New York Jets Defense on the “Edge” of Greatness


Aug 2, 2011; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine during training camp at the Jets training facility. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE

Mike Pettine is working hard, and has a lot to be excited about. As has been outlined many times before, the mantra of “one step faster” was put into process, and manifested itself with the draftees. Demario Davis, Antonio Allen, and Josh Bush will add speed to a defense that was a step behind in 2011.

Speed will be key in 2012, as the Jets were clearly slow watching Gronkowski, as well as many other TEs, run past them last year. With the additions made, especially Demario Davis, this aspect of the game will improve.

However, there is an aspect of the defense that must improve in 2012. The Jets were 8th in rushing defense in 2009, 3rd in 2010, and dropped to 13th in 2011. The reason for this, is the issue that has to be fixed in 2012. Speed will help, but the scheme will also be a major issue, and what will make the Jets great.

They must set the edge.

Last season, the Jets were beaten time and time again by speed running backs on the outside. It was abundantly clear week 3, when the Jets played the Oakland Raiders. Take a look at some tape from that game:

McFadden, play after play, beat the Jets on the outside. He would make one move, and the Jets were pinned inside, leaving McFadden free reign to roam for yards on end. This was a problem time and time again for the Jets run defense in 2011. The defense was typically tough between the tackles, but one move to the outside and there was nobody there.

The speed will help, as obviously being fast helps in running down quick backs. But if nobody is on the outside, they will be carved up again by opposing backs.

Then what will make the difference?


Keeping to their assignments is key to playing run defense. The Jets were getting sucked up inside, and the linebackers were not keeing their spots on the outside. This is where the new scheme will come in.

There will naturally be more players in the box, especially when the Jets run the “46”. That scheme brings 8, sometimes 9 in the box on one play. To put it simply, it brings more defenders into the box than the offense can block. With all the traffic on the inside, there will be freer defensive players on the outside to stop outside sweep plays.

If the Jets can get this down, the defense will be set to retake the league by storm.

As of now, they are on the “edge” of greatness.