The Las Vegas Raiders aren't underestimating the winless Jets.
Head coach Jon Gruden, beginning his team's preparation to clash with New York at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, called his next opponent "a handful."
"I'm not going to worry about anything down the road except the Jets," Gruden told reporters in a Zoom call on Monday. "If you watched the Jets play [Sunday], they're a handful. They're going to be hard to move the ball on."
The Jets are coming off a 20-3 blowout loss at the hands of the Miami Dolphins, they have an 0-11 record on the season and as a team are in the league's cellar in several statistical categories on both sides of the ball.
Gruden, who went on to single out New York's defensive unit (under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams) must've been watching when the Jets forced fumbles on back-to-back possessions in the second half against Miami.
Other than that, those in green and white—especially this team's inexperienced secondary—allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw for 257 yards and two touchdowns in Week 12. Opposing quarterbacks have thrown for 300-plus yards on the Jets on five different occasions so far in 2020.
This is, after all, a defense that ranks 30th in the league in passing yards allowed (284 per game), 29th in total points allowed (29.3 per game) and 28th in total yards allowed (395 per game). Las Vegas may be in the middle of the pack statistically on offense, but they are a 6-5 football team with quality wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns.
Granted, the Raiders are coming off an even more lopsided loss than the Jets in Week 12. Las Vegas fell 43-6 to the Atlanta Falcons this past weekend.
Gruden, in his third season coaching the Raiders, also mentioned how important it will be for his team to "take better care" of the football against the Jets.
For all the interceptions Jets fans have grown accustomed to watching Sam Darnold throw, New York actually has an even turnover differential through 11 games. As guard Greg Van Roten said after the loss to Miami, the "defense is playing well enough for [the Jets] to win."
Here's the full snippet from Gruden's Zoom press conference with reporters early this week, addressing how his team can improve after a tough loss and what makes New York a competitive opponent despite their record:
We're concentrating one week at a time. We want to play a lot better than we have played, certainly in all phases. We've got to put all three phases of our football together. We're yet to do that. We've had some really good offensive performances, we've had some good defensive performances, we've had some good special teams days, we've got to put our football team together. We're still really young. We are missing some key players. I'm not going to worry about anything down the road except the Jets. And if you watched the Jets play yesterday, they're a handful. They're going to be hard to move the ball on. Gregg Williams and this defense give people problems, we've got to take better care of the ball, we've got to play better collectively on defense and we've got to make some timely plays in the kicking game. This will be a fistfight no doubt about it. I've got a lot of respect for the way the Jets are competing.