NY Jets defense is loaded with potential heading into 2020

NY Jets (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) /

Gregg Williams’ defense looked strong at the end of the 2019 season. After an offseason full of signings, the NY Jets defense has a lot of potential.

The bright spot of the NY Jets‘ 2019 season was by far the defense. First-year defensive coordinator Gregg Williams came in and added some new life to a team that had for years been bitten by big plays.

While Williams didn’t have a plethora of star talent to use, especially after injuries to inside linebackers C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson, along with trading away defensive lineman Leanord Williams, he made the most of the talent he did have.

Using complex blitz packages and rotating players in and out of the front seven, the Jets were able to hold opponents to just 323.1 yards against per game — good for seventh in the league.

Coming into the 2020 season, the Jets will look to once again play a strong defensive brand of football. General manager Joe Douglas has done a good job in his first offseason in the position signing many of the pieces to make up the Jets defensive core.

However, he still has some big positions to fill.

Starting with what the Jets already have to work with, Williams will have plenty of options to work with on the team this year. The defensive unit will once again be led by All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, who has made two straight Pro Bowls and led the team in solo tackles with 61.

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Adams’ partner in the secondary is Marcus Maye. Both safeties were drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft and have played together for the last three seasons.

Maye had a total of 79 tackles last season, along with two interceptions and a forced fumble. Maye and Adams will lead the way for the Jets from the secondary and will be used in many different ways.

One way they will be used is to help in coverage along with the cornerbacks, a unit that still has some work to do. The Jets have some decent talent at cornerback, however, they lack a lockdown corner that they had for years in Darrelle Revis.

The current members of the cornerback include Blessuan Austin, Kyron Brown, Pierre Desir, Nate Hairston, and Brian Poole. The leader of this group will undoubtedly be Brian Poole, who had a fantastic year in 2019, his first season with Gang Green. Playing mostly in the slot, Poole will provide good coverage in the nickel package.

Moving now to the front seven, the Jets will have plenty of options at the linebacker spot. Starting with the two inside linebackers, it’ll be C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson, both of whom will hopefully return from injury and stay on the field for the 2020 season.

Mosley only made two appearances in green and white last season, but showed off his skills in those two chances, recording nine tackles, one fumble recovery, and a pick-six.

His partner in crime, Avery Williamson, missed the entire 2019 season with a torn ACL, but will look to provide a similar impact to the one he made in 2018, his first season with the Jets.

Williamson recorded 120 total tackles, six of which were for a loss, adding an interception and two forced fumbles. Pairing Mosley and Williamson in the middle of the defense will do wonders for the team.

The rest of the front seven is made up of Henry Anderson, Tarell Basham, Blake Cashman, Folorunso Fatukasi, Neville Hewitt, Steve McLendon, Quinnen Williams, and Jordan Jenkins among others.

This is a group that will see a lot of rotation in Williams’ defense. A tactic Williams is known for, keeping his players fresh, this will help the Jets and their ability to play a full four quarters and continue to send complex blitz packages at opponents.

While all that may make the Jets look like a defense that is ready to go, there are still a few holes to fill. The two biggest problems the Jets have on that side of the ball would be their lack of an edge rusher and the lack of a lockdown corner.

While Williams will continue to apply pressure on opponents via blitzing, the addition of an elite pass rusher will allow for the Jets to drop into coverage more often and still apply pressure on the quarterback — something that has been missing from the Jets for the past few seasons.

In the secondary, the Jets are almost there. Great safety play and some solid corners is good, but the Jets are still missing a corner that can go one on one with the opponents top receiver for the entire game.

The Jets have been beaten by the deep pass in recent years. A top corner will help put a stop to this.

Whether Douglas looks to address these problems via the draft or through free agency, these problems may be put to the side for the time being as the offense has some more pressing matters. These may be addressed late in the draft or they may not be addressed at all before the season.

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Either way, the Jets defense will once again be stingy, apply tons of pressure to opposing quarterbacks and be one of the top run defenses in the NFL.