Over the last several days, we have been talking about reasons that the Jets can return to the playoffs as soon as 2013. We have been discussing why, even though the Jets are rebuilding their roster, they can be back in the “tournament” this upcoming year. So far, we have talked about:
So that is where we have been so far (click on the links to catch up)
And now, (in classic David Letterman voice), the number one reason the Jets can return to the playoffs in 2013 is………………
THE DEFENSIVE LINE
This group is rapidly becoming a major force on this defense, and they are only going to get better. They already began reaping the benefits of Karl Dunbar as the position coach, with the emergence of Mo Wilkerson. You can just look at the stats from our friends at Pro Football Focus to see what I am talking about. The Jets had three defensive linemen in the top 20 of 3-4 defensive ends, Mo Wilkerson (2), Mike DeVito (10), and Quinton Coples (19).
Wilkerson’s second half run of dominance brought him to PFF rating of 49.1, second only to JJ Watt. In the second half of the year, he made a run for the Pro Bowl, even blocking a field goal attempt late in the season. Mo will be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.
As will Quinton Coples, who improved vastly as the year went along. Quinton posted a 4.9 grade in pass rushing, which placed him in the top 10 in pass rushing among 3-4 defensive ends. His 1.0 grade in pass coverage shows the development of a versatile defensive football player. He posted a negative grade against the run, but that will get better with experience and more snaps against the run.
Mike DeVito has been a big part of the plans, and so has a healthy Sione Po’uha. DeVito was in the top 10 as we mentioned before, and Po’uha is always a tough run stopper when healthy. We probably won’t see Sione back in 2013, and there is a decent chance that Mike DeVito will be gone as well. However, with Kenrick Ellis and Damon Harrison waiting in the wings, the youth movement will continue to be just fine.
That is why the Jets defensive line will continue to be a force on the Jets. And that is the number one reason why the Jets can get back to the playoffs in 2013.
I hope you enjoyed the five part series.