The Jets defense has not been anywhere near anybody’s expectations to this point. Most of all, it has not been up to Rex Ryan’s expectations. The team has been abysmal against the run, and has gotten no pressure on the quarterback. We have all seen it, they look as slow as last year. The biggest problem has been the tackling, or the lack thereof. Rex talked about how to improve when he met with the media on Friday:
We do tackling circuits. We’re incorporating different things. Part of the tackling starts with getting your body in position to make the tackle. A lot of it, believe it or not, is getting off blocks if you’re stuck on blocks and not using proper technique to get off the block. For instance, and this makes sense, it’s much harder to make a tackle with one arm than it is two. I have to get my body into position to where I clear the block and that’s what we call walking off a block. If I just go to shed a block and I walk off, a lot of times, you have a guy still on you. If I can clear myself of that, then obviously that’s the first step. I have to defeat the block first, and then make the tackle. I think some of that is, we say it’s a missed tackle, which it is, but I think us getting off blocks will help us tackle better.
This week, getting better meant some new things in practice. Offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo came up with the idea of an extra eight minute practice session, that was completely live except for live tackling. Rex wanted to make a collaborative effort to improving the practice sessions:
No, it wasn’t necessarily new. I just wanted to make sure it’s not just my ideas, but I want to use (ideas from everyone on the staff) because I’m certainly not as smart as all of us. We all know that, don’t we? I want to use everybody. You may get a great idea and it might be from an intern coach. It might be from (Coach) Bob Sutton who has been around or (Coach Westhoff), who has been around 100 years. Those you assume, but don’t just target those guys, let the whole staff get in there and a lot of times you’ll get some great ideas. There are a lot of things that came out of it. (We) got a lot of great ideas. Again, I certainly don’t have all the answers. I’m just trying to do what’s in the best interest of our football team. We need to improve and I’m reaching out for ways to do that. What we’re asking our guys to do, maybe there’s something that can help. I thought that this was one of those examples.
Rex never acts like the guy that has all the answers, which is a reason why his staff loves to work for him. He learns from his assets around him, and get better. The team is working hard, and that is always encouraging. The key will be to see it turn into an improved product on the field, starting tomorrow night.