A take on the quote from the movie “Top Gun” today as we take a look at the new look New York Jets. Mike Pettine called the defense last season at times “dinosaur-ish”. He was right. He’s talked about how they have wanted to build a pass rush, but what they are trying to build is a lot more than that.
Look at last season, and some of the guys that beat the Jets, and the need for speed becomes self evident. Let’s see what I am talking about. Take a look at 2011 losses, and top performers in those games:
- Week 3-Darren McFadden 171 yards rushing. He certain mad the Jets look slow as he beat the Jets on the outside play, after play, after play, after play.
- Week 5-Ben Jarvis Green Ellis 136 yards rushing. He made the Jets look slow all day, and this was his only 100 yard rushing performance all season, as he only rushed for 667 yards on the year.
- Week 10-Rob Gronkowski 113 yards 2 TDs. He clearly exposed the secondary down the middle that day. He made Eric Smith look slow.
- Week 11-Tim Tebow the last drive. We all know what happened there, he made the defense look silly on the final drive, including a TD run where he made Eric Smith look like he wasn’t even there.
- Week 15-LeSean McCoy 102 yards rushing, Brent Celek 156 yards receiving. Not much to be said here.
- Week 16-Victor Cruz 164 yards receiving. We all saw the play that arguably sent the Jets to the end of the season, when Cruz outran the whole team for his long TD.
So, speed was a dire need for the New York Jets. Yes, in the passing game, absolutely needed. Quinton Coples getting to the backfield against Tom Brady and any other QB will affect the passing game in a positive way. Also though, speed was badly needed in the running game too. How many times did we hear the broadcasters talk about the Jets having trouble setting the edge in the running game? Look at those stats, the Jets vaunted defense had plenty of difficulty in the run game too, and needed some speed desperately.
It seems like the Jets have addressed that in a big way. We will see if that translated onto the field come training camp, and eventually the regular season.