Credit for the Jets offense’s recent breakthrough can be divided up among Adam Gase, Sam Darnold, the running backs, the pass catchers and the blockers.
Just make sure to save room for the Jets defense.
The Jets rank No. 13 in the NFL in total defense, including tops against the run after stifling the Giants’ Saquon Barkley and the Redskins’ Adrian Peterson-Derrius Guice combination in back-to-back wins.
But their performance has been overshadowed by the rise of the offense.
“The offense is rolling,” defensive tackle Steve McLendon said after the Jets jumped out to a 31-point lead in a 34-17 win Sunday. “Those guys are eager to do the same thing we are doing. The competition is hard. They understand that at practice we’re going to be on them. As you can see, they are taking it from practice to the games.”
Gase buys into the theory of reciprocal football.
“I think there is some correlation there,” he said Monday on a conference call. “At our practice, you’ll see a lot of times some of our starters jumping in on the scout-team [defense]. Steve is one of the main guys that jumps in for a few plays to really help work against our starting offense.
“To me, usually when you see teams do that, it’s beneficial. He’s going to play things right that the other team is doing, but at the same time, when it’s one of your better players, there is toughness there that is made on your offense.”
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum aggravated his ankle injury against the Redskins, Gase said.
“I think he’s in better shape than he was the first time … as far as being able to practice this week,” Gase said. “It’s a little bit different than what initially happened where he missed time.”
Beachum missed three games — the three when Darnold looked overwhelmed — earlier this season.
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“When he’s in there, he’s just another guy everyone looks to,” Darnold said. “If we are in a lull or not finding the rhythm, he’s the guy to push the tempo and make sure everyone is on the same page. Beach is really good in that sense, along with being a really good player, too.”
Right tackle Chuma Edoga underwent an MRI on his lower leg and is day-to-day, but Gase is “optimistic that we have an opportunity this week for him to be able to come back.”
Center Ryan Kalil, an All-Pro who came out of retirement this summer, was placed on injured reserve late last week. It ended a disappointing first season with the Jets.
“That was the decision that was made,” Gase said. “I don’t have any further details on that.”