New York Jets – Behind The Numbers On Life Without Revis

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I’ve got a real treat for you today guys, I want to introduce to my good friend, John “Dallas” Dellisola. The best I could describe John is that he takes an analytic/baseball-esque approach to looking at football ala a more controversial K.C. Joyner. Over the years, I’ve had John pull stats from his own, personally-compiled library to share with the world. I imagine that he has these things stashed away in a fall-out shelter type bunker so the only things that could theoretically survive a nuclear holocaust will be Twinkies and John’s NFL stat library. Anyway, he was so kind as to pull a sampling from the vault today in order to help us look at how the Jets pass defense will fair without Darrelle Revis. 

By virtue of his exorbitant salary demands and his militant negotiating tactics, the one many Jets fans affectionately referred to as “Revis Christ” earned himself a one-way ticket to Tampa Bay and left the Jets with a Darrelle Revis-sized hole in their secondary. I will say first and foremost, there is no replacing Revis, he is a once-in-a-generation talent the best the Jets could really hope for is to have Jonah Hill play with his computer until he figures out a way to replace him in the aggregate. In all seriousness, the Jets will never truly be able to find someone as good as Darrelle Revis but they did do one heck of a job of shoring up the Cornerback position this off-season by selecting Alabama-product, Dee Milliner with their first overall pick to go with the already-established tandem of Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson. That said, the Safety position is still a pretty significant question mark and yet Mr. Dallas still believes that the Jets could field a top-five passing D and this is where I let him take over:

Before I dive into the analytics of all this, I want to make a few things clear up front.  I know the cap situation the Jets were in essentially forced them to trade their best player.  I’m here to argue that regardless of the salary cap, it’s not as bad of a trade as many see it to be. Yes, you are giving up the best corner in the league in his prime. But the Jets pass defense is not a problem area, especially after the moves made this offseason. The research shows that the Jets could easily field a top five pass D in 2013 (I’m not making any promises about their pass offense, however).

Let’s get into the numbers:

Y +/-

C% +/-

YPA +/-

TD +/-

IPA +/-

SPA +/-

NY Jets

33.4

5.9%

0.3

0.1

-0.7%

-1.1%

Each of these numbers shows how the Jets performed versus their specific schedule of pass offenses compared to what a perfectly league-average team would have done.  The Jets gave up 33.4 yards less through the air than an average pass D, good for 4th best in the league. That’s incredible considering the circumstances. The completion percentage of opposing QB’s was almost 6% lower when facing the Jets- 5th best in the league- and the YPA was -.3 yards less, 10th best in the league.

So clearly, the coverage even without Revis was pretty outstanding.  I’d chalk that up to Rex Ryan’s transcendent defensive coaching and the emergence of Antonio Cromartie as one of the best corners in the league. Clearly, being made the number-one cover man on the team triggered something in Cromartie, because he played fantastic. He was always a good corner with the Jets, but last season he took it to another level. Will he repeat that next season?

Who knows, but I think he can definitely be depended on as a solid #1 CB.  Kyle Wilson hasn’t really lived up to his draft status, but he can return to what he does best – slot coverage – thanks to the Jets first pick in the draft this year, Dee Milliner. Milliner isn’t necessarily an elite corner prospect, but he’s easily a very good one and likely the best in this draft. He has the Crimson Tide pedigree and all the measurables—plus he won’t have the burden of covering top receivers and Wilson’s presence means he can ease into the lineup more. All in all, I think it’s reasonable to expect New York to field another formidable to secondary, even with the absolute mess at free safety (Josh Bush?!).

Rebuttal: 

Let me start off by saying that I wholeheartedly agree that given the circumstances, the numbers for the Jets 2012 passing defense numbers look pretty outstanding. However, here is where the numbers fall short: weirdly enough, after losing Revis, opposing teams ran a lot more on the Jets, largely because of the fact that their banged up run defense couldn’t stop a nose bleed as they ranked 26th against the run,giving up 133.6 YPG. In addition, the Jets were third-most rushed on team in 2012 as they were rushed on a total of 495 times, which came out to 30.9 Attempts Per Game.

Granted, Cromartie played exceedingly well in 2012, stepping up in a big way after Revis went down but he experienced a similar treatment, in that teams opted to throw at the Kyle Wilsons and Ellis Lanksters of the world rather than rolling the dice and throwing at Cro. Although the stats may indicate that the Jets were the second-best team against the pass in 2012, those numbers are a by-product of a lopsided defense that was way worse against the run than the pass.

However, when it comes to the 2013 Jets passing defense, I expect them to be improved over 2012 in terms of on-field performance as opposed to performance on paper. The Jets are fairly deep at Corner with Cromartie, Milliner, and Wilson filling the first three slots on the depth chart and a combination of Ellis Lankster, Isaiah Trufant, Darrin Walls and Aaron Berry as options in the dime and sub packages. The talent is more or less the same and a lot depends on Milliner in terms of his health and how quickly he is able to develop and mature in Rex’s system.

As was already mentioned, the Safeties leave a lot to be desired with the lesser-Landry brother as the only “sure-thing” in center field. However, the real boom to the passing defense will be the expected emergence of a conventional pass-rush, considering the impressive amount of depth the Jets have accrued along the defensive line. Again, there are still a lot of question marks from a personnel and scheme standpoint as the purported ability to generate a conventional pass-rush depends largely on the development of a few key players.

The real key to the 2013 Jets pass-defense will be Rex Ryan and how he is able to utilize the personnel that newly-minted GM John Idzik has provided for him. With his job on the line, Rex took back the defensive play-calling duties and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with schematically considering the fact that many would argue his personnel is suited more for a 4-3 than a 3-4. There was much hullabaloo made about the Jets potentially implementing some more 4-3 fronts last season but that never really came to fruition. Many have speculated the same type of transition for this season but don’t expect Rex to get away from his identity, the most likely outcome is that guys like Coples, Wilkerson, and Richardson will line up at a slew of different positions because of their versatility. Personally, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with because the potential is there for this team to wreak some havoc on opposing quarterbacks and I guess that will truly be Revis’ biggest impact on the 2013 Jets.

*If you guys have any questions, comments, concerns, angry letters, etc for John feel free to shoot him an email at: ajdellisola@gmail.com.

  • __fense

    Another factor in this is that we’re prepared in advance to not have Revis. There’s a big difference between starting the season without a great player and starting with him, planning the whole defense around him, only to have him get hurt in week 2.

  • Harold

    I definitely think the pass defense will be outstanding this year. I expect an improved pass rush and more blitzing will impact in a positive way our run and pass defense.

  • John C

    This year’s defense has the potential to be much better than last years, if a lot of ifs go our way. If Wilkerson, Coples and Ellis progress, if Richardson has an impact earlier than Coples did last year, if Barnes and Garay stay healthy. With any kind of improved pass rush, the DBs will be fine (if Milliner is healthy). Oh, and if they have any safeties on their roster that are better than Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith. That is a lot of ifs, but I think we’ll have enough of them pan out, that the Defense will actually win us a few games.

  • David

    Over the past few years, our secondary hasn’t been a problem as much as our lack of a pass rush without having to “send the house.” What we need more than anything this year is when we get into our 4-3 defense with let’s say Barnes, Wilkerson, Richardson, and Coples, those 4 guys and 4 guys alone need to be putting a lot of pressure on the QB.

  • T

    You suggest the numbers were skewered because teams ran on us. They did so much because they wanted to keep our highly potent Offense off the field…………….ummmmm oh wait!

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  • Anthony

    Dear T,

    There were a lot of reasons teams tended to run the ball on us, but a lot of that was because they could run the ball. Also, our defense making a big play was the best way for the Jets to get back into the game, and therefore minimizing the offense was a conditional factor in preventing the team from making mistakes.

    We also lost a large proportion of our games last year simply by letting the offense get the ball back, and just waiting for Sanchez to make a mistake late.

    I see the irony you’re attempting to make, but the fact is there are many reasons for running the ball, its not all simply ball control.