Jets defense thriving behind strong play from Williams & Huff

East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) rushes the ball as New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley (57) and cornerback D.J. Reed (4) and defensive end Bryce Huff (47) defend during the first half at MetLife Stadium
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets are exceeding expectations through eight weeks of the 2023 NFL season and much of that is owed to the strength of their defensive unit.

Have Williams and Huff Truly Been the Jets’ Best Two Players Thus Far?

Brian Costello of the New York Post spotlighted several defenders drafted outside of the first round that have done their part in helping the Jets stop opposing offenses, saying this in part:

“But the defense is not just about those players with high pedigree. Quincy Williams, who was claimed off waivers, and Bryce Huff, an undrafted free-agent signing, arguably have been the Jets’ best players this season,” Costello said. “This is a tribute to what the defensive staff has done developing talent.”

Williams has 71 tackles on the year — eight of which have been for losses — and adds to that with two sacks. He’s also forced and recovered one fumble. Save sacks, all of those numbers lead the Jets’ defensive unit.

His ability to get after the quarterback has been exceptional and he’s done so with the help of the rest of his front seven.

Lined up in front of Williams has been Huff, who has four sacks on the year. Huff carries an 80.0 player grade from Pro Football Focus and the 13th-best grade of 65.3 in the pass rush department among all edge defenders.

Together, they’ve helped the Jets become a top-10 defense against the pass, though they’ve struggled against the run. Opposing running backs have accumulated 1,014 yards on the ground, which ranks No. 31 in the NFL.

Talent Dispersed Throughout the Rest of the Jets’ Roster

Star LB CJ Mosley has had a quieter year than expected. Additionally, safety Jordan Whitehead made history with three interceptions in the Jets’ 22-16 triumph over the Buffalo Bills in their season opener. Since then, he has not recorded another takeaway though he’s been active with 37 tackles in that time frame.

Offensively, RB Breece Hall has delivered a couple of explosive performances, going for 127 or more yards twice and carrying the Jets in said games. QB Zach Wilson also deserves credit for his relief of injured starter Aaron Rodgers, as he’s on pace for a career year in the touchdowns department with five passing TDs already.

The rest of the roster has steady performers throughout the starting and reserve units. Williams and Huff just so happen to be excelling with less initial expectation heaped upon them.

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