May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) and cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) walk off the field after organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets had arguably one of the best off-seasons an NFL team could possibly have. This is especially true with a new regime taking the reins with Mike Maccagnan as general manager and Todd Bowles as the head coach.
During the off-season, Maccagnan seemingly found new pieces to fill the holes within the team. One of the most notable changes was the upgrades across the board when it came to the defense. Each position was seemingly updated as the off-season rolled on from free agency to the draft.
The real question is will the Jets be putting out one of the best defenses in the league for 2015? To determine the best defense in the league it takes a lot of different stats. In 2014, the best defensive team in the league were the Seattle Seahawks. This came down to a many different statistics to even be able to call themselves the best defense in the league. The top three statistics that most rankings follow to be able to judge who is the best are points per game, rushing yards per game and passing yards per game.
In 2014 (per OddsShark):
The stats above reflect the top 3 defenses in the league last year, while the last column is what the Jets stats were in 2014. The major factor into a team’s rating as shown above is the amount of points given up by the certain team during a single game. Due to the Jets having a less than below average group of players at their defensive secondary, it caused them to not be able to truly blitz or attack the quarterback due to the threat over the top.
This caused the Jets to allow the quarterback to sit in the pocket and allow him plenty of time to find his target. You can see this in the points column, the Jets were not good at stopping an opposing team from scoring. However, due to Maccagnan’s additions this season, you can argue that the Jets will definitely improve with that particular defensive statistic.
This argument starts with the rushing yards column. The Jets had a very low average when it came to this statistic due to their already stout defensive line. You can argue, with the addition of Leonard Williams who is a young and talented rookie, the line will only improve. The improvement in this section may not affect the stats as heavily as many fans would want to see. This is due to the role that the Jets will possibly put Williams in. The addition does impact the way the line is but there are only a handful of times the Jets could possibly stick Williams, Wilkerson, Harrison, and Richardson on the line at the same time.
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The major improvement that all Jets fans will see is the passing yards per game statistic. This is heavily due to Maccagnan’s additions to the defensive secondary in the off-season. During the off-season, he added back two of the most fan loved and talented players in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie.
Both of these players are arguably in the top ten of the best playing cornerbacks in the league. Revis is a future Hall of Famer and known to shut wide receivers down to the point that quarterbacks will not attempt to throw at him. Which leaves Cromartie to take on whatever Revis is not handling and executes it well. This is how they both got the name the “Dynamic Duo” by the fans and media alike.
Maccagnan also signed up and coming cornerback Buster Skrine who impressed last season with the Cleveland Browns. These additions at cornerback will certainly cause a drop in the amount of passing yards completed against the Jets in 2015. This is before the mention of veteran safety Marcus Gilchrist from the San Diego Chargers.
Finally, looking at the points section, you could argue that this newly improved defense will see a heavy drop in the amount of points scored against them. You may even see a rise in turnovers, which the Jets were nearly nonexistent in last season.
The Jets have surely had one of the best off-seasons this year. Whether or not the Jets will see their defense become one of the best in the league or just improve to top 3, will all come down to how Bowles and new defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers line up their players every Sunday. Only time will tell if the Jets will have the number one spot in defense by the end of this season. There is one thing that you can be sure of, this defense will certainly be much better than the one they ran onto the field in 2014.