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.