Waiting For Godot: The New York Jets Defense

TOJ looks at the sobering realities of the New York Jets defense

Since Rex Ryan has taken over, the New York Jets have had anywhere from a very good to great defense. This season they have been maddeningly inconsistent. The pass rush isn’t there. The coverage breakdowns keep happening. An offense can now run the football on the front seven.

What happened? A lack of talent is what happened. The gaps were there last year but the Jets were able to coach around it for the most part. They couldn’t compensate for it in the beatdown at New England in the regular season or in the first half of the AFC Championship Game. Let’s also not forget this glorified defense couldn’t even give their offense a shot to carry the Jets to the Super Bowl last year, as they let Pittsburgh run out the clock.

So yes, Bart Scott they take a lot of slack.

The reality of the Jets defense is this. They are slow at linebacker and lack an elite pass rusher. Their starting safeties are average at best and below average in coverage. Their defensive line is pretty good but still lacks a difference maker. Their #2 and #3 corner have tons of talent but are still inconsistent.

You have the best corner in football in Darrelle Revis and a borderline pro-bowl linebacker in David Harris. Outside of that, you have a few slightly above average starters (Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, and Antonio Cromartie) and then a collection of average to below average players.

What is the remedy? Long term it is finding a pass rusher and a better safety to pair with Jim Leonhard, who is okay but can’t be relied on to be the top guy at the position. Short term, it is scheme and development. The coaching staff needs to flash the creativity and brilliance that stymied Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the playoffs last year more consistently. For development, young players like Jamaal Westerman, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Kyle Wilson have to grow into big time contributors.

We can’t count on a top ten defense this year but we can hope for a unit that strings together a few great performances and can be good enough to keep the Jets competitive on a weekly basis.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • angel (papo)

    what is the problem with kendric ellis I THOUGHT HE WAS PICK SO HIGH IN THE DRAFT TO BE run stuffer. he has noy play one game

  • dude CHILD PLEASE! our defense is fine the players we have on it is fine and our #2 and #3 corners are alot better then what most teams have we r fine it will get fixed relax and take a deep breath

  • Tom Patino

    Hey Rex, I guess old Bway Joe wasn’t too far off his comments, ah? I know you can TALK THE TALK, but when are you going to WALK THE WALK? I think is time to SHUT UP and just PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS! Every year is nothing but one disappointment after another. How about sitting some of the players carrying those heavy money belts and start some young ones, maybe they are hungry enough to be starters that they may go the extra mile.

  • keith

    The defense is fine the only area that could use an upgrade is the D line so we dont have to blitz every down. Letting ellis go to NE was a huge mistake but with the best back end in the league we will be fine. The Jets get a easy warm up game tonight then they get ready for the Chargers we can beat them as well then got the Bills and pats those 4 teams are very beatable. Worst case we go 3-1 but I see NY kicking it into high gear we get the tougher games at home and should win them. We are still a playoff team and in 1 month the bandwagon will be full again …