Two-minute drill: Dennis Thurman

December, 7, 2013
12/07/13
8:00
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Our weekly Q & A is with New York Jets defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman:

Ed Reed has been relatively quiet in his three games with the Jets. Why?

DT: They haven’t really attacked him. They haven’t gone his way, which is what we saw when he was in Houston, when you watched and evaluated the tape. The mental part of it, the professionalism that he’s brought to the room, first of all, to the meeting room, to our practices, the ability to study tape, he’s taken some of your young guys from one level to the next. As far as the games are concerned, we’re making fewer mental mistakes back there than we were earlier in the year. So, when you look at what he’s done to this point, it’s been a plus for us. It may not show up on the field, per se, but where we want to go and what we’re trying to accomplish, it’s been a plus.

Are you surprised the secondary has struggled so much?

[+] EnlargeDennis Thurman
AP Photo/David DrapkinDefensive coordinator Dennis Thurman on the struggles of the secondary: When you look at it, realistically, there are three new starters back there. And so, it takes time to gel."
DT: It is what it is. I mean, are we playing up to our talent level? Probably not, but at the same time, we’re probably younger back there than we’ve been, with the exception of Dawan (Landry) and then we picked up Ed, and there's Cro (Antonio Cromartie). But other than that, you look at the ages of those guys and their actual number in terms of playing time, none of them have really played. So, the expectation that they’re going to play at a certain level, yeah, we had a higher expectation, but at the same time we had to be realistic, that the cohesiveness of that group was going to be missing.

When you look at it, realistically, there are three new starters back there. And so, it takes time to gel, whereas before we were playing with more experienced guys. You’re talking about Jim Leonhard, Eric Smith, even when we had Lito Sheppard and when the other guy that’s down in Tampa (Darrelle Revis), you had experienced guys that understood how to play in the National Football League. Right now, we’ve got a bunch of young guys back there that we’re trying to pull together.

How would you evaluate Dee Milliner's performance last week against the Miami Dolphins?

DT: You take away that one play in the game (a missed tackle on Mike Wallace's 28-yard touchdown) and he actually played a really good game. But you can’t take that one play away and it affects his overall performance, and it affects the overall perception of him. But, really, he was playing well. He had pass breakups, he actually was tackling pretty well and he misses that one tackle and it goes for a touchdown. For a defensive back, a young defensive back, it’s out there for everybody to see. There are other young players that are playing other positions that make mistakes, but because it’s in the trenches or it’s not as out there, you think they’re playing well. (But) they may be making more mistakes than he’s making, it’s just that his mistakes are that they’re out there and they’re glaring.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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