Can Rex Ryan’s Defense Rise Up?

Can Rex Ryan get the most out of a mostly average defensive unit for the rest of the season?

Despite the reputation of the New York Jets, when you look at the current roster it is pretty clear that there is more talent on the offensive side of the football than the defensive side. The success of the Jets defense in recent years has been a testament to Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine.

Right now this unit, has a good, deep defensive line rotation. One great linebacker, surrounded by a generally mediocre group around him. One great corner, surrounded by below average safeties and a wildly inconsistent starter opposite him. It is the recipe for a pretty average defense. Unfortunately, the Jets need this defense to be well above average to compensate for an inconsistent offense that doesn’t regularly play to their talent level.

For that to happen it is on Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to get creative with their game plans. Those game plans need to be complimented by Darrelle Revis and David Harris playing to their elite level, which they have all year with the exception of Revis last week. The pass rush is going to have to keep coming from Aaron Maybin, who needs an enlarged role and from the blitzing. Unlike previous years, Jets defensive backs haven’t been racking up sacks…that needs to change down the stretch. Drew Coleman, Dwight Lowery, and James Ihedigbo combined for 9 sacks in 2010. All three are gone now and the Jets haven’t replaced that production.

The defensive line may have to pick up the slack of the linebackers. Hopefully the coaching staff will consider more 4-3 looks to take advantage of their depth up front. Bart Scott and Garrett McIntyre aren’t going to get any faster overnight but should be more effective with less reps and being reduced to situational players.

Rex loves to talk about his defense and having the reputation of being a great defensive mind in the NFL…with the sputtering Redskins, Chiefs, and Eagles coming up on the schedule, it is time to show he can get the most out of a mostly average group.

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