Sluggish? Slow? Crisp as a well-done noodle?
Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams does not agree with these less-than-complimentary assessments of his defensive unit’s practices.
Williams, speaking for the first time since a couple of his players questioned the quality of their unit’s preparation, took issue with the notion that the defense isn’t giving 100% in practices.
"We only have — defensively with me — wherever I’ve been, two tempos. And that’s ‘walk through’ and ‘go,’ " Williams said Friday. "We don’t do three-fourths. We don’t do half-speed. We don’t do two-eighths. We don’t do quarters. We don’t do 5/16ths. And if it’s not ‘go,’ you stand by me or they become y’all’s intern. That’s how it is. That’s how we practice on defense."
The Jets (0-2) enter Sunday’s game at Indianapolis having struggled big-time early in games. They have trailed 21-3 at halftime in both losses. Most glaringly, last week against the 49ers, they gave up an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.
After the game, safety Bradley McDougald and linebacker Avery Williamson questioned the team’s practice habits.
"We’ve had some slow practices and it correlates to the game," McDougald said Sunday. "We need to have a complete, full week of just great practices. I don’t think we’ve had that yet. As soon as we realize that and hone on in to how important practice is and come out and win at practice, then it will translate to the games on Sunday."
Williamson later backed him up.
"Sometimes in practice, guys are missing tackles or we’re not doing things right. We haven’t been as crisp as we should be at times," Williamson said in a radio interview Tuesday.
Williams seemed to understand where his players are coming from.
"Those guys, whether it was misunderstood or whatever, are taking ownership," Williams said. "Especially after a game. They’re taking ownership just like we all take ownership. Me first. Then them. But we practice very hard. It’s shocking when other people . . . [have] been allowed to do certain things a certain way [at] other places. And that’s not what we do here."
If ever the Jets needed their defense to come together, it is this week as they face an 0-3 hole with an injury-riddled offense.
The Jets will be without their top wide receivers. Coach Adam Gase announced Friday that Jamison Crowder (hamstring) and Breshad Perriman (ankle) have been ruled out for the game, joining Denzel Mims (hamstring). Braxton Berrios (hamstring) is questionable.
It also appears that quarterback Sam Darnold will be playing behind a patchwork offensive line because of injuries to right tackle George Fant and center Connor McGovern.
Fant is out after suffering a concussion in practice Wednesday. He will be replaced by Chuma Edoga, who started eight games as a rookie. McGovern, who injured his hamstring last Sunday and is listed as questionable, might be pressed into duty. If he can’t, Josh Andrews is in line for his first start in six seasons.