Defensive players are perhaps the most underrated performers on the NFL football field – and likely the most hated by fans and spectators. After all, theirs is the unpopular role of stopping the game's quarterbacks and superheroes from scoring touchdowns and field goals.
Fans and spectators don't talk much about defensive players, but coaches see defenders as strategic and crucial elements in winning games, and this NFL betting site factors them in to determine betting odds.
Football coaches are always on the lookout for these "antiheroes" to stop opposing quarterbacks and other offense-oriented players from gaining yards and scoring points. They look for defensive players with a strong will, natural leadership skill, brute strength, and a certain degree of madness to defy odds.
Each defensive player of the New York Jets will need all of the above – and more – to carry this mostly rookie-laden NFL team to the top of the heap, literally and figuratively.
After all, they will have to compete for playing time against experienced defenders, including Sheldon Rankins, Carl Lawson, Bryce Huff, Quinnen Williams, Franklin-Myers, and several others.
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh and defense coordinator Jeff Ulbrich need to deploy a strong defensive rotation to be truly competitive. This means everyone on the Jets' 53-man roster gets the chance to show their wares on the playing field.
This happened Sunday after an ugly loss to the Baltimore Ravens, 9-24. All the rookies had their shot at glory, and all of them showed some flashes of brilliance – but not enough to translate into a win.
"It's a young and raw team," admits Saleh, but "but if they do play with that type of mentality and effort, we will be fine."
Analysts are bullish over Jermaine Johnson and Michael Clemons easily making the grade, but both have to display more wares than their more seasoned teammates to earn a permanent spot in the rotation. This means they will have to play better than Rankins and company to be noticed.
Saleh and Ulbrich watched them closely on Sunday to see how they would deliver. Well, they didn't. But they will be watching them even more closely in the coming games to observe everyone's athleticism – their agility, balance, flexibility, quickness, lateral movement, aggressiveness, and leaping ability, among other essentials.
It's not a one-time assessment, but a continuing review to include a player’s character and consistency. It won't be easy for any of the rookies though, as they will be ranged not only against their veteran teammates, but also against each other. And, for a team that is known for its defensive strength, the competition is going to be tough.
But to go back to the question, who will be the top New York Jets Defensive Rookie of the Year Candidates in 2022. Head coach Saleh is still non-committal in his statement "we will be fine."
This just means it's too early to say. Johnson and Clemons have to work harder to win games and be considered top New York Jets Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate for 2022.