TOJ Jets Roster Preview – Louisville Slugger, A-Boi, The Veteran

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So far we have broken down the defensive tackles and inside linebackers for our New York Jets 2014 roster preview. Today, we look at the safety position. What do you expect from the team’s safeties in 2014? Let us know below or over on Twitter

Calvin Pryor #25 – Rookie  We broke down Pryor both before and after the NFL Draft. Similar to Sheldon Richardson in 2013, Pryor is going to be a plug and play starter in the Jets defense right out of the gate. Is it ambitious to think Pryor could give the Jets a chance to have the Defensive Rookie of the Year in back to back seasons? Probably. However, Rex Ryan is likely salivating at having a player with Pryor’s physicality and athleticism to utilize at the safety position. There are going to be hiccups in coverage and likely some missed tackles thanks to overzealous angles of pursuit and aims to deliver a monster hit, yet Pryor’s long term potential in this defense is exciting. He should be one of the more entertaining rookies to watch this season and bring a needed new dimension to the Jets backend.

Antonio Allen #39 – 534 defensive snaps (49 percent) – 63 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 7 passes defensed, 1 touchdown, 1 blocked punt, 1 special teams touchdown  Take a moment and shake your head at that snap count total. Rex Ryan couldn’t help himself once Ed Reed was brought aboard. Instead of using Reed the way he should have, as situational player, he completely marginalized Allen’s role and made a Reed full time starter. Despite the unwarranted late season demotion, Allen still put together a highly encouraging sophomore season. He showed an ability to handle man coverage better than expected, showed a nose for the football/big plays and was solid in run support. Hopefully, it is Allen and Pryor who are receiving the bulk of the reps in two safety looks for the Jets in 2014.

 

Dawan Landry #26 – 1,081 defensive snaps (98 percent) – 100 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 7 passes defensed Landry had a workmanlike 2013 for the Jets defense, playing an impressive 98 percent of the snaps at a competent level. He is an average starter with limited range in the passing game but knows the defense and can usually get himself in the proper position, particularly in the run game. The Jets use a decent amount of three safety looks, which will keep Landry as an active part of the defense in 2014, although his role should be much smaller than it was in 2013. He provides good veteran depth behind the rookie Pryor and third player in Allen and knows the defense as well, if not better than any member of the secondary.

Jaiquawn Jarrett #37 – 277 defensive snaps (25 percent) – 25 tackles, 2 forced fumbles  Jarrett saw his playing time decline after the Reed signing. Prior to that, he was playing a few series per game and getting on the field in three safety looks. He is probably the de facto favorite for the 4th safety spot, in what should be a closely contested battle with Josh Bush and Rontez Miles. Jarrett will need to make a strong impression on new special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey. Like many players at this position, Jarrett has consistency issues in coverage. He has the reputation of a big hitter but still has limitations in run support.

Josh Bush #32 – 70 defensive snaps (6 percent) – 17 tackles, 1 forced fumble  A 2011 late round draft pick of the Jets, Bush was supposed to add a coverage element to the secondary and many thought last spring/summer he could start opposite of Landry. However, Allen beat him out and Bush remained relegated to being primarily a special teams player. A big chunk of his defensive snaps came in garbage time. Some remain intrigued by his potential but ultimately Bush hasn’t done much of anything since being drafted and could have a tough time making the 2014 roster.

Rontez Miles #45 – Second year UDFA We profiled Miles before last season right here. A bottom of the roster fan favorite, Miles spent most of last season on the practice squad and underwent offseason hip surgery. His college tape shows a physical player with intriguing measurables. It isn’t out of the question that he could push either Jarrett or Bush off the roster as the fourth safety or stick if the Jets keep five safeties. He needs to make a strong impression on special teams.

SAFETY SCALDING HOT 2014 TAKE -  Pryor has a good, not great rookie season and starts all 16 games. Allen builds on his sophomore year and plays 70-80% of the defensive snaps. Landry maintains a weekly role in three safety looks and certain personnel groups. Jarrett ends up being the fourth safety, while Miles bounces between the practice squad and active roster as a special teamer. Bush doesn’t make the team.

  • JetOrange

    The Jets usually go with 5 Safeties, but in 2014 it may only be 4, due ti the depth at CB with possibly 6 or even 7 CB’s making the 53. Michael O’Connor pointed out in a previous post, about the possibility of Brandon Hardin, Safety out of Oregon making the 53. Hardin was a third round pick of the Bears, was cut due to neck and shoulder injuries. Hardin played Safety and Press CB at Oregon is fast and is an impressive 6’3 217 pounds and a big hitter. Health is the issue, but Rex likes big Safeties. Consider, Ras -I Dowling as a cover Safety, great hands,outstanding speed. At 6’1 200, ideal for covering those hybrid TE’s, good tackler for a CB, below average as a Safety. A second round pick with the Patriots, had an injury history at Virginia Tech, that followed him to New England. The kid has got talent but health is the big question.Two guys to throw in the mix.

  • KAsh

    If I remember correctly, Miles got hurt last year in training camp, which caused him to miss portions of training camp and the preseason. Most people think he has a good chance to impress because he is talented but that injury kept him from showing what he can do last year. Bush was beat out so badly that Rex and Idzik went with two strong safeties, which resulted in a lot of passes flying over the defense’s heads, which led to the Ed Reed signing and his pairing with Landry, who was better than Allen in deep coverage. So, people are down on Bush, but the fundamental problem still remains: we only have Pryor, a rookie, to handle one of the most complicated, multifaceted positions in Rex Ryan’s defense to prevent a repeat of last year. I think there is a niche for Miles (or Bush) to step up and relieve Pryor if he cannot play nearly 100% of all snaps.

  • Dan in RI

    I was a bit surprised when I heard Pryor’s name called on Day 1 of the draft. Like everyone else, I bought the “WR or CB” buzz that showed up on almost everyone’s Mock Draft for the Jets. Once my shock settled down, I really liked the pick. Safety is a position that is really important in Rex’s defense, and we’d pretty much ignored the position since signing Jim Leonard right after Rex took over. Late round draft picks and older vets are not the way to develop a world-class backfield.

    If Pryor stays healthy, I have no doubt he will be a great addition to the defense. And if AA continues to develop, we should be very good at SS and FS. And Having Landry added into the mix is a real key; he may not be great, but he’s smart and experienced–two qualities we definitely need with such a young secondary.

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