Jets Believe Surprising Veteran Can Be Among Best in NFL: Insider

Lamarcus Joyner, Jets

Getty New York Jets defensive back Lamarcus Joyner going through some drills during training camp.

Sometimes there is a massive gap between what the fans think and what the team thinks about the holes on the roster.

Throughout the offseason, several factions of the New York Jets fan base have brutally ripped the team apart about their safety situation opposite of Jordan Whitehead.

Despite public outcry, the team has resisted the urge to do anything of substance at that spot. After the latest report, we now know why that is the case.

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Well, Well, Well

The projected starter opposite of Whitehead is veteran Lamarcus Joyner.

He originally signed with the team last offseason and was supposed to be a key cog in the secondary. However, a brutal season-ending injury in Week 1 drastically changed those plans.

This offseason the former Florida State product re-upped with the green and white on a one-year deal. While fans may have overlooked this move, the coaching staff feels very differently about the talented defensive back per Connor Hughes of The Athletic:

“The Jets love Joyner. They still believe he can be one of the league’s better free safeties and see Jeff Ulbrich’s defense as a way to distance him from his struggles with the Raiders. The pressure on Joyner is that the Jets don’t have much behind him.

Jason Pinnock has potential, but the 2021 fifth-rounder still needs one more year of developing before he can legitimately be considered a starting option. Ashtyn Davis has the physical tools, but his range and speed mean very little when he continually runs himself out of plays. Will Parks and Elijah Riley were nice stories last year, but not meant to play anything other than special teams.

The Jets’ defense should be significantly improved this year. Joyner’s health and ability to return to form is a key factor there.”

That Explains a Lot

We started this column saying there can often be a divide between fans and the team.

After hearing this latest insight from the team perspective, it now makes a lot more sense.

The reason why the Jets didn’t select a safety in the 2022 NFL draft or sign a big-time free agent at the position is that they didn’t think they needed to.

If they truly believe that Joyner can be “one of the league’s better free safeties” then this defense has a chance to be truly special.

With two new starters at corner (Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner and DJ Reed Jr), the Whitehead addition, and the Joyner quasi-addition (he was technically on the team last year) this secondary has been completely rebuilt in a single offseason.

The Jets are putting a ton of their eggs in the Joyner basket to succeed in 2022. Behind him is a series of question marks with a variety of unproven players.

Although if this secondary can stand the test that should provide plenty of time for this front seven to get after the opposing quarterback.

We often discuss what is the better formula? A good secondary that makes the quarterback hitch versus an extraordinary pass rush that gets there so quickly that the coverage side of things is less important.

The good news is both sides of the coin the Jets have covered right now. Last year their defense was a weakness and this year it could be the reason they succeed.

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