NY Jets 2015 Report Card: Defensive Line
The strength of the NY Jets in 2015 easily was their defensive line. They set the standard high and never looked back after having a productive season.
The Jets’ defense got a lot of praise this season, and rightfully so. Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson and Damon Harrison were among the great defensive lines in the NFL.
Wilkerson led the pass rushers on this team with 12 sacks. According to Football Outsiders, the Jets had a “Power Success” of 62%, meaning they stopped teams on 62% of run plays on third or fourth down with two yards or less to go. That ranked 9th in the league. They were also second in yards per carry allowed, and in the Football Outsiders “Stuffed” percentage, when a running back is held to zero or negative yards, they were number one (28%).
They also were fourth in Second Level Yards, yards gained 5-10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. In Open Field Yards, yard 10 or more beyond the line of scrimmage, they ranked sixth.
Their base defense was 3-4. With that said, their line showed versatility as they shifted players along the defensive line without anyone missing a beat.
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The rookie campaign of Leonard Williams can be deemed a success as well.
He finished the season with three sacks and 63 tackles (2.5 sacks and 26 tackles in his final five games). Richardson added five sacks, and in addition to his 12 sacks, Wilkerson added 11 tackles for loss.
The pressure of the defensive line also helped the back end of the defense. They helped the defense get 18 interceptions, including Marcus Williams, who set a career high with six. In his return to New York, Darrelle Revis added five interceptions.
They will probably have to make a move with Richardson this off-season, and they will need to replace him. It’s unfortunate, but they can’t afford to have him on the roster, and missing time that he will inevitably miss for his off-the-field actions last summer.
More jets: Jets should trade or cut Sheldon Richardson
Overall, the Jets’ defensive front was key to overall success against opponents. They easily scored an “A+” for their grade last season since it was one of the most consistent units on the Jets.