New York Jets Defensive Line: Nucleus In The Making

Chris Gross with a look at the Jets building a defensive foundation on the defensive front.

Over the past few weeks, there has been a great amount of discussion about what type of scheme the Jets are moving toward on the defensive side of the ball. First, the Sheldon Richardson selection fueled speculation that the team was working toward moving to more of a 4-3 base look as opposed to the 3-4 base defense that Rex Ryan has been so successful with throughout his coaching career in the NFL. These ideas were partially debunked last week when the Jets announced that second year defensive end Quinton Coples would be making a positional change to outside linebacker, the thought process being if New York was, in fact, moving to a base 4-3 front, they would not be moving Coples from what seems to be his natural position to a position he has much less experience at for the sake of the scheme.

So what is New York planning to do on defense for 2013 and beyond? The answer, which may be surprising to some, is nothing too different from what they have done since the arrival of Ryan in 2009. But why then, would the team use a first round selection on Richardson, who is at his best as a penetrating 3 technique, rather than selecting a player like Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, who spent nearly his entire productive collegiate career as a 3-4 pass rushing outside linebacker and who would seemingly be a better fit for such a scheme than a player like Richardson? The answer lies in what the Jets have done, and the vision that Ryan seems to have for his defense moving forward.

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New York Jets – An In-Depth Look At DT Antonio Garay

Despite not making any big splashes in the first week of free agency, New York Jets General Manager, John Idzik, has been seeking low cost, low risk veterans with versatility and potential upside. So far, Idzik has signed RB Mike Goodson, Guard Willie Colon, Defensive Tackle Antonio Garay, and most recently Outside Linebacker Antwan Barnes.

While Goodson, Colon, and Barnes each have a high chance of earning a starting job when the Jets meet in Cortland for training camp this summer, Garay will more likely be asked to serve as a backup in the defensive line rotation, with Quinton Coples, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Kenrick Ellis poised to be the starters on the defensive front.

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