By now, the Jets’ defense was supposed to have set the standard.
Instead, it has been an inconsistent performance at best, plagued by repetitive mistakes and untimely penalties.
Trumaine Johnson has been a flop in the secondary, regarded as the hull of the defense. Marcus Maye was limited in practice and could return Sunday against Denver at Met Life Stadium, but Johnson in now ruled out with an injury.
So the Jets still haven’t had their entire unit healthy and intact for a game.
The Jets’ defense has a golden opportunity to establish themselves over the next three weeks beginning with Denver. All of the games at Met Life Stadium and the Colts and the Vikings round out the following two weeks.
By the end of October, the unit finally could reach its expectations.
They currently are ranked a respectable 12th in the league in total defense, and 13th in pass defense.
It’s good, but it’s not good enough.
The Jets know it.
Especially after Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles looked like a Hall of Fame quarterback in leading his offense to 503 yards last Sunday.
“We just need to get better,” said safety Jamal Adams. “I’m taking it upon myself to set everybody up as a defense so we communicate better and be better on Sundays. It’s just time. It’s time to do a little bit extra.”
Adams noted the unit has organized meetings on Fridays to make sur everyone is on the same page.
There have been the bright spots.
Rookie defensive lineman Henry Anderson has been a draft find in the rough and a pleasant surprise.
Leonard Williams picked up his first sack last week and has shown signs of dominance. Darron Lee has flashed signs of his potential, but he has been inconsistent.
The defense showed what it is capable of doing when it demolished Detroit in the opener and played with the intensity and urgency it needs to maintain on a weekly basis.
Heading into this weekend, they will face three offenses that have been average through the first few weeks and can be handcuffed.
They need to take advantage of three consecutive home games and can take pressure off Sam Darnold and his growing pains along the way.
The offensive line will have their challenges with Denver’s Von Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb Sunday.
The restlessness from the fans and media alike for the unit already has stirred the calls for Todd Bowles to be fired.
He realizes the importance of the next three weeks.
“We should be angry and motivated when the game starts,’’ he said. “You want to defend home turf. You don’t want anybody walking into your stadium and beating you. It’s important to get on a winning streak — one at a time — that can get us back into this season.’’
It’s time for the defense to take its cue.