Last season Gang Green fell out of the Top-10 for defensive yards allowed; ranking No. 11 in the entire NFL. New York is on a mission to get back toward the top. Third year middle linebacker, DeMario Davis, has improved his game steadily since joining the team. Even though he has been overshadowed by fellow linebacker David Harris thus far in his career, his leadership and his determination to strike fear into opposing offenses has never been overlooked.
"We're looking to be the best," noted the Jets' linebacker. "Anything short of the best is not good for us. To finish 11th in the league [in defensive yards allowed], that's not good. We're kind of ticked off about that. [Third in run defense], with all the work we did, we're still ticked about that."
Davis reiterated the point to strive for greatness.
"People kind of know who we are, but we need everybody to know who we are," Davis said last week after practice. "We need everybody to have that level of respect when they play the New York Jets."
The Jets have a very young team, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but the talent is there. Davis knows that this team is young and some lack experience but he doesn't think it will stop their goal of dominating on defense this season.
"I feel good about our team's development," he said. "As a young team, we have to grow quickly and grow together. Some of our young guys have had experience, some more than others, but to go out there and do it day in, day out, which we're going to need to be excellent, to be where we want to be, it's going to take all of us."
The team has had young players step up and contribute day in and day out. Reigning defensive rookie of the year Sheldon Richardson would attest to that. Some analysts and fans consider the Jets to have the most fearsome and dominant defensive lines in the league with Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, and Richardson manning the line. However, the secondary has lost a step with the departure of Antonio Cromartie and the failure to bring in proven talent in Aqib Talib or Darrelle Revis in the offseason.
Despite the team's weakness in the secondary last season, the Green and White finished No. 3among the NFL in rushing defense. This accomplishment is something that the team can build on heading into 2014, as its young starters have gained more experience since last year. As for now, the secondary is expected to take another step back in the rankings from previous years unless a young player rises to stardom as Richardson did a year ago. It will come down to the leadership of the veteran players and the coaching staff to progress this inexperienced defense to become instant game changers on Sundays.