Jets DB Makes Wild Claim About Team’s Defense In 2023

D.J. Reed, Jets
NFL Analysis Network

Expectations are very high for the New York Jets entering the 2023 season. After acquiring Aaron Rodgers to take over as their starting quarterback, there is a feeling of a Super Bowl or bust around the organization. For a team riding the longest playoff drought in the four major sporting leagues in North America, contending for a championship is quite a jump.

While a lot of the focus has been on the offense and Rodgers this offseason, the defense has garnered some attention lately. Cornerback D.J. Reed recently made a bold comment about the Jets’ unit, believing they could be amongst the best ever.

The 1985-86 Chicago Bears and 2013 Seattle Seahawks, with the Legion of Boom, are considered two of the all-time great defensive units in NFL history. Reed believes this year’s Jets will be in the conversation when it is all said and done.

“I’m very confident,” Reed said Monday on a Zoom call with reporters. “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 LOB [Seahawks’ Legion of Boom] in 2013. I think we can be that dominant if we just put all the things together.”

It won’t take long for Reed’s claims to be tested. The Jets are hosting the Buffalo Bills, the No. 2 offense in the NFL in 2022, in Week 1 on Monday Night Football. His confidence, however, isn’t irrational.

New York finished fourth in scoring defense and yards allowed in the 2022 season. There is a lot of talent on this unit, including three Pro Bowlers in defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, linebacker C.J. Mosley and cornerback Sauce Gardner.

Reed is part of a very strong supporting cast that puts those three players in a position to star on the field. If there was one area this unit could stand to improve it is in its playmaking. The Jets ranked 29th in the NFL with only 16 takeaways last season, as they aren’t creating turnovers.

But, that is a bit of a nitpick when it comes to a group that performed at the level in which they did. Now with an offense that should be able to hold its own production-wise, Reed said there is a sense of urgency to start winning games.

“I look at it like we have a small window,” he said. “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.”

It is anyone’s guess how long Rodgers will keep playing, which directly ties into the Jets’ window to contend. If the defense lives up to the expectations that Reed has set, there is going to be a lot of winning done by Gang Green in the coming months.