Rex preaches to Jets on generating turnovers

Antonio Allen | New York Jets

While Rex Ryan's defense has been playing solid football through six weeks of the season, his unit can begin to take its next step to elite status by forcing opponents into costly mistakes beginning in Week 7 against the Patriots.

The New York Jets' defense is among the best in the NFL in most major statistical categories. Turnover rate isn't one of them.

Through six games, Gang Green has snagged only one interception and recovered just two fumbles despite forcing nine.

"I told you guys last week, that's what Rex preached to us last week and preached to us again," Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson told WFAN Tuesday, via CBS New York. "We have to get strip attempts and the ball has to be ours if it's in the air."

Only the New York Giants and Houston Texans have a worse turnover differential than the Jets at minus-16 and minus 12, respectively. Those teams combine for a 2-10 record. The Jets, who sit at 3-3, are minus-11 in turnover differential, thanks mostly to rookie quarterback Geno Smith's growing pains.

Jets coach Rex Ryan was asked Wednesday if a defense could be considered elite without producing takeaways.

"No. I don't think so," Ryan said, via NewYorkJets.com. "Like right now, that's probably what's keeping us from taking that step."

New York will be hard-pressed to change its luck in that category this week, as only four teams in the NFL have fewer giveaways than the Patriots. The Jets' defense gave Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hell in their Week 2 meeting but were unable to pick him off and ultimately lost.

"Brady is an elite quarterback, always making things happen," Wilkerson said. "We just have to attack the Patriots." Follow Nick @NickStDenis

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