Do you remember three 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?
Now we are about to embark on what is the strength of the Jets defense as well as what was without a doubt the strength of the 2007 Giants defense — the defensive lines.
Keeping this conversation to the starters once again, here’s a look at what the New York Giants starting defensive line did with stats coming from pro-football reference:
With a look at the projected defensive starters for the 2014 Jets, here’s a look at their stats provided by NFL.com:
Damon ‘Big Snacks’ Harrison had 66 tackles, a sack and two passes defended. 2013 defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson had 78 tackles, 3.5 sacks, a pass defended and a forced fumble. Mo Wilkerson had 63 tackles, 10.5 sacks, an interception, two forced fumbles and three passes defended.
Right away, I know the biggest difference is the style of play. The Jets are a 3-4 defense more than the Giants were. And I also know that why the 2007 Giants were so strong on defensive line is because they could rotate other guys in like Justin Tuck. The Jets have guys they can rotate in on that defensive line as well like the newly acquired Jason Babin, Leger Douzable and Kendrick Ellis.
The question here is not who’s the better squad? We all know that Giant unit was a lot better. But the question here is can this unit be what the Giants front line was in 2007? That answer is absolutely.
I was a huge fan of drafting Wilkerson back in 2011. I love this kids motor and this kid is growing in front of our eyes into a real destructive force up front. The stats last year proved that. In a very similar way to what Strahan was — real good first step, strong hands. Wilkerson demands a double team in a similar way that Strahan did. Strahan got moved around a lot and so does Wilkerson.
I also believe Richardson is going to continue on the upward climb and continue to reek havoc. He and Harrison, in my opinion, are better players then Cofield and Robbins. To me, Richardson and Harrison are a lot stronger guys and more physical upfront.
Do I think that the starting trio is better than the starting four from that Super Bowl Giants squad. Not yet. Strahan and Umeyiora were very special players for the Giants. And when you talk about Strahan, you can’t argue with what he’s done in his career. He’s enshrined in Canton for a reason.
This front line for the Jets has a chance to be really special this year. Overall, I think using the blueprint that was made by the 2007 Giants, the 2014 New York Jets defense can be something really remarkable.