Jets Coach Reveals Unlikely Source of ‘Juice’: ‘The Guy Unhinges Us’

Jeff Ulbrich

Getty New York Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich just hyped a 2022 addition.

The end result didn’t go according to plan but most do agree that the New York Jets defense looked much improved in Week 1.

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens were held to 10 points at halftime and the first touchdown didn’t come until three minutes and 45 seconds were remaining in quarter two. With a little more help from the offense and special teams, Jeff Ulbrich’s unit might have even closed this one out.

Today, the defensive coordinator noted that this revamped group thrives off “edge” and “juice” — and the biggest source of that newfound energy is a recent signing.

Jeff Ulbrich Calls Kwon Alexander Main Source of Juice

DC Jeff Ulbrich Press Conference | The New York Jets | NFLDC Jeff Ulbrich speaks to the media ahead of the team's week two matchup at the Cleveland Browns. Subscribe to the New York Jets YT Channel: For more Jets NFL Action: #NewYorkJets #Jets #NFL For more Jets action:

During his Week 2 press conference on September 15, Ulbrich named linebacker Kwon Alexander as the main source of juice. “I think Kwon is the guy that unhinges us,” the Jets coach voiced. “He has such juice and passion and energy and swag and confidence — he’s got a little bit of all that stuff that great defensive players have.”

Continuing: “He also has an amazing ability to affect others and influence others, and bring people along with him. He’s constantly challenging and talking. He is the guy and it’s really unique that from everything I heard in San Francisco, he did the same thing there — kind of unlocked their defense.”

We heard a similar description of Alexander from ex-partner in crime Fred Warner, speaking on the period the NYJ linebacker spent with the San Francisco 49ers. Warner called Alexander his “favorite teammate of all time” during the interview.

Ulbrich also credited safety Will Parks with the same motivational traits. The high-energy DB was actually on the sideline in Week 1, despite technically being signed to the practice squad.

Parks has since been activated for Week 2 with starter Jordan Whitehead dealing with an ankle injury.

Impact of Kwon Alexander in Week 1

It’s hard to measure Alexander’s impact off the field as a teammate but on it, the veteran took 37 snaps and outplayed incumbent Quincy Williams (51 snaps) once again.

As it stands, Williams is still C.J. Mosley’s number two at linebacker — although the Jets used much less of the nickel formation against the Ravens. Baltimore is a run-heavy offense though, and two-LB sets could become more frequent depending on the opponent.

Many called for Alexander’s promotion ahead of Williams this summer and that gap in talent is still very apparent now. After one week, here are the side-by-side linebacker stats for all three starters via Pro Football Focus.

  • Alexander: 74.0 grade, 73.5 on run defense, 83.1 as a tackler, 68.1 in coverage, three total tackles, zero missed tackles, two defensive stops, two receptions allowed for nine yards, zero QB pressures off one pass-rushing attempt.
  • Mosley: 54.3 grade, 56.4 on run defense, 64.8 as a tackler, 56.8 in coverage, six total tackles, one missed tackle, three defensive stops, four receptions allowed for 38 yards, one QB pressure off three pass-rushing attempts.
  • Williams: 45.0 grade, 32.5 on run defense, 64.8 as a tackler, 63.0 in coverage, five total tackles, one missed tackle, two defensive stops, one reception allowed for 11 yards, one sack/two QB pressures off zero pass-rushing attempts (pressures came in pursuit of Jackson).

If you go by the numbers, Alexander has both Williams and Mosley beat. Of course, the latter is the leader of the defense and provides something that analytics don’t take into account.

Either way, the Jets should push on with Alexander getting the full workload of snaps as the season progresses. He’s got it all — experience, coverage ability, discipline, and of course, juice!

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