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2012 Preview: Your New York Jets Defense

By Alan Schechter
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Oct 3, 2010; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Sione Pouha (91) looks towards the action as he sits on the sideline during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Sunday, we took an early look at the offense for 2012. Today, we take a look at a much maligned group. A group that stunned the NFL in 2009, but has regressed over the last 2 seasons. We take a look at the Jets Defense.

DEFENSIVE LINE

This is a group that is not without talent.  Sione Pouha has become a force on the defensive line on the inside, with 58 tackles in 2011.  Muhammed Wilkerson came on with a strong rookie season in 2011 as well, with 49 tackles and adding 3 sacks.  Mike DeVito only had 34 tackles last year after 59 the year before.  Kenrick Ellis worked his way into the lineup as the season went on as well.

The biggest issue with these guys is pass rush, or lack there of.  5 sacks for the season is just not good enough.  As discussed at length on this site as well as others, the Jets will address this need in the draft.  The Jets need to rely less on the scheme, and more on flat out pass rushing ability to get to the quarterback.

LINEBACKERS

This also a group that has fallen off a bit, and is in need of a big year in 2012.  Aaron Maybin led the team in sacks with 6, but he only played part time.  They too, also need to create a more consistent pass rush.

Bart Scott has reconciled with coach Rex Ryan, and this is a good thing.  He recorded only 66 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2011 as he saw reduced playing time, especially in passing downs.  Bryan Thomas is coming back from a 2011 season season ending injury that limited the linebacker to only 4 games.  He recorded 6 sacks in 2010, and should be an important cog in their 2011 plans.   Same goes for David Harris, who comes off another stellar season for the Jets, with 86 tackles and 5 sacks.

Calvin Pace is an X-factor, with 72 tackles and 4.5 sacks.  He has the ability to be an impact pass rusher on the outside, and needs to be one in order for the Jets to be successful this year.  Jamaal Westerman recorded 3.5 sacks, but he, like Maybin, is a part-time player.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

The cornerbacks as we know, are as good as they come.  To quote a famous song about another island, receivers take a “three hour tour”, on Revis Island.  Antonio Cromartie on the other side is no picnic either, and Kyle Wilson gets better and better the longer he plays.

The problem is at safety.  Eric Smith, became the picture of the problems on the back end of the defense.  Watch him take the wrong angle on the Tim Tebow touchdown, and watch him get eaten for breakfast by every tight end in the sport, and you will remember what I am talking about.

The Jets will have to address this position in the draft as well, as the only other safety currently on the roster is LaRon Landry.  He clearly has talent, as we have talked about previously, but he has had injury problems.  We have to see if he can stay healthy.  He also isn’t really known for his pass coverage, so we will see if he can add anything to pass defense.

The Jets will need to improve on this side of the football.  They want to get back to where Rex wants them to be.  They need to be consistent, as the offense does, and they need to make some improvements to their edge pass rushing game.

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