Defense feels heat in Miami

September, 20, 2012
9/20/12
11:04
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Between the hurry-up offense and the heat, Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has been advising his players to stay hydrated.

“Our guys, we’ve played down there before, but I don’t think it’s been this early and it hasn’t been at 1:00,” Pettine said. “I think the forecast is sort of a typical Miami day, 85 (degrees) and a chance of thunderstorms, but we’ll be prepared.”

Even cornerback Darrelle Revis knows to prepare for the heat -- which he will likely have to do, now that he’s been cleared for contact by team and independent physicians after sustaining a mild concussion against the Bills in Week 1.

"I remember last year, our last game. It was very hot,” Revis said. “I remember me coming out sometimes because it was so hot, and I wasn't feeling well. We understand that. I think guys will do extra conditioning this week."

Pettine said he plans to use the full roster to spell starters and keep them fresh -- something that he thinks the Jets are in a good position to do given their depth, especially among linemen. The heat isn’t just from the expected 85-degree temperature, but from the pressure that the defense is feeling as it tries to get back to No. 1.

"It better be coming,” defensive tackle Sione Po’uha said. “We're not waiting for anything. We want that thing to be here now. ... I think we have the tools to be the defense we want to be."

The defense has played well at times, but not up to its high standards.

"That's what we're looking for, to play a complete game,” safety Yeremiah Bell said. “You have to do it for four quarters, not three, not two. We're still looking to play that complete game."

The Jets' defense has struggled to contain perimeter running backs like the Dolphins' Reggie Bush, and gave up 169 yards to C.J. Spiller in the season opener against the Bills.

“Speed kills,” Ryan said. “It’s hard to defend. I do think we’re better equipped to play it, with some of the speed that we’ve added. Having LaRon Landry back there running a 4.3 (40-yard dash), I think helps. You know, we recognize it. Some of those things, our technique, we’ve really contributed to those runs. But again, he’s a guy -- with Reggie Bush, you kind of hold your breath a little bit until the game is over because he does have that game-breaking speed.”

The additional challenge is the no-huddle, which means a faster pace and the chaos that comes from speeding up reads. Pettine said it shouldn’t be overwhelming.

“They don’t huddle,” Pettine said. “They kind of cluster near the ball, but it’s not one of those where they’re keeping you from (substituting), it’s not super, super up-tempo. I want to say, they’re snapping the ball around anywhere from 15 and 20 seconds left on the play clock. It’s certainly a concern because it’s a 1:00 game in Miami and it’s to their advantage. Having that type of system in South Florida -- you saw the Raiders, I thought (they) faded late. Just look at their first two games, they’ve outscored their opponents significantly in the second half.”

And the Jets need a strong finish this week, especially with the 49ers and Texans coming up.
Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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