With training camp only a few days away, Tyson Rauch looks at the Jets defense on The Jets Setter.com. Definitely check out the full article but here are Tyson’s top 5 questions for the Jets defense:
1) Can the Jets replace Revis? On the defensive side of the ball one of the biggest stories of the offseason was the Jets trading of Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The departure of Revis is significant as he was the team’s best player, but at the same time Darrelle missed 14 games in 2012 which forced the defense to adjust to playing without him. Antonio Cromartie will take over Revis’ “island” while a group of players including rookie Dee Milliner, Kyle Wilson, and Aaron Berry will compete for the second starting position. Surprisingly the Jets have a remarkable amount of depth at the cornerback position which has defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman stating that this is the best overall group he has had while with Gang Green. Keep an eye on Darrin Walls, Ellis Lankster, and Isaiah Trufant as they compete for reps in the nickel and dime formations.
2) Can Landry lead the safeties? This past offseason the Jets lost both starting safeties to free agency (Yeremiah Bell-Cardinals, LaRon Landry- Colts) which left a huge hole in the secondary. Gang Green signed veteran Dawan Landry and will look to several young players including Josh Bush, Antonio Allen, and Jaiquawn Jarrett to fight for playing time. Landry is familiar with Rex Ryan’s defense from his days in Baltimore so the bigger question surrounds the ability of the younger players. Rex Ryan is hoping that the athleticism and speed of guys like Bush and Allen will be an upgrade at the safety position.
3) How will the Jets revamped linebacker group perform? It was no secret that the Jets needed to make changes at the linebacker position as the unit struggled to consistently makes plays sideline to sideline. Demario Davis will replace Bart Scott while Antwan Barnes should provide a new explosive pass rushing dimension. Veterans Calvin Pace and David Harris remain in place with a group of young players including Ricky Sapp, Nick Bellore, Josh Mauga, and Garrett McIntyre competing for reps.
4) Will the Jets miss Po’uha and Devito? This past offseason the Jets decided to go in a new direction with the defensive tackle position as the team released Sione Po’uha and watched Mike Devito depart via free agency. Gang Green intends to replace the veterans with first round pick Sheldon Richardson along with Kenrick Ellis, Damon Harrison, and Antonio Garay. The belief amongst the Jets coaching staff is that this unit will be more explosive and athletic which should substantially improve the Jets pass rush and run defense. Arguments are already being made that this defensive tackle group along with Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples could make up one of Rex Ryan’s best defensive lines while with the Jets.
5) Will Quinton Coples take the next step in his second year? With the emergence of Muhammad Wilkerson the spotlight is now on second year player Quinton Coples to become a formidable pass rusher. Coples led the Jets with 5.5 sacks in 2012 and showed flashes of being a dominant player. Rex Ryan intends to move Quinton around on defense including to outside linebacker which could create some match-up problems for the opposing offense. If Coples can take his game to the next level this defense could be downright scarey.
Ron Pickett also took an in depth look at the New York Jets defense. These originally ran a little over a month ago but it is worth checking out these positional break downs: