Since the Jets haven't signed a free agent for me to scout in almost two weeks, I've been watching footage of some of the bottom-of-the-roster guys to try and get an insight into what kind of potential they have and whether any of them could realistically be expected to step into an important role in 2013.

Darrin Walls, a 6-0 190 pound 24-year old, is a guy Jets fans already got a brief look at last season. Added to the active roster on 22 November 2012, Walls played in six games, including three where he saw action on defense at the end of the season. However, we haven't extensively scouted him for BGA yet, since he kind of slipped through the net by virtue of being added to the roster at a stage of the season where there was a lot going on. Walls is one of several young defensive backs with good potential on the Jets roster so he has his work cut out in terms of standing out in a crowd.

After the jump, I look in detail at footage from Darrin's first two seasons in the league to evaluate some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Who is Darrin Walls?

Walls attended Notre Dame where he put together a solid career but went undrafted despite running a 4.42 forty at his Pro Day and putting together some other pretty impressive workout numbers. He was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons and stayed on their active roster throughout the 2011 season, appearing in five games, and returned to the team in 2012. A leg injury in August saw them release him with a six-week injury settlement, which meant they couldn't re-sign him until after the six weeks had expired (which reportedly they had every intention of doing) and the Jets picked him up and added him to their practice squad in late September.

As we recently reported, Walls received an ERFA tender and signed this recently so is back in the fold for the 2013 season, where he'll likely be competing for time with the likes of Donnie Fletcher, Aaron Berry and Royce Adams.

Let's look at his numbers from his career so far:

The Numbers

Two seasons

11 games

Six games where he saw action on defense

99 snaps

Six tackles (three on special teams)

Two missed tackles (one on special teams)

Coverage numbers: 4-for-11, 75 yards, one TD, one INT and two passes defensed

Completion percentage: 36.4%

Yards per attempt: 6.8

QB rating: 53.2

One penalty (holding)

2012 Regular Season

As noted, we've already had a decent look at Walls during the last few weeks of last season. Let's recap some of the comments on him from the weekly BGA reviews:

Week 14 - at Jacksonville

Darrin Walls saw his first action of the year on defense. He replaced the injured Cromartie, but then did get back into the game once Cromartie made his return. All in all, he was in for eight snaps and thrown at once with the receiver dropping a wide throw.

Week 16 - v San Diego

Ellis Lankster suffered a head injury early on and this meant that Darrin Walls was the third cornerback. Walls was activated from the practice squad a couple of weeks ago. He didn’t do a bad job, other than when he was called for holding on third down. You couldn’t tell from the TV footage whether or not that was a good call, because if there was a hold, it happened off-screen. Walls dropped an interception in the first half and broke up a pass in the fourth quarter, only for Wilson’s penalty on the same play to render that moot. He was also in good position on one other target ... Walls only played one snap in the slot. With Lankster out, Wilson reverted to his old slot role when the Jets had three cornerbacks in the game (20 snaps).

Week 17 - at Buffalo

[Stevie Johnson's] biggest catch was a 37-yarder over Darrin Walls. Walls was actually in good position on that completion to Johnson, but was slightly off balance so he couldn’t jump up to contest the ball. He was in good position on another deep ball and showed a good ability to help out in run support too.

It's worth noting that - despite his otherwise impressive workout numbers - Walls' vertical leap was only 28.5 inches, which is poor for a cornerback. Maybe that hurt him on the Johnson completion.

2011 Regular Season

Walls appeared in five games for the Falcons at the end of the 2011 season, featuring on defense in two. He only played a total of 17 snaps, all in garbage time at the end of blowouts, but we did get to see him involved in the action on those plays.

Week 15 - v Jacksonville

Walls gave up three catches for 38 yards on five targets in this game. Since it was the end of the game, he was playing off his man most of the time. Initially, the receiver stopped on a dime to catch a short pass on the outside and Walls closed well, only to miss the tackle and allow the first down. He would later give up a touchdown on this play. As you can see, he tried to play press coverage, but missed the jam at the line and allowed the receiver to get a step on his inside shoulder. The other catch he gave up was an easy eight yard gain on an out pattern that Walls was basically conceding in the prevent defense. He closed to push the receiver out of bounds. There were also some positive moments though. On another play where he was playing press coverage, he didn't attempt to make contract at the line, instead running with the receiver and forcing a throw away. Most impressively of all, he showed tremendous anticipation and closing speed to jump a route on a throw to the outside. Unfortunately, he dropped what would have been a certain pick-six, even though he had both hands on the ball.

Week 17 - v Tampa Bay

In this game, Walls was only targeted once and recorded his first career interception. That play was a perfectly executed trap coverage. Walls played off his man, who broke off his route only for the strong safety to drop off to the outside and tip the ball into the air. Walls picked it off and returned it 20 yards. The only real negative from that game was a play where the quarterback scrambled and Walls was blocked out of the play.

Walls also contributed on special teams in 2011, making three tackles. One was a terrific open field tackle at the 15 in Houston. He also assisted on a tackle at the 20 in Carolina and had a special teams tackle in the wild card game against the Giants.

2011 Preseason

To get a bigger sample size on what Walls can do, let's look at his preseason contributions. One thing that stood out was how many positive comments about his potential and future with the team the announcers were making or relaying from other sources.

In week one against Miami, Walls made an instant impact with four special teams tackles, showing an excellent ability to get downfield before anyone else. On the negative side, he was the first man down and got blocked out of the play on one punt return that went for a 75-yard touchdown. However, he correcly maintained his lane and it was really the fault of the next man down who whiffed on his tackle attempt. Walls made a great play in coverage staying with his man in perfect position with inside technique on a throw down the seam, tipping the ball up into the air where it was intercepted by his teammate. The following week in Jacksonville, he gave up three catches for 26 yards, but none of them went for a first down and he did a good job of closing on the underneath routes. In the final preseason game, he made a good tackle on third and ten to force a punt, against closing well on an underneath route. He also assisted on a tackle near the line of scrimmage, coming fast off the edge.

2012 Preseason

Walls also contributed in the first couple of games of preseason last year (still with Atlanta) before his leg injury cut that short.

He got off to a nice start in the opener against the Ravens, again displaying his closing speed to make a third down tackle short of the marker and to arrive with perfect timing to break up a pass. Against the Bengals the following week, he again did a good job of keeping some underneath completions to short gains, although he didn't get his head turned around on one throw to the end zone and ended up getting called for pass interference. In this game, he actually made a nice impact in the running game, coming off the edge well to get in on a couple of tackles off the edge. However, they did exploit this on one play and he got caught inside on an end-around.

Conclusions:

While there is limited pro footage available on Walls, what I saw was enough to identify some definite strengths. His closing speed and reactions are outstanding and he also has pretty good timing. Where he perhaps needs to improve is in terms of getting his head turned and being more physical at the line, although a lot of his work was in prevent situations, so this might be something he's more capable of than he showed.

Walls would appear to be more suited to a role on the outside than in the slot - just six of his 99 snaps in the NFL were as a slot corner. One other consideration could be a move to safety. While he obviously has pretty good natural cornerback skills, there's a bit of a logjam there at the moment for the Jets and his ability to keep things in front of him and react to cover ground in a short space of time would seem to lend itself to a sub-package deep safety role.

His tackling seems to be pretty secure, although he needs to be careful about overpursuing when playing the run. He definitely showed an ability to come up and help out in run support from what I saw though. He also made good special teams contributions for the most part, so the Jets should not necessarily feel compelled to keep a core special teamer with inferior defensive abilities on the team in his place.

I liked what I saw from Walls and I believe he has a solid NFL future, even if he can't make the Jets roster over the Summer. While the Jets' cornerback situation might currently be up in the air in terms of the starters, it's good to know they have a couple of depth options that ensure the drop-off won't be too steep if there are injuries. It may even give them the flexibility to try and convert one or more of their depth corners to a part-time safety role as they did with Dwight Lowery and Marquice Cole in the past.

Until the Jets make some more signings, I'm going to continue to look at some of the long-shot sleepers at the bottom of the roster. Next up will be Jaiquawn Jarrett.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles believes his defensive unit made big improvements in the team's win over the Dolphins on Sunday. 

The Jets let up 45 points to the Raiders a week ago, but it didn't look like a defense that allowed that many points on Sunday. The Dolphins couldn't get anything going offensively, and Bowles believes it was because the team played together. 

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets got in the win column with a surprisingly easy 20-6 victory over the Dolphins in their home opener, riding a disciplined and efficient defensive performance >>Click here to read more on the Jets' defense in Bent's Game Analysis. 

Tags: Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches his team play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches his team play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)

Former Jets LB Erin Henderson is suing the team for wrongful termination and disability discrimination, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini and NJ Advanced Media.

The now-retired linebacker is seeking $3.3 million plus in damages.

According to Henderson, he was placed on the Jets' non-football injury list unjustly. He suffers from bipolar disorder and says that the team didn't give him the proper care. 

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 (Kyle Terada)
(Kyle Terada)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Todd Bowles and the Jets made their statement about President Donald Trump and what's happening in this country when they locked arms on the sidelines during the national anthem on Sunday afternoon. Now the Jets coach wants the world's focus to be on the issues and solutions, not on all the inflammatory Tweets and words.

That was his message on Monday when asked for his feelings about the president's remarks, when he said that players who kneel during the anthem should be fired and labeled them a "son of a bitch."

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September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) passes the football against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) passes the football against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Jets QB Josh McCown led the offense in the team's first win of the season over the Dolphins, 20-6, on Sunday. 

It was his first home game as a Jet, and McCown didn't disappoint. He was accurate, moved the ball around his receiving corps, and most importantly, he impressed head coach Todd Bowles.

"I thought he was very effecient," Bowles told Jets.com's Eric Allen. "Josh has been playing good for about three weeks in a row now. He controls the offense and he sees things. He's playing smart football."

Tags: Josh McCown
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Schwartz, Vacchiano on Jets win 00:02:17
SNY's Jonas Schwartz and Ralph Vacchiano discuss the media and team's reaction to the Jets' win over Miami.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets got in the win column with a surprisingly easy 20-6 victory over the Dolphins in their home opener, riding a disciplined and efficient defensive performance.

We'll therefore start this week by focusing on the defense...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Dylan Donahue, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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FNNY: Anthem protests in NFL 00:03:05
Taylor Rooks, Marc Malusis and Sal Licata react to NFL teams protesting the national anthem and discuss what players and owners had to say.

From players on the field to acting owner Christopher Johnson and GM Mike Maccagnan, the New York Jets all locked arms during the national anthem before Sunday's 20-6 win over the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium in protest of President Donald Trump's comments from a few days ago.

The Jets had a team meeting Saturday and decided they would lock arms and stand for the anthem as a team. Groups of players from each team around the league on Sunday either locked arms or knelt during the anthem after Trump referred to NFL players who protested the national anthem as a "son of a bitch" and said they should be fired.

Johnson, who is the team's acting owner while his brother, Jets owner Woody Johnson, serves as the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom in the Trump administration, released a statement saying it was an "honor and a privilege" to join the players on the field on Sunday.

Tags: Miami Dolphins, Kelvin Beachum, Leonard Williams
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 9/24 00:10:22
The Jets Post Game crew keeps the analysis going, handing out report cards from the Jets' 20-6 win over Miami in their home opener.

 

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Bowles, McCown discuss win 00:02:17
Todd Bowles and Josh McCown reflect on the Jets' first win of the season, a resounding 20-6 victory over Miami.

All that dismal 0-16 talk is over. And, the New York Jets ended it early with a stunningly dominant performance.

Josh McCown threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, Bilal Powell ran for a score, and the Jets' defense frustrated Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins in a 20-6 victory Sunday in New York's home opener.

"Oh, man, it was awesome," McCown said. "It was special."

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September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Jets players locked arms during the national anthem on Sunday ahead of their game against the Dolphins.

Acting owner Christopher Johnson and general manager Mike Maccagnan joined the players by locking arms with them on the field.

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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)

DE Muhammad Wilkerson and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins will suit up for the Jets' Week 3 game against the Dolphins

Wilkerson missed practices during the week with a shoulder injury after suffering a shoulder injury during the team's Week 2 loss to the Raiders. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins will return following his two-game suspension at the beginning of the season.

QB Christian Hackenberg, WR Chad Hansen, CB Derrick Jones, S Rontez Miles, OL Brian Winters, TE Eric Tomlinson, and TE Jordan Leggett are inactive.

 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Bowles stresses execution, tempo 00:01:10
Todd Bowles tells Jeane Coakley what he's expecting to see from his team in its home opener at MetLife Stadium.

 

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NFL's response to Trump 00:03:00
Mike Westhoff, Ray Lucas and Willie Colon weigh in on the national conversation regarding athletes' right to protest.

Jets RB Matt Forte and T Kelvin Beachum were among NFL players who retweeted posts criticizing President Trump's comments on Friday about NFL players who kneel for the national anthem.

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Can Jets rally home crowd? 00:03:12
Jets Pre Game Live breaks down what role emotions will play in the Jets' home opener against Miami.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Miami Dolphins (1-0) at the Jets (0-2) at the Meadowlands on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m. ET.


Coverage on SNY:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Miami Dolphins, Elijah McGuire, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vacchiano's 3 Keys to a Jets win 00:01:11
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses his three keys to a Jets' victory vs. the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses his three keys to a Jets victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

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In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at the Week 2 loss in Oakland, and discuss what the Jets need to do to secure their first win of the season. Later, Jonas and Willie debut two of the show's newest segments, "Willie's Story Time" and "How being an NFL player is better than being you."

Click below to listen!

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

Jets CB Buster Skrine was fined $24,309 after being penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Raiders. 

In the third quarter, Skrine picked up on a short pass to RB DeAndre Washington, but he caught Washington with his helmet first resulting in a penalty that set up a 43-yard touchdown for the Raiders. 

The Raiders had four personal fouls in the game, but none were fined. 

Tags: Buster Skrine
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Seferian-Jenkins returns to Jets 00:01:16
Jeane Coakley and Jets' tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins discuss playing for the first time since December and how he can help the team.

 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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 (Rick Scuteri/AP)
(Rick Scuteri/AP)

G Brian Winters and TE Eric Tomlinson (knee) are out for Sunday's game against the Dolphins, the Jets announced Friday.

Either Dakota Dozier or Brent Qvale will start at RG for Winters, Jets head coach Todd Bowles told reporters.

TE Jordan Leggett (knee) and S Rontez Miles (eye) are doubtful.

Tags: Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Dakota Dozier, Jordan Leggett, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rontez Miles, Will Tye
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets re-signed KR/WR Kalif Raymond to their practice squad after cutting him earlier in the week.

Raymond muffing a punt during the Jets' loss to the raiders in Oakland.

"He's got some tools to develop," coach Todd Bowles said on Thursday. "There are some things we like about him with his speed and catch radius as a receiver, so he's worth bringing back."

Bowles indicated Raymond would likely remain on the practice squad but added that there's still a chance he could make the active roster.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets' RBs 00:00:47
According to offensive coordinator John Morton and Matt Forte, the Jets are looking to utilize all three running backs in their home opener.

 

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Jets Game Plan: Moving forward 00:03:58
The panel breaks down the positives and negatives from Sunday's game and how the Jets can learn from that loss and work towards a win.

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets have signed DE David Bass and cut LB Freddie Bishop to make room on the roster.

Bass, who was selected 233rd by the Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft, had been released by the Seahawks on Tuesday.

Bishop had been signed from the practice squad to the active roster last week.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:02:02
Jeane Coakley talks with quarterback Josh McCown about the Jets' home opener and with CEO Christopher Johnson about Todd Bowles' future.

 

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

It's been a tough two weeks of the season for Jets linebacker Darron Lee, and head coach Todd Bowles wants to see more out of the second-year player. 

Standing at 6-foot-1 and 231 pounds, Lee has looked overmatched at times during the Jets' first two games this year. So far Lee has 12 tackles and one sack. 

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) looks to the fans prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) looks to the fans prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (bruised shoulder) did not participate in Wednesday's practice, but he believes he'll be ready to play against the Dolphins on Sunday. 

Wilkerson suffered the injury during last week's matchup in Oakland, but does not think the bruise is too serious. Head coach Todd Bowles also said he doesn't believe the injury will keep Wilkerson out of action. 

Below is the rest of the Jets' injury report from Wednesday's practice: 

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Christopher Johnson, the Jets' acting owner as his brother Woody Johnson serves as Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Donald Trump, says the team isn't tanking.

"It couldn't be further from the truth," Johnson told reporters on Wednesday. "I want to win every game. Every player in that locker room wants to win. What you're seeing, I think, are growing pains. These are young guys. There are some older guys on the team. Some of them, they're doing an extraordinary job. But I think you're going to see this team get better and better and better. That's what I'm looking for. And we are definitely not tanking."

The Jets, who have started the season 0-2 and are expected to have one ot the worst records in the NFL this season, trimmed the roster of the majority of their veterans during the offseason.

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Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

The Jets held workouts with six players on Tuesday, reports NFL Insider Adam Caplan.

The team worked out wide receivers Corey "Philly" Brown, Josh Huff, and Paul Turner; defensive ends Datone Jones and Alex McCalister; and defensive tackle Stefan Charles.

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Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) picks up a first down before being tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (58) in the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)
Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) picks up a first down before being tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (58) in the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)

The Jets defense may have allowed 45 points to the Raiders this past Sunday, but they are not embarrassed as they believe the unit as taken positive steps forward. 

The Raiders racked up 410 total yards as they had both the run and pass game working in their home opener. Though it was a bad performance, LB Darron Lee spoke about why there were no heads hung in the locker room following the game. 

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets surprisingly hung around for the better part of three quarters, but eventually the game slipped away from them and the Raiders came away with the anticipated blowout win. Aside from a couple of ill-timed turnovers, the run defense was the biggest issue in yesterday's game...

Tags: Darron Lee, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Cary Edmondson)
(Cary Edmondson)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets surprisingly hung around for the better part of three quarters, but eventually the game slipped away from them and the Raiders came away with the anticipated blowout win. Aside from a couple of ill-timed turnovers, the run defense was the biggest issue in yesterday's game.

Let's break down the performances on the defensive side of the ball from the Jets' 45-20 loss to the Raiders in Week 2...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Dylan Donahue, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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