Friday, April 18, 2014

Wilkerson on Jets' D-line: 'We feel like our time is now'


The New York Jets boasted arguably the NFL best defensive line last year, and according to the unit's leader, things will only get better.

"We're real young up front, we're very talented," defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson told the team's website recently. "We're pretty much in our prime now, and hopefully we'll get to play together for a long time.

"We feel like our time is now."'s Randy Lange went back through every season since 1970 to tally up the Jets' tackles in opponents' backfield per year. What he came up with should make Gang Green fans nod their collective heads.

Only one Jets defensive unit tallied as many total tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage as last year's: the 1981 front, consisting of Joe Klecko, Mark Gastineau, Marty Lyons, Abdul Salaam and Greg Buttle.

That legendary group still holds the team's all-time record in sacks with 66, but last year's group of Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Damon Harrison and Quinton Coples (along with solid contributions from outside linebacker Calvin Pace and others), helped earn New York 101 stuffed runs, which eclipsed Klecko's squad by 24.

The three "sons" and Coples average less than 24 years old, so Wilkerson, who just saw his contract option picked up through 2015, thinks the unit can only go up from here.

"Right now, it's not about individual goals. I just feel like everybody can do something a little better," he said. "There's always room for improvement, and I think myself and my teammates have been doing that this offseason, getting ready to get back.

"Because at the end of the day, I think we all understand that we have the ability to do something special here for the Jets."

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