On November 9, 2003, the Jets played Oakland, in California. The Raiders opened the game with 21 straight rushes before QB Rick Mirer completed a 17-yard pass to Jerry Rice- almost 19 minutes into the game. It was an embarrassing display by defensive coordinator Ted Cottrellâ€™s defense. Even though the Jets won that game, the precedent it set for humiliation would not have itâ€™s high water mark crested until almost three years later, and this time it would be in Jacksonville, Florida.
The coaches are all gone, now. But some of the same players that notoriously represented our defense that day are still here: Dewayne Robertson, Shaun Ellis, Victor Hobson, and Bryan Thomas. If memory serves correctly, only Thomas played sparsely in that game.
I keep hearing that our players are not â€œsuitedâ€? for the 3-4 defense, and thatâ€™s why the Jets defense is so atrocious this year. I keep hearing that Dewayne Robertson isnâ€™t a â€œtrueâ€? 2 gap NT. I hear that the Jets â€œneedâ€? to switch to a 43 defense, because Dewayne is â€œbetter suitedâ€? to play in that defense. To quote Granny Hawkins in The Outlaw Josey Wales, I say that big talk’s worth doodly-squat. The fact is, we donâ€™t have the players to run a 3-4 defense, but we donâ€™t have the players to execute an effective 4-3 defense, neither.
We just donâ€™t have the players. Period.
The Jets havenâ€™t had a decent defense since 1999, and ironically that team employed a 3-4 defense. Linebacker Bryan Cox was the defacto leader of that defense. Currently, the Jets just donâ€™t have anybody like Bryan Cox playing for them, and itâ€™s a disgrace. Itâ€™s a disgrace because this defense has 3 number one draft picks on it. There is no way that what took place in Oakland back in â€˜O3, or what happened this past Sunday in Jacksonville Florida, would have happened while Bryan Cox was on the field. Right now, Bryan is an assistant to defensive line coach, Denny Marcin. I think Bryan needs to have a talk with our front seven, and explain to them, that giving up 160 rushing yards in a game, is totally unacceptable.
I know Donnie Hendersonâ€™s 2004 defense was pretty good against the run, allowing only 97 ypg. But that team finished the season 2-4, and in 2005, they nose dived to a 29 overall ranking against the run, allowing 136 ypg. Through all of this, the constants have always been Robertson, Ellis, Hobson and Thomas. The evidence is clear, that the bad far outweighs the good. The coaching isnâ€™t the problem, and the system isnâ€™t the problem. The problem is the players. And if these guys canâ€™t get it done, then find somebody who can.