Who needs to come up big next season for New York Jets defense?
Added by Justin O'Connell on June 9, 2012.
Defensive lineman, Mike DeVito
Rex Ryan’s defense took a colossal step back last season, allowing 22.7 points per game, had a -3 turnover ratio, and were only capable of acquiring 35 sacks in a blitz happy system. So, who will need to raise the level of their play this season and who can we expect to excel in these upcoming months?
Let’s go over the roster and see who could possibly help turn this defense back into the juggernaut it once was.
The position that should be the most improved should be the defensive line, especially with the addition of their first-round pick, Quiton Couples, and a full off-season for the line to work together. The Jets defensive line is one of the youngest in the league, but they have had a full year of playing time together, besides Couples, and will benefit from a full off-season. The Jets will use more of the 4-3 defense in certain situations this season, rather than sticking with their traditional 3-4 look, according to defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine.
With the addition of Couples, the team feels that he and Muhammad Wilkerson could be a dynamic duo at the defensive end position. Both Couples and Wilkerson are versatile players who Ryan can move around as he pleases and still expect a high level of play.
Sione Pouha and Kenrick Ellis will play nose tackle and need to be a vital part of the defense for it to be a dominant one. Both are extremely large, over 660lbs combined, and both are athletic, especially for their size. The two will need to stop the run game, take up blockers for the linebackers to get through, and lastly get some pressure on the opponent’s quarterback because the team does not have a dominant push rusher.
Mike DeVito will most likely play defensive tackle in the 4-3 scheme and d-end in the 3-4 schemes. DeVito took a pay cut this year to stay with the team and will be a veteran leader, who Pettine, will look to help the young players improve.
The linebacker position is going to be highly questionable, with the aging Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas who is coming off Achilles tendon surgery, and Calvin Pace whose play is sporadic. The only constant for the team is David Harris, and if Scott has another down year, then rookie, Demario Davis could be taking a lot of his snaps. Scott has lost 15lbs this off-season though and according to espnnewyork.com Jets beat writer, Rich Cimini, he has looked much quicker and in better shape than last season.
The secondary was a strong point for the team last season, mainly due to Darrelle Revis. Kyle Wilson will have to continue to grow and improve, in order for Ryan to feel comfortable dialing up his blitz calls. Antonio Cromartie, who perhaps is the most talented corner in the league, needs to learn from Revis and play hard on every play for this secondary to be the best in the NFL. He cannot continue to fear tackling the defenders and needs to learn how to play the run at a higher level.
Lastly, there is the safety position, which is the biggest scare for most Jets fans. Although they brought in LaRon Landry and Yerimiah Bell, as well as drafting two safeties there is still much uncertainty. Landry is coming off of a severe injury and Bell is getting up there in age; it is expected the two will split time and Eric Smith will fill the other open slot. Bell has been very impressive at camp and seems to fit into Ryan’s system perfectly, so the team is hoping with all the new acquisitions they will be able to vastly improve. They all are superb tacklers and run defenders, but none are great in coverage, which means it will again be all on the cornerbacks.