FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Robert Nunn knows a thing or two about strong defensive lines, having coached the position with the Giants for their Super Bowl run after the 2011 season, when the Giants upset the Patriots for their second Super Bowl under head coach Tom Coughlin.
Now in his first season as the Jets’ defensive line coach, Nunn puts this group in a class with the best he has ever coached. The line is the Jets’ strongest position, with Leonard Williams, Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson anchoring the unit. Veteran Steve McLendon is also a key contributor.
“This group takes a back seat to no one,” Nunn said Wednesday after practice. “We’ve got a talented group and we look forward to seeing how we can keep developing and working throughout the season.”
Nunn had plenty of praise for Williams and Wilkerson.
“A very talented, gifted young man,” he said of Williams, the Jets’ first-round draft pick in 2015. “This guy, I don’t’ believe, has scratched the surface. I really believe that. He seems to learn something every day, every week, doing something different. He tries to do what you ask him to. My only hope is I don’t screw him up, because he’s a talented young man that has a really unique skillset. He’s easy to coach, plays hard, works hard. I look forward to seeing where it goes. I’m not sure what his ceiling is, to be honest with you.”
Nunn also likes what he has seen from Wilkerson, especially from a leadership standpoint.
“I don’t know what he was like before, but he’s vocal in the room, on the field, encouraging younger players, encouraging the older players,” Nunn said. “He’s called them up and talked to the whole group. It reaches outside of our room, too. You can tell. He’s done a good job of coming in here and establishing himself as a leader and leading by example – doing his job, No. 1. He’s preparing himself to have an outstanding season.”
Any lessons he learned while with the Giants, where he coached, among others, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul?
“Don’t screw up the good ones,” Nunn said. “I’ve been very fortunate in the past. I’ve had some talented players. I coach them a little better than I do the untalented ones. Each of them had some unique skillsets. I tried to get them to build on their skillset.”