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Robert Saleh trusts defensive coaches despite Jets' last-ranked unit

Michael Pittman of the Colts scores a touchdown

Michael Pittman of the Colts scores a touchdown as Marcus Maye and Bryce Hall of the Jets defend during the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday in Indianapolis. Credit: Getty Images/Michael Hickey

Robert Saleh said he wouldn’t take a bigger role in the Jets’ defensive game plan this week after the group was overmatched last week for the second time in three games.

Saleh, who made his name in the NFL as a defensive coordinator, already spends more time on that side of the ball than the offense. That’s why it’s surprising that the Jets have the worst defense in the NFL. But Saleh gave an endorsement to defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich and his coaches.

"I think Brich and the staff are doing a really nice job," Saleh sad. "Are there things that we got to get better at? Absolutely. And does our youth show up on tape sometimes? Absolutely. Are there things I think we are improving on? For sure."

It’s hard to see the improvement after the Jets allowed 532 yards of offense and 45 points to the Colts on Thursday. The Jets have yielded 500-plus yards of offense and 40-plus points in two of their last three games. The Patriots put 54 on the Jets on Oct. 24.

Both games were demoralizing. In Indianapolis, the Jets gave up 260 yards on the ground with the Colts running on average 7 yards before there was contact. Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins called that "an eye-opening number."

The Jets play the Bills this week. Their offense surprisingly stumbled against the Jaguars on Sunday in a 9-6 loss, and will be looking to bounce back. They could be facing the right defense for that. The Jets are giving up 31.4 points per game and 408.5 yards — both last in the league.

Saleh said a number of things go into the breakdowns that the Jets have been suffering, including all the injuries they have endured. But he said the coaches have to "get things tighter" and the players have to learn from their mistakes.

"When you give up 260 yards rushing like we did, my God I think it was almost 200 yards before contact, that’s not just on players, that’s on us too," Saleh said. "Those are things that we got to fix. At the same time, players have to understand how that space was being created so we close it faster.

"The staff is doing a really nice job. The players are doing a really nice job. We just had two bad games against two pretty good offenses."

Mann’s the man

Second-year punter Braden Mann is ready to return from injured reserve, so the Jets waived veteran Thomas Morstead on Monday. Morstead, the longtime Saint, played seven games for the Jets and averaged 48.2 yards per his 23 punts. Mann injured his knee early in the Jets’ Week 1 loss to the Panthers.

Two-minute drill

Corey Davis (hip) and running back Tevin Coleman (hamstring) are on course to practice Wednesday after missing the past two games . The Jets are working out safeties and tight ends this week, Saleh said. Safety Marcus Maye (torn ACL) and tight end Tyler Kroft (chest) will be placed on IR.

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