Jaiquawn Jarrett

Jaiquawn Jarrett skies for his second interception against the Steelers.

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Despite a breakout game, head coach Rex Ryan had to defend starting Jaiquawn Jarrett at safety on Monday after reports surfaced rookie Calvin Pryor had been late to team meetings, necessitating punishment.

Ryan painted the decision to sit Pryor as one made on Jarrett’s recent play in practice and nothing to do with the missed meeting in his Monday conference call.

“Jaiquawn Jarrett is the reason why Calvin didn’t start. Jaiquawn Jarrett has done a tremendous job, and even on Sundays prior to this, he has done a good job for us,” Ryan said. “So you can judge it, look at the tape yourself and all that and do the right thing, and play guys that earn it, or you can ignore it.”

Jarrett had seven tackles, two interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery in the 20-13 win over the Steelers.

To date, Pryor has struggled in being beaten over the top and still doesn’t appear comfortable playing in space.

There have been far more misses than hits with the Jets' top picks since taking D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold in the first round in 2006 and Darrelle Revis a year later. Other first-round picks include Vernon Ghloston, Mark Sanchez and Kyle Wilson, who are either considered busts or failed to live up to high expectations. The departed Dustin Keller, Quinton Coples and Dee Milliner have been fine but not impact players. Only Muhammad Wilkerson in 2011 and Sheldon Richardson last season, both standouts on the defensive line, appear to be significant contributors.

And now Jarrett doesn't seem likely to release his grip on the starting role anytime soon.

“I think it’s going to be hard to keep [Jarrett] out of that starting lineup,” Ryan said. “After the performance he had, I’m sure he’ll probably be, if not, he should be, the [AFC] Defensive Player of the Week.”


Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.

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