Dec 22, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan speaks with inside linebacker David Harris (52) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Browns 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Can the 2014 New York Jets defense become the 2007 New York Giants defense: Part III

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Dec 29, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets inside linebacker David Harris (52) at the line of scrimmage against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Do you remember two weeks ago how I said that our New York Jets defense as they go into the 2014 season could morph into New York Giants defense of 2007?

For the refresher, here’s Part 1 & Part 2

Keeping this again to the starters only, here’s a look at the 2007 starting New York Giants linebackers with stats provided by pro-football reference.com

Mathias Kiwanuka had 4.5 sacks from one of the outside linebacker slots. Kawika Mitchell had 3.5 sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery from the other outside slot. Antonio Pierce was on the inside with a sack, an interception and two fumble recoveries.

Now from an NFL.com look at the PROJECTED starters for the 2014 Jets, here’s a look at their linebackers with stats from NFL.com from 2013:

Outside linebacker (and sometime defensive end) Quinton Coples had 38 tackles, 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble and two passes defended. The other outside linebacker was Calvin Pace. He had 33 tackles, 10 sacks, two forced fumbles and three passes defended. The tag team of Demario Davis and David Harris on the inside were absolute beasts last year. Davis had 124 tackles, a sack and a pass defended. Harris had 124 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass defended.

Before I go any further, yes I understand that one of the biggest differences between the Jets of last year and the Giants of 2007 is the idea of the Giants running the 4-3 defense as opposed to the Jets who ran the 3-4 and have been ever since Rex Ryan got the captain’s chair of the Jets.

One of the big differences I see is that I totally believe the Jets have a stronger line backing core and much of that has to do with David Harris. Just look at the stats. Harris has been the stalwart for Gang Green up the middle in that defense and I totally believe the rest of the linebackers feed off of what he does. While I understand that Pierce and Harris are different because of age, I believe Harris is a much better player especially in the run defense department. I know it’s probably a fluke but Pace’s ten sacks smoked what Kiwanuka and Mitchell did combined.

Yes, while I understand this doesn’t take into consideration not only what the coaches are thinking in the games but that we are now in a pass first offense rather than a run first league; what I’m showing is the Jets have a shot to become what the Giants have always been known for.

Next week, I will be discussing the defensive line.

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