The New York Jets hype isn’t dying down entering Week 1 of the season. In fact, Jets cornerback D.J. Reed says the team’s defense can be one of the best the league has ever seen.
"I'm very confident," Reed said Monday, via 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 [Seahawks' Legion of Boom] in 2013. I think we can be that dominant if we just put all the things together."
While those are very bold comments — both the Bears and Seahawks won the Super Bowl in their respective seasons, though Reed wasn’t born until 11 years after the Bears’ title run in 1985 — it is the type of confidence you’d want to see entering the season.
The Jets had a great defense last season. They were fifth in the league in yards allowed and fourth in points allowed. This year’s group is returning eight starters. Reed had a career-high 80 tackles and an interception last season, his first with the Jets.
A big reason for his belief, Reed said, has to do with defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, who is entering his third season with the franchise and is “the best DC” in the league, according to Reed.
“He's doing a great job. He does a great job with situational football,” Reed said, via SNY’s Connor Hughes. “He's not just going to stick to the script if it's not working. He'll change something. He's always trying to figure out little things that we can get better at in whatever we're playing. He's very open and honest about that. We have a smart group as well, especially in the back end. We know how to get things figured out on the run. Jordan Whitehead does a good job with that. Tony Allen is a very smart player. Me, Sauce [Garner], and [Michael Carer] is one of our smartest players as well. We have a veteran group and we're very smart and we work well together."
Of course, the Jets have to prove it, which won’t be easy right away. They open the season against the Buffalo Bills on Monday night. Josh Allen and the Bills had the second-best yards and points per game last season behind only the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Jets have had high expectations all offseason, especially after landing quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a deal with the Green Bay Packers. The franchise will attempt to make the postseason for the first time since the 2010 season this fall.
While the defensive comparisons may seem a bit stretched considering they haven’t played a game yet, Reed is embracing them. He sees a window where they can win a title, and wants to take advantage of it.
"I look at it like we have a small window," he said, via ESPN. "When you have a team like this, when you have a great defense, when you have a Hall of Fame quarterback, when you have a well-built roster, you have to take advantage of this because these teams don't happen every year with cap space and guys wanting to get paid, etcetera, etcetera. So, we really have to maximize this opportunity right now."