By Tyson Rauch
One of the biggest stories to come out of the New York Jets 20-13 victory on Sunday was the play of safety Jaiquawn Jarrett. The third year player from Temple University had a true breakout performance with 10 tackles, 2 interceptions, a sack, and a fumble recovery. Jarrett’s play inspired a revamped New York secondary that did their best to slow down the high flying Pittsburgh Steelers pass offense.
Going forward head coach Rex Ryan stated that he expects to start Jaiquawn Jarrett against the Buffalo Bills in two weeks. This move puts the Jets head coach in a precarious situation as Jarrett is replacing first round draft pick Calvin Pryor in the starting lineup. Pryor was expected to make a signification contribution in his rookie year but has failed to live up to expectations for a variety of reasons. With reports circulating that Calvin was benched due to being late for meetings there is some room for concern at the safety position.
At some point the New York Jets have to field a safety tandem that has the ability to consistently make plays in pass coverage. Veteran Dawan Landry, a free agent in 2015, is a serviceable player but lacks the range to keep up with opposing tight ends. Jaiquawn Jarrett and Calvin Pryor are more suited for the strong safety position, which leaves Antonio Allen and Rontez Miles as the only other options. Allen displayed some early promise as a free safety but has since struggled following a temporary move to the cornerback position.
The remainder of the season should serve as an open audition for all of the Jets young safeties. The Jets need to know what they have in terms of talent as the organization prepares for 2015. Don’t be surprised to see Ryan attempt a three safety look with Jarrett, Pryor, and Allen all on the field at the same time.
For the sake of the Jets lets hope that Jaiquawn Jarrett continues to emerge, Antonio Allen bounces back from his position change, and Calvin Pryor starts to live up to the team’s expectations.
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Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.