Should the Jets go with more 4 man fronts this season?


With the NFL becoming a more pass-oriented league, the Jets may want to change their defensive philosophy going into the 2012 season. By drafting Quinton Coples in the 1st round this year, the Jets have showed signs of a transition. Rex Ryan has multiple schemes and formations (4-3,3-4,46, etc.) that he likes to run every week. He provides opposing quarterbacks with a variety of looks that become unpredictable throughout the course of a game.

Rex loves to run the Base 46 defense, but as much as he and Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine would like to call it, there are plenty of ways in which to attack it –through the spread offense. The spread can leave mismatches for defenses, where a linebacker is lined up on a receiver. To counter that, we are forced to sub in a cornerback/safety to avoid getting burned through the air. Although the 46 defense will get its share of snaps against certain offenses, it is becoming less and less frequent for Rex Ryan to call the 46 now more than ever.

An alternative the Jets could turn to on passing downs is the four man front. We added plenty of depth to the defensive line the past two seasons which helped improve our pass rush. Yeah we didn’t get an OLB, but we have a mean D-line that can collapse the pocket and pressure the quarterback.

Rotating along the line would be Calvin Pace, Sione Pouha, Muhammad Wilkerson, Mike DeVito, Quinton Coples, and Aaron Maybin. By rotating, they will continue to stay fresh. With their hands in the dirt, their job is to simply collapse the pocket and disrupt the passer. It’s easier said than done but there’s no excuse that such a talented group can’t get the job done. Playing in this formation on passing downs will require an extra defensive back on the field in place of a linebacker.

Rushing 4 defensive linemen and dropping 7 defensive backs will certainly improve our pass defense against the spread offenses we will face in 2012. With the amount of looks that Rex and Pettine like to show and disguise in coverage, it could get interesting. Just look at what the Giants did with a dominant D-line and a plethora of DB’s. More DB’s in coverage will lead to more quarterback sacks, hits, and hurries. It also allows a DB like Josh Bush to roam the middle of the field in place of Bart Scott, who struggles in coverage. Another safety on the field is crucial because the middle of the field is the area in which we consistently struggled through the air last season. We are fortunate enough to have arguably the best cornerback tandem in the NFL with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, which allows us to stack zones and focus on defending inside the hash marks. But with no consistent pass rush last year it was difficult to disrupt the quarterback, so it didn’t get us too far.

A four man rotation with an improved defensive line could be the answer to our pass rush problems.

What do you think? Post your opinion in the comment section below!