Thursday, December 26, 2013
Green Day: Jets have sacks appeal, but ...
By Rich Cimini
When you think of the most prolific pass-rushing tandems in New York Jets history, the Mark Gastineau-Joe Klecko duo comes to mind, maybe John Abraham-Shaun Ellis. You can put Muhammad Wilkerson and Calvin Pace in the conversation as well.
Wilkerson (10.5 sacks) and Pace (10), both having a career year in that category, are the first two players to reach double-digit sacks since Gastineau (20) and Klecko (20.5) in 1981, the heyday of the New York Sack Exchange. Officially, Wilkerson and Pace stand alone because sacks didn't become a league statistic until 1982.
Sack totals aside, the current group of pass-rushers isn't nearly as imposing as the New York Sack Exchange. Despite 40 sacks, 10 more than last season, the Jets have pressured opposing quarterbacks (sacked or put under duress) a league-low 21.5 percent of drop-backs, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
It's funny because coaches often talk about how sacks aren't an accurate gauge of pass-rushing performance. Those coaches usually have teams with modest sack totals. Pressure, they say, is the key. Well, the Jets' pressure is way down.
But there's hope. On Sunday, they face the Miami Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill, the most-sacked quarterback this season (58), 22 more than the next-closest quarterback in Dolphins history. He took a beating last week in a 19-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills, who overwhelemed the Dolphins' post-Incognito/Martin offensive line. Tannehill was sacked seven times and hurt his knee, although he's expected to play.
The Jets sacked him only once in the last meeting. This is their chance to even the score.
ICYMI: The Jets return to work Thursday after a day off for the holiday.