Dee Milliner will start the game Sunday for the Jets. Now the goal becomes for him to finish the game on the field as well.
The rookie cornerback was routinely matched up with Marvin Jones last week and was soundly beaten all game. Jones finished with eight catches — on eight targets — for 122 yards and four touchdowns. He was benched late in the game. It’s not the first time he’s struggled.
“He’s close to being that player we want,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “By the time the season’s over, I think he will be the best rookie corner and playing better than any rookie corner in this year’s draft.”
Milliner will have Drew Brees’ Saints and the NFL’s third-best passing offense (310.7 yards per game) awaiting him.
“He’s one of the great quarterbacks in today’s game,” Milliner said. “He’s going to be out there and of course I’m the new kid out there so he’s going to look to attack me on things.”
Ryan knows his young corner will be tested as well. Not only will they have to deal with Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Kenny Stills, but tight end Jimmy Graham has quickly developed into one of the best in the league at the position. They are even more dangerous than Andy Dalton and the Bengals, who threw for 325 yards and five touchdowns last week.
"It’s a team that really pushes the ball vertically on you, probably more so than anybody,” Ryan said. “I told the team this too, that quite honestly, they’re going to watch that tape from what happened last week. I wouldn’t be surprised if Drew Brees and company aren’t on the flight here early to make sure they got here. We have to play a heck of a lot better and we will.”
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.