Can defense of Jets win a championship?


The New York Jets should continue having a stout defense heading into the regular season. Will it be  enough however to win a championship despite their uncertainty at quarterback?

Here’s a crazy stat for you. Since the 2006 NFL Draft, 10 of the 14 previous first round draft picks of the New York Jets have been defensive players. This defensive favoritism was rewarded with two AFC championship game appearances but it has also created a total of eight different starting quarterbacks since 2006.

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For years, it seems as though the Jets’ defense has been consistently one of the best, but fans have waited with tremendous patience for them to find continuity at the quarterback position. Every year it seems there is either a question of who will be the Jets’ starter or is this guy a real long-term solution?

Jets fans can count on one hand the all-time great quarterbacks of the Jets and hopefully newly drafted quarterback Christian Hackenberg can change the narrative of the their quarterback situation.

Despite all of this, do the Jets really need a great quarterback to win or can they just continue to bolster an already solid defense led by cornerback Darrelle Revis and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson? Last year, the Denver Broncos, led by an impeccable defense, won the Super Bowl in spite of two starting quarterbacks over the course of the regular season, an inconsistent and hurt Peyton Manning and an inexperienced Brock Osweiler.

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Many feel the Broncos are an example of how to pull off such a championship season and that a team dones’t need to have a good quarterback at the helm to win football games and lead their team to the Super Bowl.

However, the Broncos aren’t the only team to rely on a great defense and win despite porous quarterback play.

In Super Bowl XLI, the Chicago Bears unsuccessfully challenged the Indianapolis Colts.

The starting quarterback of the Bears that season was Rex Grossman.

He started in all 16 games and threw for under 3,200 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions with a completion percentage of 54.6%. These were not impressive numbers by any stretch but despite that, the Bears were in the Super Bowl because of a defense that was a in the top 5 in nearly every statistical category.

In Super Bowl XXV, the Baltimore Ravens pummeled the New York Giants 34-7 and they were led by quarterback Trent Dilfer who didn’t even begin the season as their starter. Quarterback Tony Banks was benched halfway through the regular season in favor of Dilfer and he would go on to throw for just over 1,500 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Dilfer didn’t do anything great but he also didn’t do anything to jeopardize his team which is why he is the only starting quarterback to be released after winning a Super Bowl.

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A great team doesn’t need a great quarterback but it should be no surprise the best teams in the NFL for the most part have consistently excellent quarterback play. The offseason is far from over and it is still unknown whether quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will re-sign. It’s also unknown how well Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, or Hackenberg would do in a starting role. That said, the defense is a solid unit and with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker at wide receiver and new addition Matt Forte in the backfield, the Jets appear to have a roster ready for a playoff run.