Skip to main content

CB D.J. Reed sets high bar for Jets defense: 'I think we can be historical'

Aaron Rodgers' arrival in New York became the impetus for one of the most hyped seasons in Jets history, but the defense already showed up last year.

Cornerback D.J. Reed expects the unit to take yet another step -- and then some -- with the championship window now wide open.

"I'm very confident," Reed said Monday, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini. "I think we have the potential to be the best defense in the NFL. Honestly, I think we can be historical, not just the best defense in the league, but I think we can be a historical defense like the '85-'86 Bears and the L.O.B. (Seahawks' Legion of Boom) in 2013. I think we can be that dominant if we just put all the things together."

Both of the defenses mentioned provided the backbone for their teams' respective Super Bowl runs, and along with units like the 2000 Ravens, are often held up as a beacon of greatness to aim for.

It's far from a sure thing that Gang Green can live up to those expectations, but the defense is littered with the pieces at every level to make it possible.

The corner on the opposite boundary from Reed, Sauce Gardner, is the reigning Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year, still with plenty of runway to improve. C.J. Mosley is back at his best quarterbacking the D from the inside linebacker position, having returned to second-team All-Pro caliber last season for the first time since 2019, and Quinnen Williams just deservedly earned the second-highest contract for an interior defensive lineman in NFL history on a per-year basis.

Those stars are supplemented by players like John Franklin-Myers, who placed third on the squad with five sacks in 2022 and backed up Reed's proclamation earlier today.

"S---, why not speak your goals?" Franklin-Myers said. "We're not afraid to sit here and go out on a limb and say we want to win the Super Bowl, or we want to be the best defense in the NFL."

The Jets boasted the fourth-best defense in the NFL last year in terms of both points and yards allowed. If they want to leapfrog up to best overall, let alone one of the best of all time, cracking down on the run and forcing turnovers will be imperative in the season ahead.

Although New York surrendered the fewest passing touchdowns and was third in passing yards allowed in 2022, its rushing defense finished right in the middle of the league in yards, at 16th. It was also one of the least opportunistic units in the NFL, forcing just 16 turnovers (29th).

"That's the most telling stat in football," Franklin-Myers said in reference to takeaways. "We understand that. That's going to take us from No. 4 to No. 1."

For now, this is all talk, fueled by an offseason with nothing but good news for the Jets. If New York does mount a historic defensive campaign, however, Rodgers and Co. are well-stocked on their side to contribute to a potentially special year.

The first month is sure to put such optimism to the test. Three of the Jets' first four opponents -- the Bills, Cowboys and Chiefs -- employed top-four scoring offenses last year.

Mosley, who agreed with Reed and Franklin-Myers on Monday that the Jets have the right pieces to silence teams of that nature, understands the task at hand.

"When our brothers do say that, now we have to go out there and put on a show," he said.

Related Content