New York Jets Free Agency – Sione Pouha Cut, What’s Next?

The New York Jets released defensive tackle Sione Pouha, what’s next?

The New York Jets released Defensive Tackle Sione Pouha today, in a move that should surprise nobody. He is over 30 years old, has back issues and the Jets spent a 3rd round pick on his long term replacement in 2011, Kenrick Ellis. When healthy last season, Ellis was playing very well and should help fill the void left by Pouha, along with Mike DeVito who the team is making a strong push to bring back. Damon Harrison will also see a bigger role in the defensive line rotation.  Pouha’s release frees up nearly 4 million dollars in cap space, giving the Jets some needed financial flexibility in the coming months.  Continue reading “New York Jets Free Agency – Sione Pouha Cut, What’s Next?”

New York Jets Defensive Film Breakdown: Week 2

Chris Gross breaks down the defensive game film from the Jets week 2 match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers

If you missed our first edition of the New York Jets Defensive Film Breakdown, a season long series devoted to evaluating the play of everyone on the defense, with a focus on the defensive line, you can check that out here. For this week, we will look at what was a rather abysmal performance from a Revis-less New York Jets defense that allowed 27 points in Pittsburgh. While the run defense was much improved from week 1, allowing only 66 total yards on the ground to a stable of less than average Steelers backs, there is still much to improve on that would make this unit far more productive. As for the secondary, obviously losing the best defensive player in football is critical. However, that is not an excuse for the poor play of both Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson. All will be touched on throughout this piece, but for now, let’s start with this column’s priority, the defensive line.

Muhammad Wilkerson – Wilkerson remains very hot and cold in his play. On some plays, he looks to be the best run stopper this defense has had in years. He is extremely fast off the ball, while his reaction time is second to none. This past week, there were numerous plays where Wilkerson clearly got a pre-snap read on the offensive lineman lined up over him, as he seemingly knew exactly what block was coming at him on that particular play, whether it was a double team, down block, drive block, pull, or pass set. On one specific play, with Wilkerson lined up as the three technique over the guard, he read the pull, got in the guard’s hip pocket, screamed down the line, and made the tackle three yards in the backfield. Textbook technique and reaction time by the second year pro out of Temple.

Wilkerson also flashes tremendous awareness at times. With 5:58 seconds to go in the first half this past Sunday, Wilkerson altered his pass rush lane after he noticed Calvin Pace jump inside of him. Rather than continuing to work upfield on the inside of the tackle, Wilkerson kept his outside arm and shoulder free, while maintaining leverage with his inside arm. This prevented Roethlisberger from being able to scramble out of the pocket, where he had would have had room to run for an easy first down. Unfortunately, this play resulted in a first down completion, but only because Pace once again struggled to close the gap on the Quarterback. An outside linebacker with any type of relative game speed would have come up with a sack in the pocket, which would have been a direct result of Wilkerson’s heads up play.

While Wilkerson certainly did a lot of good, as demonstrated by the praise above, he still has miles to go before he can be considered elite, particularly in the run game. Similar to week one, Wilkerson once again displayed a poor habit of peeking his head into another gap, causing a massive running lane to open. This past Sunday, these instances led to medium gains of 10-12 yards, but against a back like Reggie Bush, who the Jets will see this upcoming week in Miami, mistakes like this will surely lead to big gains, and possibly touchdowns, as displayed by the long runs of CJ Spiller in week 1.

As you can see below, Wilkerson begins this particular play in the opening quarter in excellent position. He maintains good leverage on the left tackle, while controlling his gap, ready to make a play if the ball comes to him, with Bart Scott sitting behind him, reading which gap the back will choose.

If Wilkerson stays home, Redman would be forced to run to the inside of the tackle. Bart Scott, reading the back, is patiently waiting to see which direction he will choose, ready to react and stop the play from either side.

However, as displayed below, once Redman steps to the inside, Wilkerson cheats and peeks his head that way, placing himself and Scott in the same gap, while leaving his unattended, resulting in a massive lane being opened, and a 13 yard gain, one that would have been much greater if facing a back with home run speed.

What should have been a gain of 1-2 yards, results in a gain of 13 and a Pittsburgh 1st down. Wilkerson cannot continue to make mistakes like this, particularly this week when facing Miami and Reggie Bush, who would have likely turned this play into a touchdown.

Marcus Dixon – Unfortunately, Wilkerson is not the only defensive lineman to practice this poor habit. Marcus Dixon was also very guilty of making the exact same mistake on Pittsburgh’s first touchdown drive. In the second quarter, with the ball at the Jets’ 13 yard line, the Jets had the opportunity to hold Pittsburgh to a field goal by stopping them in the red zone, heading into the half. However, on 1st and 10, the Steelers ran for a seven yard gain, setting up a nice 2nd and 3 from the six yard line, eventually leading to the Heath Miller touchdown. How did this happen? Take a look.

Here, just about everyone in the front seven, other than Dixon, is maintaining perfect gap leverage. However, Dixon is clearly struggling to maintain his ground. Instead of continuing to fight to his outside and hold his gap, he takes the easy route by ducking inside, in an attempt to get a cheap tackle. This opens up yet another massive running lane, leading to the seven yard gain that led to a Pittsburgh touchdown.

The closest person to making the play here is Yeremiah Bell, who, at this point, is about 12-13 yards away from the ball carrier.

Dixon remained very unimpressive in this contest. He more often then not gets knocked off the line of scrimmage, causing problems for the linebackers and creating large running lanes. Dixon has been caught out of position numerous times in the first two games, something that, if not fixed, will certainly begin to cost him playing time.

Kenrick Ellis – To me, Ellis was the most impressive defensive lineman on the field this past Sunday. He plays with unbelievable leverage, something that, when combined with his fantastic size and strength, makes him virtually immovable. Ellis proved to be technically sound, explosive, quick, and relentless. Expect him to begin to see more and more playing time as the season unfolds. A solid two man rotation at the nose tackle position could be a very dangerous weapon for this defense.

Garrett McIntyre – McIntyre, the man of the hour, delivering two sacks and a tackle for loss in his debut as a starter, certainly surprised a lot of people by his performance in Pittsburgh this past Sunday. However, take caution when anointing him the next leader of the New York Sack Exchange. Yes, McIntyre played very hard, and was certainly thrown to the wolves by having to face a Ben Roethlisberger led offense in his very first career start, but when observing the film, McIntyre hardly did anything spectacular.

His first sack was a direct result of a well designed, well timed line stunt. The Jets ran a loop with Quinton Coples, who was lined up on the interior of the defensive line. What this means is that Coples drove up field extremely hard for two steps, fooling the offensive line into thinking he was taking his normal pass rush lane, just before he bailed out to loop around to the end of the line to occupy the outside rush line. Meanwhile, McIntyre was sent like a bullet direct inside at Steelers Center Mike Pouncey, who never saw him coming as he was paying attention solely to Coples on the play. As a result, McIntyre ran Pouncey over from his blind side, and had a clear shot at Roethlisberger in the pocket. While McIntyre certainly deserves credit for coming in so aggressively, this sack was a direct result of Rex Ryan’s defensive genius and the respect commanded by Coples. Still, a sack nonetheless.

On McIntyre’s tackle for loss in the second half, he came off the edge completely unblocked and made the tackle on the back about 2-3 yards behind the line of scrimmage. To his credit, he made the offense pay for not accounting for him. However, it is not very difficult to make plays when not a single person lays a finger on you.

McIntyre’s second sack was his most impressive play of the game. He came upfield very hard on the left tackle, gaining leverage on the edge, and split the attempted chip by the back, taking him right to Roethlisberger for the takedown.

As far as coverage goes, McIntyre is a complete liability. On more than one occasion, he can be found running around in coverage like a chicken with his head cut off. He even warranted an unpleasant reaction from Kyle Wilson on one play early in the first quarter.

Based on his performance, McIntyre should not be a full time starter, however, his effort level lead to the majority of his execution. That alone, should continue to earn him some limited reps, with the hope that he continues to grow and develop into a decent contributor.

Quinton Coples – It remains a mystery as to why Coples is seeing such limited action. For a team that clearly has pass rush issues, one would think that this team would be eager to get one of their most athletic players in the game to get after the Quarterback. In this particular contest, Coples saw a fair amount of his reps on the interior, where he was a clear mismatch to the center and guards due to his superior athleticism. In order to establish a respectable pass rush, New York needs to get their first round selection on the field more.

Calvin Pace – Pace continues to be the most technically sound, disciplined player on the Jets defensive line. The veteran OLB/DE plays very, very tough, and is arguably the most consistent player the Jets have up front. However, his problem remains the same, and was displayed yet again this past week in Pittsburgh, in that he is just a step too slow at this point in his career. With his form and tenacity, if Pace had the speed and explosiveness of a 25 year old, there is a good chance he would be playing in a pro bowl due to how well he fits within the Jets’ defensive scheme. Expect him to remain solid, but not extraordinary, for the remainder of the season.

Mike DeVito – DeVito remains as one of the best run stoppers on this team, and arguably in the entire division. Time and time again this past week DeVito displayed that, although he will never jump off the stat sheet at anyone, he rarely gets caught out of position, or beaten by his opponent. He is certainly a fundamental piece up front, and his presence is surely missed when he is spelled by Marcus Dixon.

Sione Pouha – Pouha looked decent in his first start back from injury. He was very solid, as he has been in the past. He remains very strong as the anchor for the Jets in the middle of the defensive line, and his experience and knowledge of the game is very noticeable on film.  He commanded several double teams, which is certainly something to be said about a player who has been troubled by back issues. Pouha and Ellis together should give everyone else on this defensive line the ability to become playmakers due to the large amount of double teams they both command.

Aaron Maybin – Maybin was virtually non-existent yet again. He continues to show poor body control, as he repeatedly will fly upfield with no regard for where the pocket or Quarterback is. It seems as if the league may be catching onto his tactics, as the tackles in Pittsburgh, like Buffalo, used his own momentum to ride him past the Quarterback on his pass rushes. Maybin needs to display an expanded arsenal of pass rush moves and a much greater sense of awareness if he plans on building on his fairly strong 2011.

The Linebackers – David Harris was extremely solid, and remains a fundamental cornerstone of this defense. What really jumped off the tape was the athleticism and explosiveness displayed by Bart Scott. Scott was extremely impressive last week, particularly against the run. He is so fast in his reads and reaction time that his first two steps make up for whatever straight ahead speed he may have lost at this point in his career. He undoubtedly looks to be back to the Bart Scott of old.

The Secondary – The play of the Safeties was generally average and similar to week 1. Both Bell and Landry remain solid against the run, while both are still seemingly trying to get comfortable in coverage. Each of them were caught trailing the Tight Ends a few times, and Landry even came up with a couple of personal fouls.

Bell seems to play much more poised than Landry, who find himself out of control at times. He had more than one clear shot at Roethlishberger for a sack, on well designed blitzes, however, like Maybin, he came in so fast and uncontrollable, that Roethlisberger was able to easily avoid him in the pocket.

The Cornerbacks obviously took a serious hit this week, losing Darrelle Revis to injury. However, that is no excuse for how Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson played.

Cromartie in particular, displayed no ability to finish a play. Numerous times, he started out great in coverage, but would lose the receiver he was matched up on by the end of the play, as displayed by the Mike Wallace touchdown. It is quite embarrassing that an inability to finish is a critique of a veteran like Cromartie. He is much better than how he played this past Sunday, and must start playing to his potential for this defense to succeed.

Kyle Wilson, on the other hand, was no match for Antonio Brown. The Steelers went after Wilson, and rightfully so, as they knew Brown held the clear advantage in the match up. To me, Wilson is seemingly a much better zone coverage corner, than he is man coverage corner. Perhaps it is a confidence issue because one would think a former first round selection would be able to match up, athletically, with someone like Brown, a former sixth round pick.

So, the obvious question that remains from Sunday is the same one that has been prevalent since Rex Ryan took over in New York – Where was the four man pass rush? Once again, the Jets relied on scheme to get pressure on the Quarterback. Well, at least for this week, the Jets’ four man rush was schemed against to perfection by Pittsburgh. The Steelers knew that Garret McIntyre would be seeing the majority of reps filling in for Bryan Thomas, and drew their protection around this perfectly.

Most of the time, when the Jets rushed four, Pittsburgh kept an tight end or back in to help in pass pro. This resulted in the following:

By leaving in an extra blocker, Pittsburgh allowed themselves to set up two mismatches. At the right of the screen, you can see a 3 on 2 matchup with a guard, tackle, and tight end on Ellis and Wilkerson. In the middle, the center and right guard are assigned to doubling DeVito, leaving the right tackle on an island with Garrett McIntyre, a matchup they were willing to take all day. While McIntyre finished with two sacks, only one came on a straight four man rush. Pittsburgh was smart to play these odds, as they clearly paid off, displayed by the Jets lack of pass rush with a four man front.

There is certainly much to be excited about when it comes to the Jets defense. It is still extremely early in the season, and most of the issues discussed above should be ironed out as the year progresses. However, make no mistake, this defense is far from dominant. The potential is there, but there is an abundance of things that need to be worked on before reaching it.

TOJ’s Top 50 New York Jets Countdown: 1-9

Turn On The Jets counts down the top 50 New York Jets currently on the roster, finishing today with the top 9 players on the team

Frustrated and confused after seeing the NFL’s Top 100 player list? TOJ was as well. Due to that, we have decided to rank the current New York Jets on the roster from 50 all the way down to 1. Along the way, we will be classifying the players into the following five categories:

  • Bottom of the Roster (strictly a depth and developmental player)
  • Middle Class (Situational player, spot starter)
  • Quality Starter (Capable starting player or very good role player)
  • Red Chip (Swiping this term from Michael Lombardi, an above average stater/borderline Pro-Bowler)
  • Blue Chip (Another swipe from Lombardi, an elite player at his position)

READ NUMBERS 40-50 HERE

READ NUMBERS 30-40 HERE

READ NUMBERS 20-30 HERE

READ NUMBERS 10-20 HERE

(STILL IN QUALITY STARTER CATEGORY)

9. Dustin Keller, Tight End – Keller has played great for stretches of time and put together a few monster games here or there but has never consistently played at a Pro-Bowl level for an entire season. He is coming off his best statistical season with 65 receptions, 815 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2011. The hope is that with Tony Sparano calling the plays, Keller will get the chance to stretch the field a little more and not have stretches where he seems to be forgotten in the game plan.

RED CHIP

8. Antonio Cromartie, Cornerback – Cromartie catches flak from fans at times for giving up big plays and not creating enough on his own. Yet few players in the NFL could stand up to the number of targets he faces opposite Darrelle Revis. Cromartie remains a very good corner, capable of manning up most receivers in the league which is essential in Rex Ryan’s defense.

7. Brandon Moore, Guard – One of the most underrated guards in the NFL, Moore has played at a Pro-Bowl level the past few seasons and is a key part to paving the way for the Jets running game. He is one of the most respected players in the locker room and a leader on the offensive side of the football.

6. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Tackle – Despite coming off a disappointing season, Ferguson is one of the top left tackles in football. Considering his level of play since being drafted in 2006, it is hard not to expect him to come back strong in 2012.

5. Santonio Holmes, Wide Receiver – The biggest playmaker on the Jets offense and a receiver capable of taking over games. Holmes looked the part of a number one receiver in 2010 but struggled last season without a viable threat opposite of him. Hopefully with Stephen Hill’s speed and a further developed Jeremy Kerley, Holmes will see more favorable match-ups and go back to creating the big plays we expect of him.

BLUE CHIP

4. Sione Pouha, Defensive Tackle – Has worked his way into being one of the best run stopping defensive tackles in football. Pouha is an essential piece of the Jets 3-4 and is versatile and athletic enough to play in a 4 man front as well. Arguably the best move the Jets made this off-season was signing him to a contract extension. Along with Brandon Moore, Pouha is one of the players on the team who actually deserves a “C” on their chest for his leadership abilities.

3. David Harris, Linebacker – A tackling machine and one of the best inside linebackers in football. It is crime that he hasn’t been a perennial Pro-Bowler and has only made the All-Pro team once (2nd team in 2009). He isn’t a flashy player but is more important to the Jets defense than any player not named Revis.

2. Nick Mangold, Center – A laughable joke that he wasn’t named to the NFL’s Top 100 player list. Mangold is the best center in the NFL and has been All-Pro the past three seasons. The Jets badly missed him in 2011 when he missed a handful of games due to injury. He is the leader of the offensive line and the anchor for the Jets rushing attack.

1. Darrelle Revis, Cornerback – The best corner in the NFL and arguably the best defensive player in the NFL. Outside of a handful of quarterbacks, there is nobody in the league who dominates their competition more thoroughly than Revis does on a week to week basis. Simply put, a beast and a guy well on his way to being a first ballot Hall of Famer.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Defensive Line Edition

This week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False. Chris Gross on what to expect from a revamped Defensive Line this season.

The New York Jets defensive line is poised to have a completely new look this season. With a new coach in Karl Dunbar, the addition of first round pick Quinton Coples, and New York’s intention to use more 4 man fronts this season, here’s a look at what we should and should not expect from the Jets’ D-Line this year in this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False.

1.) Quinton Coples will be Vernon Gholston 2.0. False. The comparisons that have been drawn between Coples and former Jets’ first round bust Vernon Gholston are completely unwarranted. Work ethic, passion, talent, size, speed, and all intangibles could be taken into account to realize that Coples is the superior player, however the key factor that will keep Coples from turning into Big Vern is that he is being brought to New York to play in his natural position as a defensive lineman.

When the Jets drafted Gholston, he was expected to make the conversion from defensive end to outside linebacker in the Jets 3-4 scheme. This transition proves to be extremely difficult for players year in and year out. Many of them fail to successfully make that transition simply because, as a linebacker, the cerebral reaction time can only be attained by few. For defensive lineman, reaction time and play is based primarily on physicality. Defensive linemen rely on their technique and instinct more so than their ability to read opposing offenses and make decisions on the fly. Of course, there is still a cerebral part of the game for defensive lineman in terms of reading the stances of the opposing offensive lineman, their splits, alignment, and where on the field the tight ends and backs are, but it is nowhere near as complicated and dense as it is for a linebacker.

While Rex Ryan has acknowledged the fact that Coples is athletic enough to play that outside linebacker position, he made it clear he is coming to New York to play with his hand on the ground. This is one of the smartest statements Rex has made since becoming the head coach of the Jets. Coples is a natural talent for the position, and has the size (6’6” 280 lbs) to be extremely versatile along the Jets several defensive fronts this season. There is no need to fix what isn’t broken. Coples will prove to be light years ahead of where Vernon Gholston ever was, starting in week one (Remember, all it will take is a single sack).

2.) Outside of Tony Sparano, the addition of Karl Dunbar will prove to be the most significant of the offseason. Fact. Many people forget that for the past two seasons, the Jets have had a secondary coach coaching the defensive line. While Mark Carrier certainly had a solid work ethic, and likely brought everything he had to his job every day, like a player playing out of position, it is extremely difficult for a coach to adapt to an area outside his realm of expertise, particularly in the NFL. Prior to coming to the Jets, Carrier played in the NFL as a Safety from 1990-2000 for Chicago, Detroit, and Washington, respectively. As a coach, Carrier served as the defensive backs coach at Arizona State for two seasons before joining the Baltimore Ravens as the team’s secondary coach from 2006-2009, just prior to joining the Jets, where he was seemingly given an opening on the staff as the Defensive Line Coach, a position in which he had no previous experience. This is a huge reason for New York’s pass rushing woes over the past two years.

Enter Karl Dunbar. As a player, Dunbar was a second-team All-SEC defensive tackle during his career at LSU, before bouncing around the NFL and other various professional football leagues during the early 90s. Following his playing career, Dunbar came onto the coaching scene in 1998 and, besides two seasons as the strength and conditioning coach at LSU, has coached only Defensive Line throughout his entire career.

Dunbar joins the Jets after six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. During his time in Minnesota, Dunbar orchestrated one of the best d-lines in all of football. Last season, Minnesota led the NFL with 50 total sacks, including a Vikings single season record 22 out of NFC Defensive Player of the year Jared Allen. In fact, since coming under the tutelage of Dunbar, Allen hasn’t had a season with fewer than double-digit sacks, while leading the NFL in the category twice (2007, 2011).

In Dunbar’s six seasons in Minnesota, the Vikings ranked in the top 10 in sacks four different times. In three of those seasons, Minnesota ranked in the top four in the category, two of which led the league. Conversely, Minnesota ranked first in rush defense during Dunbar’s first three seasons, second in his fourth, and in the top eleven during in his final two.

The acquisition of Dunbar is going to pay dividends for the Jets early and often. In Minnesota, Dunbar produced 3 Pro-Bowlers, including Allen, the three time All-Pro Defensive End. Considering he worked with only 4 starters, 75% of his starting line earned trips to the Pro Bowl. Dunbar will undoubtedly be able to maximize the talents of players like Coples, Mohammed Wilkerson, Aaron Maybin, and Sione Pouha. Expect the Jets defensive line to have a completely different look under Dunbar this season.

3.) Quinton Coples will be used solely as a Defensive End. False. Don’t be confused by this. Coples will be used primarily as, but not limited to, a Defensive End, and will see time elsewhere. The common assumption would be to think outside linebacker, however, as previously stated, Coples is coming to New York to play with his hand on the ground. Expect to see several formations that slide Coples to the inside in a defensive tackle role, especially during passing situations.

As a junior at North Carolina, Coples was forced to play defensive tackle for the majority of the season due to the immense amount of players the program lost due to suspension. During his time there, Coples recorded 10 sacks, an astonishing number for an interior defensive lineman. He certainly has the size to compete on the inside, and his speed will give him a superior advantage against guards and centers.

Coples has the potential to turn into what Justin Tuck was early in his career for the Giants, seamlessly switching from the outside and inside on the defensive line, while being able to defend the run and rush the passer from either position. On passing downs, the Jets will likely replicate what so many teams around the league are doing these days by placing their best pass rushers in the game, regardless of their roster position. Don’t be surprised to see Coples and Pouha line up on the interior with Wilkerson and Maybin lining up at end in a variety of passing situations this year.

4.) The Jets will be in a four man front for the majority of their defensive snaps in 2012. Fact. This could very well be 51% to 49%, but don’t be surprised if it is even greater. The Jets know the strength of their team lies in the secondary and in their defensive line depth. While the line backing corps is promising, outside of David Harris there are still some question marks. Bart Scott has reportedly dropped weight and looks rejuvenated in comparison to his play last season. DeMario Davis is turning heads at OTAs, and should eventually prove to be an excellent piece of this defense, but the Jets are wise enough not to depend on the rookie out of Arkansas State too much in his first year. Maybin should have a very promising season, but like Davis, needs to show consistency before the team can lean on him as a pillar of the defense. Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace are nearing the back end of their careers, and each need to have bounce back years after a disappointing 2011.

In order for the Jets to be successful on defense this season, they need to have their best 11 players on the field for the majority of plays. This includes their defensive line, and their secondary. Although the safety position was a bit of a hole last year, the Jets have certainly addressed the need this off-season by adding LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell in free agency, while drafting the young and talented duo of Josh Bush and Antonio Allen. New York also has arguably the best cornerback trio in all of football in Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and the up and coming Kyle WIlson.

WIth the addition of Quinton Coples via the draft, the Jets now have one of the most youthful, talented defensive lines in the league. The key for their success will be how they mold together. Mohammed Wilkerson is poised for a breakout season after a very impressive rookie campaign. Then, of course, there is Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha who are the heart and soul of this unit. You won’t see too many flashy numbers from either of these two, but their presence alone, presumably both at defensive tackle in a four man front, will not only help with the development of the young guys, but will command respect from opposing offensive lines across the league. Marcus Dixon and Kenrick Ellis should be able to provide some quality depth as well. This could be a very dangerous group as they develop together throughout training camp and into the season.

5.) Mike DeVito will be far less significant this season than he has been in the past. False. The notion that DeVito is slowly going to ride off into the sunset due to the addition of Coples may hold some truth down the road. However, for this season, that assumption could not be farther from the truth. We already know the Jets’ plan to use more four-man fronts this year, and a big part of that is because of DeVito. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and Rex Ryan realize what DeVito brings as a competitor, player, and leader, and have openly acknowledge the importance of getting him on the field.

Outside of his play, DeVito will play a key role in rebuilding the Jets fractured locker room. While this is certainly already in progress, as displayed by the new attitude we have seen from the team thus far, DeVito is at the point in his career in New York where he is respected as an unquestioned leader of this team. DeVito is one of the hardest working, most blue collared players on the entire roster. His influence over the young guys, particularly on the defensive line, will go miles in terms of their development. Coples, Wilkerson, and Ellis are fortunate to be in an environment with a player like DeVito.

6.) At least one player on the Jets defensive line will get double digit sacks this season. Fact. This is an extremely bold prediction considering the fact that the Jets have not had a single player record double digit sacks since John Abraham notched 10.5 in 2005, a six-year drought. However, the Jets have some serious under the radar talent when it comes to pass rushers. Aaron Maybin, who will likely fluctuate between linebacker and defensive end this year, led the Jets with six sacks last season after missing the first four games. With a full season ahead of him, combined with a complete off-season with the team, and the fact that he has added over 10 lbs since the end of last year, Maybin could turn into a significant force in the Jets pass rush.

Aside from Maybin, Muhammed Wilkerson is due for a big year after his impressive rookie campaign in which he started from day one and recorded 3 sacks. Quinton Coples’ talent level alone will give him the potential to achieve this accomplishment in each year of his career, however he will be asked to live up to that potential and rise to the occasion very early for Gang Green. How he handles this will ultimately be the key to his success, and should determine his degree of achievement.

Each of these young men should benefit greatly from the new scheme, as well as the addition of Dunbar. There is far too much talent and potential on this unit for someone to not reach the double-digit mark in sacks. Adding the expert that is Dunbar will surely maximize that potential, and ultimately allow a player to reach this feat.

A Closer Look At The New York Jets 46 Defense

A closer look at what roles individual players will play in the New York Jets 46 defense

This video on NFL.com provided an encouraging look at the New York Jets 46 defense, which has repeatedly been talked up by the coaching staff as a major part of their scheme for 2012. The decision to hire Karl Dunbar and draft Quinton Coples only reinforces that. We already discussed the 4-3 looks the Jets could use this season, so let’s take a closer look at how their personnel could be deployed in the 46:

NT – Sione Pouha is going to receive the lion share of the reps here. Ideally, Kenrick Ellis could provide quality reps off the bench this season but he is far from a proven commodity. The Jets also still have Martin Tevaseau behind Pouha, who does have some experience. Finally, Mike DeVito does have the ability to slide into this spot if there was an emergency.

DT – Surrounding Pouha up front, the Jets will likely have Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples starting out, with DeVito and Marcus Dixon rotating in off the bench. Obviously, Coples is a better option on passing downs and DeVito is a better presence against the run at this stage of their careers.

DE – Calvin Pace could see the majority of reps here because of his ability to set the edge and occasionally get after the passer. He also has a good amount of experience with his hand in the dirt. Aaron Maybin could also line up here on passing downs, where he could utilize his speed.

LB (On Line) – The LBs you see diagrammed lined up alongside the defensive line will likely be Bart Scott in the interior and Bryan Thomas on the outside as starters. Scott can utilize his run stopping ability here and Thomas has proven he can set the edge against the running game. However, Demario Davis should replace either Thomas or Scott in passing situations, where the Jets could use him to either cover the tight end or get after the quarterback. Finally, the Jets could also line up one of their many strong safeties on the edge occasionally, whether it is LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, or Eric Smith.

LB (Off Line) – Lined up alongside the strong safety, David Harris will be the primary player in this spot. He will have the ability to roam free and do what he does better than anybody on the defense, make tackles. In certain passing situations, I could see the Jets putting Yeremiah Bell or Eric Smith in this spot, alongside LaRon Landry at strong safety.

SS – LaRon Landry’s skill set fits best to this position. However, we could also see him and Bell be interchangeable in this spot, along with E. Smith occasionally seeing reps there, particularly if the Jets line up Landry up on the line in certain situations.

CB – Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie get the opportunity to take advantage of their man to man skills in this scheme. Could the Jets deploy a formation where Cromartie drops to FS and Kyle Wilson comes in at corner? I wouldn’t put it past Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine.

FS – The Jets lack a proven one on their roster. You could see Bell or E. Smith getting reps here, along with rookie Josh Bush or maybe even Cromartie as previously mentioned. Ideally, Bush picks up the defense quickly and becomes a capable centerfielder because he has the best skill set for this spot.

There is plenty of versatility with this formation. For example, the Jets could opt to take advantage of their collection of strong safeties by putting Landry on the line as the outside LB, putting Bell at the off the line LB and having E. Smith as the strong safety. Demario Davis has the speed to set the edge on either side or line up as the off the line LB in passing situations. Calvin Pace can play on either side of the formation, with his hand in the dirt or standing upright.

What is nice about the 46 and the Jets personnel is the ability to mix and match the player’s positions, which is something Rex Ryan loves to do and will keep offenses on their toes.

New York Jets Sign Sione Pouha To 3 Year Deal

The New York Jets have resigned starting nose tackle Sione Pouha to a 3 year deal

The New York Jets started out this week of free agency madness with a strong move, by bringing back starting nose tackle Sione Pouha on a 3 year deal. We will post the financials as soon as they are released. This was a long expected move and something the team had to get done.

Pro Football Focus had ranked Pouha as the top nose tackle in football last year, regardless of a 4-3 or a 3-4. He is a huge part of the Jets defense and a major reason they have been so stout against the run since Rex Ryan has taken over. Pouha is also one the leaders in a locker room desperate for them. He was a captain last year, who actually earned the “C” on his chest. Prior to last season he gathered all the team’s young defensive lineman together for workouts and continued to mentor them through the year, leading to the position being one of the most productive for the Jets.

Pouha is 33 years old but has only played 7 years. He was drafted as a 26 year old. Pouha became a full time player over the past three years and last season racked up 58 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries.

A good start to free agency for Mike Tannenbaum and the New York Jets.

UPDATE: The Daily News is reporting Pouha’s deal as 3 years for 15 million, with 9.5 million guaranteed.

New York Jets: One Obvious Move This Off-Season

The New York Jets have one obvious move to make this off-season

The New York Jets don’t have many of their own free agents to be worried about this off-season. It would be nice to bring Robert Turner back for offensive line depth, along with Jim Leonhard and Bryan Thomas on veteran minimum deals to provide insurance on defense. However, there is one move that Mike Tannenbaum absolutely needs to take care of and that is bringing Sione Pouha back.

I am aware the Jets don’t have excessive cap space but Tannenbaum needs to do some of that cap maneuvering he is so well known for to keep the Jets nose tackle. Rex Ryan’s defense needs a run stopper in the middle and Pouha has been the perfect fit the past few years. Kenrick Ellis showed last year that he is far from ready to be an every down player and Pouha, despite being 33, should still have 3-4 very good seasons left in him considering he has only been a full time player the past three years of his seven year career.

More importantly, Pouha is one of the few leaders left in the Jets locker room. He is a player who actually deserved the “C” on his chest last year. In the lockout extended off-season, he took the entire defensive line under his wing for workouts and helped guide them to a surprisingly productive year despite largely being a young and unproven group.

The Jets cannot keep letting leaders…and productive leaders at that, walk from their team. Pouha must be brought back in 2012 if this team is going to take steps towards improving their fractured locker room and 8-8 record.

Thoughts On New York Jets 2011-2012 Captains

Rex Ryan has recently named the five Jets captains for the 2011-2012 season, he came to the decision on his own as it wasn’t based on a team vote, which is a more traditional method of selecting them. Here a few quick thoughts on the five:

Darrelle Revis – This was no surprise as Rex Ryan had mentioned making Revis a captain of the defense over the off-season. He is the unit’s and the team’s best player and has done a terrific job mentoring second year player Kyle Wilson. Revis is obviously the kind of player the Jets want to keep around for the long haul, so it makes sense entrenching him as a captain. He is one of the faces of the franchise and of course has one of the better nicknames in team history.

Mark Sanchez – Another no brainer, as Sanchez has truly embraced a leadership role and taken over the offense in the past year. One of the main reasons the Jets moved up to get him in the first round a few years ago was because of that leadership and “it” factor, which he has demonstrated throughout his brief career. His continued improvement this year will go a long way to determine if the Jets can get over the hump and finally reach a Super Bowl.

Eric Smith – Considering the team needed a special teams captain, this makes plenty of sense. Without Brad Smith around, Eric Smith is clearly the team’s top all around special teams player, although as a starting safety you have to wonder if the team is going to stretch him thin by having him on too many units. There is going to be a high amount of turnover on all of the units this year, so having Smith as a strong leader will only help Mike Westhoff breaking in new players to new roles.

Sione Pouha – Considering how young the defensive line has quickly become, Pouha has emerged as a vocal leader of the group and took the initiative to put together off-season workouts for the unit. The Jets need Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis to grow up quickly, and Pouha will go a long way to helping that process. It has been nice to see how far Pouha has came in the past few years. He was terrific filling in for Kris Jenkins in 2009 and 2010, and has developed into one of the better nose tackles in the league.

Santonio Holmes – Maybe the most surprising decision, as Holmes is only entering his second season as a Jet and has a history of off the field problems. Yet, considering how much they just invested on him for a long term deal and how he is one strike away from a season long suspension this is a smart move to show how much the organization values and expects out of him. He is now the leader of the receiver group and needs to develop into Mark Sanchez’s security blanket, on top of being a big play threat.

Ryan could have easily picked David Harris and Nick Mangold over Pouha and Holmes, yet linebacker and offensive line are solid, veteran positions on the Jets roster. The defensive line and wide receiving group are areas that need leadership and clearly Ryan thinks Pouha and Holmes can provide that.

TOJ Top Five: Most Underrated Jets

We continue our TOJ top five series today, with a look at the five most underrated players on the Jets roster

Previous TOJ Top Fives

5. Matt Slauson – He stepped in for future Hall of Famer Alan Faneca at left guard last year and turned in an admirable performance. There were early season struggles, which were to be expected from a second year 6th round pick who had no experience his rookie year but he got much more steady as the season went on. The Jets running game was still one of the league’s best and Jets quarterbacks were sacked two times less in 2010 than they were in 2009. For at least the next few years, it looks like Slauson will be the answer at left guard.

4. Mike DeVito – Similar to Slauson, moved into the starting line-up last season and didn’t allow the Jets to miss a beat at his respective position. DeVito took over at defensive end, where he is solid against the run and fits well into Rex Ryan’s scheme. In 2010, he finished with 59 tackles, 4 tackles for a loss, and 2 forced fumbles.

3. Bryan Thomas – Every year there is talk about the need to replace him but every year he maintains his starting position and produces. Thomas led the Jets in sacks last season with 6 and figures to spend another season as a starter at outside linebacker, doing many of the little things that are necessary for the Jets defense to succeed.

2. Sione Pouha – Nose tackle is a crucial position in Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense and the past two years Pouha has stepped in for an injured Kris Jenkins without the Jets missing a beat. After a surprisingly productive 2009 season, Pouha got even better last year and finished with 59 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 fumbles recovered. He also isn’t too shabby with a camera in his hand:

1. Brandon Moore – One of the top guards in the NFL who is frequently overshadowed by Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Moore has been a model of consistency on the Jets offensive line by starting 105 straight regular season games for the team at right guard. He has been a huge part of the team’s success running the ball in recent years and hopefully will receive Pro Bowl recognition at some point.

An Inside Look At Jets Camp Lockout

Enjoy the third episode of Sione Pouha’s “Life of a Lockout” series with an inside look at Jets Camp Lockout:

  • Good to hear that Mark Sanchez thinks Kyle Wilson was the most impressive player on the field.
  • Mike DeVito has some serious moves in touch football.
  • How good is your Bart Scott impression? Check out the his new contest…

Also check out some footage from Jerricho Cotchery’s recent surprise birthday party