Scouting report Vikings at New York Jets
Sunday, noon, at MetLife Stadium (Ch. 9, 100.3-FM)
About The Jets
• The Jets (3-3) won for the second week in a row by defeating the Colts 42-34 on Sunday. The Jets forced four turnovers, including a 17-yard interception returned for a touchdown by cornerback Morris Claiborne on the second play of the game.
• The Jets’ defensive strength has been taking the ball away. They’re ranked second in the NFL with 15 takeaways in six games — 10 interceptions and five fumble recoveries. Linebacker Darron Lee leads the team with three interceptions.
• Defensive tackle Leonard Williams, drafted sixth overall by the Jets in 2015, leads the defense with three sacks, and his 21 total pressures (sacks/hits/hurries) trail only six other NFL interior defenders, including the Vikings’ Sheldon Richardson (22), according to Pro Football Focus.
• Running back Isaiah Crowell has been rookie quarterback Sam Darnold’s best friend, racking up 6.1 yards per carry, which ranks second in the league among backs with at least 50 carries. Just two weeks ago, the Jets put up 323 rushing yards in a win against the Broncos.
Player To Watch QB Sam Darnold
• Darnold, the third overall pick this spring out of USC, is averaging about 210 passing yards on 30 throws per game. He’s thrown nine touchdowns to seven interceptions with a crew of receivers that includes Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and Terrelle Pryor.
• Playing with a lead and finding a run-pass balance have been the Jets’ winning formulas. Darnold has averaged 24 passes in each of the Jets’ three wins, compared to about 35 passes during each of the Jets’ three losses.
• Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on Darnold: “Very strong arm, very accurate, moves well in the pocket. He scrambles well and gets out of there fairly quickly. Seems to be going to the right place with the ball. He’s thrown some great deep balls.”
• Jets head coach Todd Bowles on the run game aiding Darnold’s development: “Any time you don’t have to throw 50 times a game always helps, or a strong running game in our offense always helps because you can play-action pass off that. So, it’s necessary.”
Coach Speak | Todd Bowles
• Bowles is in his fourth season as Jets head coach with a 23-31 record and no playoff appearances. Bowles, the former Redskins safety and longtime NFL defensive assistant, has seen his Jets defense tail off in recent seasons after ranking fourth in yards allowed during his first year in 2015. The Jets ranked 11th and 25th the past two seasons.
• Bowles, 54, has known Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer since 2005, when he was hired as Cowboys secondary coach under Zimmer, then the defensive coordinator. Bowles and Zimmer crossed paths again in 2014 when both were candidates for the Vikings’ head coaching vacancy.
• On spending two years as Zimmer’s assistant coach for the Cowboys in 2005-06: “We text quite a bit, whether it’s Zimmer, [defensive coordinator] George Edwards, [defensive line coach] Andre Patterson. I’ve been with quite a few guys over there. Zim is one of the smartest defensive coaches I’ve been around. I learned a lot from him in Dallas.”