Welcome Craig Hoffman to the site with his first work right here.
How do you stop a high-powered offense that is running no-huddle efficiently by not allowing substitutions? The answer is don’t substitute. That sounds like a really simple answer in theory but in practice it isn’t so simple. Football has been become specialized, you have pass rushers for passing downs and run stuffers for short-yardage situations not to mention extra cornerbacks for nickel, dime and quarter coverages. Getting your specialists on the field in the right situations is the problem as the no-huddle offense prevents that. To combat that you have to find players that are versatile enough to not only play multiple positions but to play different positions within different schemes. Luckily the Jets have been acquiring these types of players.
In 2011 the Jets drafted Muhammad Wilkerson, and most people thought he would be a 3-4 defensive end setting the edge to stop the run and putting some pressure on the quarterback. He did all that plus he was very effective at sliding inside to play defensive tackle in four man fronts and even a tiny bit of nose tackle. In 2012 they added Quinton Coples. Many were surprised that the Jets didn’t draft a prototypical 3-4 rush linebacker to get to the quarterback. Coples more than fit in as the year went along playing end, tackle and a little bit of linebacker too. This year, Coples will expand his role at linebacker but make no mistake he will be placed all over the field to create mismatches that allow him or his teammates to create havoc in the backfield. I
n that same draft the Jets also grabbed a less heralded player in Antonio Allen who was used in college at South Carolina as a hybrid linebacker and safety. Allen can blitz and stop the run with the best of them and an improvement in his coverage skills will allow him to be a three down player with a unique skill set. In 2013 the Jets once again thought outside the box and drafted Sheldon Richardson, a jack of all trades from Missouri. This defensive tackle is one of the most athletic players on the field, so much so that in his game against Texas A&M he was asked to spy on Johnny Manziel. That’s right, he spied Johnny Football and Missouri held him to under 70 yards rushing.
With 3 defensive lineman who can play end as well as tackle one of which will line up at outside linebacker also as well as a safety who can play as a linebacker the Jets have a very unique defense. Without substituting the Jets could theoretically play a variety of 3-4, 4-3, a nickel or other exotic defense without substituting. The Amoeba defense which features no down lineman would be near impossible to identify who is playing what position as well as who is blitzing which is a quarterback’s nightmare. All of that creates mismatches and confusion, the perfect recipe for creative defensive genius that is Rex Ryan.
This also may explain the Jets interest in Karlos Dansby. Dansby is a linebacker that can play inside or outside and is scheme flexible. As the rebuild continues look for the Jets to fill the remaining holes with these versatile players.
The cure for the new high-octane offenses that rely on speed and timing is pressure and confusion. Versatile players who can play different schemes and positions seamlessly create those conditions. The best answer to a complex problem is sometimes the simplest one. Why substitute when all you need is out on the field already?