Jets defense wants to cut down on allowing big screen plays Print
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Monday, 24 September 2007 13:23
NFL Headline News

 HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -The New York Jets were relieved to get their first victory. Now, about those problems on defense.
``We can take the win. We'll take that, but we want to make things easier for us,'' linebacker David Bowens said Monday.
New York held Miami's offense mostly in check for three quarters Sunday before the Dolphins consistently marched downfield using a series of screen plays for large gains. The Jets were able to hang on and win 31-28, but the performance on defense raised some major questions.
``I feel like we still have a lot to do to get to where we want to be,'' cornerback David Barrett said. ``We still have a lot of steps to take to be the defense that we want to be.''
The Jets were ranked 28th in total defense Monday after giving up 424 yards to the Dolphins. Criticized for hardly putting any pressure on New England's Tom Brady and Baltimore's Kyle Boller in the first two games, New York's defense was able to disrupt Trent Green a handful of times. But instead of taking a sack or throwing the ball away, the Miami quarterback simply dumped off short passes for first downs that completely frustrated the Jets.
``You have to be in the right spot because there is no magic call for the screen,'' safety Kerry Rhodes said. ``You just have to be in the right spot to make the play and when you are there, you have to make the play. It's a tough play if you are not expecting it, and they did a good job of running and executing it.''
Green's longest pass of the game was for 43 yards on - you guessed it - a screen to Ronnie Brown on the first play of the second quarter. Trailing 31-13 in the fourth quarter, Green threw five consecutive short passes - four for first downs - before Brown ran the ball three times for a touchdown and converted a two-point conversion.
99 yards on six catches.
``It just came down to tackling,'' Bowens said. ``We have to get the guy stopped and the pursuit angles have to be better and that's pretty universal around the league. That's why the screen play is so effective.''
The Jets recovered an onside kick to seal the game, but the outcome could have been a lot different if Miami got the ball again.
``The screens hurt us a lot,'' defensive end Shaun Ellis said. ``Everybody saw that they had a lot of mileage on the screen plays.''
After the game Sunday, coach Eric Mangini left no question as to what the defense would focus on this week.
``We need to get our screens cleaned up,'' he said. ``I don't know how many yards there were, but it seemed like a million.''
Not quite, but there were enough for the Jets to be concerned - especially after watching tape of the plays Monday.
``I think Miami did a good job of disguising it,'' said Bowens, who played for the Dolphins for six seasons. ``The guys that the screens were getting run to, that side, it looked like pass. We just have to recognize it and play it better. It just comes down to everybody being responsible for it. You don't have to play the screen. You just have to react to it.''
And that's much easier said than done, of course. Mangini answered several questions about screen plays Monday and practically gave a clinic on why they're so successful.
``The reason they're difficult to defend is it separates the defense,'' Mangini said. ``You run the coverage off and let the front come through and now you have a big void - and you have a big void with blockers out in front. You have to be sound on that. And if the back gets the ball in space, you have to know exactly where you fit in relationship to the other defenders.''
The Jets fully expect their next opponent, the Buffalo Bills, to take a page or two out of the Dolphins' playbook on offense.
``The NFL is a copycat league, so if they see plays working and having success, they are going to come back with it,'' Rhodes said. ``I'm sure we will run 1,000 screens each practice to try and get it right.''
 

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