The Jets’ defense is operating in dangerous territory – historically bad territory, in fact. The unit has not had a takeaway during a five-game losing streak that has turned a season of hope into another lost campaign of frustration.
The correlation between turnovers and victories in the NFL is well documented. So it’s hardly surprising that the last time the Jets forced a turnover – four in a 42-34 Week 6 victory over the Colts – was also the last time they won a game.
The turnover drought has tied the NFL record, and the Jets have no intention of having an embarrassing statistic be the one thing that lives on from 2018.
“We’ve got to get a turnover,” safety Jamal Adams said Tuesday on WFAN’s “Carlin, Maggie & Bart.” “We are obviously out there talking about turnovers, turnovers, turnovers, and getting it done. But we’re not getting it done, we’re just talking about it. It’s very frustrating as a defense when we’re not getting turnovers and helping our offense get in better situations. It’s something we have to get done.”
Getting turnovers, Adams said, is a mindset more than anything else.
“Attitude,” he said. “We have to continue to get better at that and hopefully, this game coming [Sunday at Tennessee], we can create turnovers because it’s killing us.”
The Jets have forced turnovers in bunches this season -- four against the Colts, five against the Lions in Week 1. But they have only six in their other nine games. Their 15 takeaways are tied with the Panthers for 15th, and the Jets’ minus-8 turnover differential is tied with the Eagles for 27th.
“We’ve been trying, man,” linebacker Avery Williamson said on “Joe and Evan” on WFAN. “You try to get your hands on the ball. It’s just tough. I just have to try hard this week in practice and do whatever it takes.
“It’s kind of hard to explain. As a player, you try and go for the ball and strip it out. There’s been a few times where I know for a fact I’ve almost got the ball out and guys have just been holding onto the ball pretty tight. I don’t feel like anything has changed, it’s just that we can’t catch a break. It’s tough when you try to make something happen and it just doesn’t go your way.”
Williamson will have a chance to turn the tide against his old team this week. He played for Tennessee from 2014-17 and will be making his first trip there as a visitor.
“This will be fun,” Williamson said. “It’ll be interesting, a different feeling. At the end of the day, you just have to go there and make plays. It’ll be cool, though, going against my old teammates. It’ll be a good time. I’m definitely excited to be there. There will be a lot of family and friends there.”
Despite the losing streak, the failure to force turnovers and overall sense of gloom surrounding the Jets, Adams was quick to point out that none of the blame should be laid at Todd Bowles’ feet.
“People want to blame it on coaching,” Adams said. “It’s not Bowles. I know a lot of people are frustrated with him. It’s not his fault. We got to communicate better. I understand the frustration of the fan base. We got to do a better job.”
Williamson said he hopes his teammates haven’t gotten numb to all the losing.
“When you get in the zone of not caring, that’s when it gets bad,” he said. “We have to make sure we bring it this weekend. It’s an away game and we have to make sure we’re locked in 100 percent.”
And maybe get a takeaway.