Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – All New York Jets Defense Edition

5

Enough talk about all the GLORY BOYS on the New York Jets offense…or more appropriately enough talk about the most depressing part of their team. Today the Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is focusing on Rex Ryan’s baby…the defense.

1. One of the New York Jets most popular alignments throughout last season was the 4-2 slide nickel. Pictured below. Basically the Jets use a 4 man front by moving one of their outside linebackers to defensive end and replace the other outside linebacker with a defensive back who shades out over the slot receiver.

SlotNickel2-300x195

When the Jets go to this look in 2013, what will the personnel look like? Here is an educated guess. Against pass heavy teams or in likely passing situations, expect to see Sheldon Richardson and Antonio Garay as the interior lineman with Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson on the ends, with Antwan Barnes occasionally mixed in. Demario Davis and David Harris will be the two inside linebackers. The slot corner will likely be Kyle Wilson, if not eventually Aaron Berry or Darrin Walls. Finally, Josh Bush and Dawan Landry at safety along with Dee Milliner and Antonio Cromartie at corner. Against run heavy teams or in likely rushing situations, look for Antonio Allen to swap with Wilson at slot corner and maybe for Kenrick Ellis or Damon Harrison to sub into one of the defensive tackle spots.

2. Another popular formation Rex Ryan likes to use is the 46, which his father brought to fame in the 1980s. Pictured below. A nice explanation of the defense is given here.

46-3

In this formation, look for Kenrick Ellis at nose tackle flanked by Muhammad Wilkerson and either Antonio Gary or Sheldon Richardson. Calvin Pace will be the weak side stand-up linebacker, where he can set the edge against the run game or the Jets can bring Antwan Barnes in for passing situations. On the strong side, Quinton Coples has the versatility to line up right off the interior lineman or play on the edge. The other “linebacker” front side could be Demario Davis or even Antonio Allen in certain situations. David Harris will be in the middle, likely alongside strong safety Dawan Landry while Josh Bush plays centerfield.

3. One of the primary reasons the Jets lost in week 7 to New England last year (outside of a heinous Stephen Hill drop) was because Rex went to a passive, 3 man rush, man-under, 2 high safety look. Tom Brady chewed this up en route to a game tying field goal. The Jets unsuccessfully rushed Muhammad Wilkerson, Aaron Maybin (GAH!) and Calvin Pace (GAH!) upfront, while dropping David Harris, Antonio Allen and Demario Davis into zone coverage from linebacker. Isaiah Trufant, Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie manned up on the outside and Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry played over the top. This is a usable defensive look…just not with this personnel and ideally not too frequently against Tom ‘Freakin Brady.

Chewed-Up

This year, the Jets could swap out Maybin and Pace for Antwan Barnes and Quinton Coples. They could potentially be dropping the same 3 players at linebacker, however Davis and Allen will be a year wiser and should be more productive in these spots. It also might be wise to swap out Allen with a more coverage minded player like Aaron Berry. At corner, Wilson can slide inside and Dee Milliner will play on the outside and then the Jets will have Dawan Landry and Josh Bush deep.

4. You will also see plenty of standard 4-3 looks from the Jets this season. They have immense flexibility upfront thanks to the athleticism of Muhmmad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Sheldon Richardson, Antonio Garay and Kenrick Ellis. Outside linebackers Calvin Pace and Antwan Barnes will both be called on to line up at defensive end in certain situations, to take advantage of Pace’s ability to stop the run and Barnes’ ability to get after the passer. Demario Davis has a nice skill-set for inside linebacker in the 4-3 and David Harris can handle the Mike position. The Jets could use Antonio Allen as the “Will” or weakside linebacker in certain situations or give Garret McIntyre or Josh Mauga a look.

5. Yes, the Jets do run some 3-4, just nowhere near as much as many in the media would lead you to believe.

Colts-3

Kenrick Ellis has the prototypical size to be a 3-4 nose tackle. We could also see some Antonio Garay or Damon Harrison in that spot. Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Coples will get run at end. Demario Davis and David Harris are your inside linebackers. Calvin Pace and Antwan Barnes are your outside linebackers. The secondary will be Dawan Landry, Josh Bush, Antonio Cromartie and Dee Milliner.

6. Rex Ryan will also mix in other exotic looks, 3-3-5 alignments and plenty of other things that he hasn’t shown on tape before. Variety and versatility are keys to this defense, making players like Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Quinton Coples and to a lesser extent Antwan Barnes and Antonio Allen very valuable.

7. There is no reason not to be bullish on your optimism for the Jets defensive line. It’d be an upset if Muhammad Wilkerson wasn’t an All-Pro this year, Quinton Coples doesn’t challenge for 10 sacks and Sheldon Richardson doesn’t flash immense potential.

8. Josh Bush played a handful of defensive snaps last season yet projects to a very large role this season at free safety. If he struggles, it will be interesting to see what the backup plan is. Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett aren’t built for that type of role. Could a corner like Berry or Walls get a look at free safety or maybe even Mr. Finger Wag, Kyle Wilson?

9. Similar to Bush, Antonio Allen projects to a fairly large role in the defense despite not playing a ton last year. Allen is a versatile player who can play in the box and bring something off the edge as a blitzer. However, his shortcomings in pass coverage need to be improved or covered up. Teams will go after him, just like Brady did in week 7 last season.

10. David Harris was BAD last season, alarmingly slow, frequently out of place and missing tackles all over the field. If he has another season like he did in 2012, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets ate that contract and released him after 2013. Let’s hope he was slowed because of ankle issues and due to Sione Pouha getting pushed all over the field and not because he just isn’t very good anymore.

11. Jets fans have HIGH hopes for Demario Davis this season. He has an intriguing skill-set, good speed and Rex Ryan compares him to a different Hall of Fame linebacker every press conference. Let’s exercise a little patience here. Davis looked like he had a long way to go in his limited work last season. There is still going to be a learning curve in year 2.

12. If the Jets are going to be a .500 team this year who is in the playoff discussion come November and December, it is going to be because their defense is one of the league’s best. They need to carry this team.

  • Mark Phelan

    Let’s be realistic:

    LBs: 2 0f 3 ‘starters’ stunk last year. 1, despite ridiculous praise, does not know playbook.

    Safeties: what safeties?

  • Pingback: Posts about The Jets From Other Great Blogs issue #1 | Jets Runway | New York Jets Blog()

  • Pingback: Posts about The Jets From Other Great Blogs issue #1 | Jets Runway | New York Jets Blog()

  • Pingback: Today’s Jets Twit Directory Links July 13, 2013 | New York Jets Online Directory()

  • KAsh

    Perhaps a more useful picture would be what positions each player can man, so that it is easier to see how they can all shift around and who needs to substitute in during which situations. The Jets are incredibly versatile on defense, so it is probably easier to start with the players that will not move around too much.

    Cromartie will outside opposite the offense’s best receiver, commiting him to his island. Both Wilson and Milliner can play both outside and inside. Assuming that Josh Bush wins the competition for free safety, Dawan Landry can line up at strong safety or drop back into a two-top with Bush, which leaves Allen, Wilson, and Milliner able to play the slot corner role. If Milliner is covering on the outside, then Wilson and Allen can substitute each other, Wilson coming in on passing downs and Allen substituting him on obvious rushing downs or maybe a surprise blitz. If Milliner is covering a dangerous slot receiver or tight end inside, then it would be awesome if he could also support against the run and even sometimes blitz. Anyway, with Cromartie, Milliner, Wilson, and Allen, we can even counter four-receiver sets without sacrificing our run defense.

    If that was not confusing enough, our defensive line is even more complicated. Wilkerson, Garay, and Richardson can all play as 5-tech 3-4 DEs, 3-tech traditional DTs, 1-tech or even true nose tackles. Wilkerson and Coples can also play on the outside in four-man fronts. Ellis and Harrison are more in the true NT build, so they can absorb double teams in either three- or four-man fronts, and shore up the run defense. While Ellis and Harrison will probably never be on the field at the same time, one of them will probably spend starter minutes on the line with Wilkerson, Richardson or Garay, and Coples coming in for four-man fronts. They can come off the field in passing situations, to be replaced with whichever gap penetrator is currently on the bench.

    In the many Jets formations, the number of linebackers shift from as many as four to as few as two (even one, if we use a dime package this year). Coples and Barnes should be the starters on the outside, while Davis and Harris will start on the inside. Coples will often join the defensive line as the formation shifts to a four-man front. Barnes is a better fit for the pass-rushing Will in both 4-3 and 3-4 formations; he will probably be substituted for the slot corner in three-receiver, passing situations. Neither Barnes nor Coples have proven themselves against the run, so Pace can substitute in to set the edge. Davis will be replacing Scott, dropping into coverage and helping stop the run. While Scott occupied blockers so that Harris could tackle the runner or blitz, Davis’s role will really be determined by how much of the old Harris we will see. If Harris is back to his old self, Davis will be helping him out; if Davis bests Harris in athleticism, Davis will be the one that makes the tackle as Harris helps him out.