- Associated Press - Saturday, October 10, 2015

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - The alter ego to Todd Bowles’ easygoing, low-key demeanor can be found in the New York Jets’ defense.

It’s a blitz-happy, havoc-wreaking and ultra-aggressive bunch of bruisers.

“We’ve done a lot of good things,” linebacker Demario Davis said, “and there are things that we’re still trying to clean up.”

The Jets have been one of the NFL’s early-season surprises with a 3-1 start that has them No. 9 overall in the AP Pro32 power rankings as they head into the bye-week break. They’ve been doing it in large part with their defense, ranking third in overall yardage allowed and first with 13 takeaways - already matching last season’s total under Rex Ryan.

“I think it’s just a credit to our work ethic, a credit to the coaches and a credit to the players being detailed,” Davis said.

Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers have not been shy about bringing pressure. Against Miami last Sunday, the blitz was on as the Jets went after the quarterback time and time again.

According to ESPN, defensive backs blitzed on 22 plays, the most by any team in five years, with cornerback Buster Skrine repeatedly getting in Ryan Tannehill’s face.

“That fires us up on the sideline,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “(Bowles) has just got supreme confidence, not only in the scheme, but in the players out there. It’s a lot of fun to watch and be a part of.”

There was also huge statements made by Darrelle Revis and the Jets’ defense with a big stand on an international stage. With the Dolphins at the Jets 4 with first-and-goal last Sunday in London, Bowles’ bunch got downright stingy.

After three incompletions, a defensive holding put the ball at the 2. A touchdown was nullified by an offensive pass interference, making it first-and-goal at the 12. Four plays later, Revis intercepted Tannehill in the end zone and a scoring threat was thwarted.

“Pretty awesome,” Revis said.

It was also a glimpse at how effective this defense could be.

“I thought it was big for those guys to step up in the red zone, their backs to the wall,” Bowles said. “And we got to deal with some adversity, so that helps us gain mental toughness going forward.”

New York held Miami to 0 for 12 on third-down conversions, and 0 for 4 on fourth downs. In a 24-17 loss to Philadelphia the previous week, the Jets allowed the Eagles only four third-down conversions in 14 chances - but couldn’t make crucial stops in the first half when New York fell behind 24-0.

“We were very disappointed about last week’s game against Philly, and we felt as a team that we didn’t play up to our standards,” Revis said. “Coming here to London, we wanted to make a statement and go out there and play the ball that we usually play - that’s great ball.”

Defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson will be back, too, pending a decision from the league on additional discipline. Richardson was suspended the first four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and is facing charges in Missouri following a police chase.

His hearing was delayed until Nov. 9, and the Jets are planning - at least for now - to have Richardson back as a key part of their already-solid defense.

“You don’t have a challenge finding places for good players to play,” Bowles said. “You just play them.”

The Jets are back at home Oct. 18, when they play Washington. Then, they’ve got road games at New England and Oakland before playing three of the next four at home - including a Thursday night matchup with Ryan’s Buffalo Bills on Nov. 12.

“There’s going to be some tough competition coming up where we’re going to have be really detailed, being able to get off the field on third down, creating turnovers and being good in the red zone,” Davis said. “It’s really going to be more in the film room than at practice.”

It’s just four games in and Bowles has warned his players to not get overconfident by the solid start. After all, there are issues with sloppiness as they have racked up 32 penalties, 20 coming in the last two games.

The offense has also been inconsistent with Fitzpatrick leading the way in place of Geno Smith, who’s now fully healed after having his jaw broken by then-teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali in August.

Among regular starting quarterbacks, Fitzpatrick is tied the Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton for the least times sacked with just two. But he’s also third in the NFL with six interceptions.

“I don’t think, especially speaking offensively, at 3-1, we’re not satisfied at this point with the way that we have done it,” Fitzpatrick said. “We know we can get a lot better, stay healthy and all that, and just continue to get better.”

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