Despite the Jets ups and downs this season, one constant throughout has been their defense. Even through the slew of injuries, this unit has remained a driving force for New York, and is a big reason why they've won four of their last five games.
So what's DC Gregg Williams' secret to his squad that's currently ranked seventh in the NFL in total yards allowed? Well, ESPN's Rich Cimini uncovered one critical piece of the defense's preparation that is fascinating.
On normal game weeks, there is a players-only meeting that occurs in a very large room that hoists three projectors on its ceiling and a 37-foot by nine-foot screen on the wall. The Jets defense does an entire walk-through session where it looks like they're playing against their opponent.
"It's like we're playing in our own video game," Jets LB Brandon Copeland said.
The virtual really room, as it is called, is the epitome of using modern video technology to prepare for games. Jets defensive players can run through their assignments, make pre-snap changes and pick up on certain offensive play calls without having to truly run through it outside on the turf. Video coordinators can switch the view to have a quarterback's eye if they want as well.
Williams is particularly fond of it.
"Pretty cool," he said. "We can take 1,000 reps and never have anybody take a bump, bruise or anything.
"I've got a call structure and game film, and they're going to be playing a game in there -- in the virtual reality room -- just like they're doing all the steps, all the reads, all the eyes, and it looks like they're playing the game."
The defense had to speed up their process this week, with the tough Ravens offense on their schedule on Thursday. But they made sure to step into their game and face off against a virtual Lamar Jackson to see a way to contain his production, let alone stop it. Baltimore is the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL, and Jackson is a main reason why -- he can break the all-time rushing yards by a quarterback record tonight with 23 yards.
Hopefully, after their virtual reality session, they know what is coming at them in Baltimore. This tool has been crucial to their production when the play is for real on Sundays, and something the Jets will continue to use going forward.
"We go through footwork and steps," Jordan Jenkins said. "It's almost like a practice, like a walk-through, while we're watching film"