you to play at a higher level, especially when he’s one of the best corners in the league.”

I’ve been very impressed with Cromartie this season, and Pro Football Focus’ numbers back in up. PFF’s subscriber content ranks Cromartie fourth in pass coverage among cornerbacks this season, behind only Charles Tillman, Casey Hayward, and Richard Sherman. He’s playing as well as I’ve seen him since he’s been a Jet, and he’s changed his demeanor off the field, too.

Your reaction to Cromartie’s comments is essentially a Rorschach test of your views on life. Whether you find it disappointing that this is what it took for the light to go on (and who knows when the bulb will need to be replaced) or inspiring that he was able to elevate his play is left to the reader.

Cromartie realized he had to take on more of a leadership role, and admitted that his level of play leading up to this season wasn’t as proficient as it should have been. It was a startling admission from a player who rarely suffers from a lack of self assurance, yet it was a moment that signaled a major turnaround. Cromartie is indeed playing his best football, and now laments that he didn’t take his craft more seriously before.

“It shouldn’t have taken for Revis to go down for me to be playing at a very high level,” he said. “There’s something I think I took for granted having Revis on the other side and not being able to play at a high level when he was here.”

“I think the biggest thing that’s changed for me is the leadership role,” Cromartie said. “Just making sure everyone was on top of everything, helping guys study film and knowing how to study film. I think I just took on a role that once [Revis] left, and I wanted to make sure I played at a higher level every single week.”