Rex Ryan prides himself on his defense, in particular he prides himself on the ability to confuse and get after the quarterback. On Sunday night, he will be facing a quarterback who missed the majority of last season with an injury and an offensive line starting two rookies and a center with one career NFL start.
If Ryan wants to stop hearing questions about his pass rush. If Calvin Pace wants to stop hearing about when he will finally break through and put up a double digit sack season. If Jamaal Westerman wants to answer the skepticism about him being the team’s designated pass rusher…Sunday is a hell of an opportunity to make a statement.
There is no excuse for the Jets to not constantly be in the face on Tony Romo and knocking him to the ground. Despite being a playmaker, Romo is prone to making a handful of poor decisions a game that can result in turnovers. The pass rush should be able to both sack him and force a few passes that should be intercepted.
The top two pass rushers on the team are supposed to be Pace and Westerman. This is the first time in two years Pace will be on the field week one and he can get a jump on a breakout season by turning in a big performance Sunday night. Westerman has proven nothing as a defensive player at this level and needs to make a few plays to demonstrate he has the ability to be a pass rush specialist on this defense. Ryan will also be sending his defensive backs at the quarterback as usual, so players like Kyle Wilson, Donald Strickland, and Eric Smith need to take advantage of their blitzes.
A great defense takes advantage of an offensive line with such a lack of experience. Let’s see if the Jets will take a first step towards being that great defense this year.