A year and a half after Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine devised one of the most creative defensive game plans in NFL history, the duo quietly made a shift that could jolt a lagging pass rush. Gang Green dressed an unthinkable 11 defensive backs — 25% of the active roster — to stymie Tom Brady in a 28-21 divisional playoff win over the Patriots in January of 2011.
For the better part of three seasons, Pettine and Ryan have relied on innovative and unconventional tactics to create havoc within the framework of their 3-4 scheme. Although the Jets will retain some of those 3-4 roots, Pettine admitted that “we’re going to be more 4-3” to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Jets have finished 18th, seventh and 17th in the league in sacks under Ryan.
Pettine went so far as to predict that the Jets may not play any 3-4 base defense in their six AFC East games that feature three teams with spread offenses. “We might not play a snap of base defense in a division game this year,” Pettine said. “If it’s five snaps a game, that’s probably a lot.”
The defensive philosophy this season is simple: “Best 11.” Thanks to an influx of athletic, young defensive linemen (see: Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples), the Jets’ best 11 defensive players will necessitate a four-man front.
“With the personnel we have,” outside linebacker Calvin Pace said on the final day of Jets minicamp Thursday, “it’s logical to do it.”
Ideally, here’s what the four-man front would look like: Wilkerson will play “80-plus percent of the snaps,” according to Pettine. Pace and Coples will be the primary edge rushers with a rotation among Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito and Kenrick Ellis for the fourth spot. Marcus Dixon will bounce between the interior and edge.
“If he’s fresh,” Pettine said of Coples, “there’s going to be more than a reasonable chance that he’s going to be out there on all downs.”
New defensive line coach Karl Dunbar has been trying to teach better pass rush techniques to all the defensive linemen, who have typically been stout run blockers in the past. The theme is to use their hands and body leverage to get to an offensive lineman’s edge rather than simply try to bull rush.
Dunbar has emphasized a switch from playing against the run to playing against the pass after the snap.
“I’m more a go-through-the-wall type of guy,” Pouha said. “Now I’m being smart and going around them.”
There were good early returns from minicamp. In 49 snaps — or about 75%of an average number of plays in a game — the first-team defense generated six simulated sacks, according to a Daily News breakdown.
The defensive line depth coupled with solid man-to-man coverage will also give Pettine and Ryan the flexibility to play more “46” defense, an aggressive variation with five pass rushers that was originally designed by Ryan’s father Buddy nearly 30 years ago. Although Rex Ryan installed the 46 in the Jets’ defensive playbook in 2009, expect it to be used more often out of any personnel grouping. Pettine and Ryan could conceivably use the 46 with goal-line, short yardage or base defenses.
“It doesn’t matter what the offense does,” Pettine said. “If they think that they’ll keep us out of it by going with four wide receivers... no it won’t. We’re better-suited to play it now.”
Perhaps the greatest benefit, Pettine said, is that the 46 will force opponents to have simple pass protections.
Offenses will either have to have five one-on-one blocking matchups or “turn the protection” by blocking gaps, which often creates mismatches for rushing linebackers.
Pettine noted that there were several times this off-season when those zone protection schemes against the 46 resulted in running backs Shonn Greene or Joe McKnight having to block Pace or Coples.
Although most teams that play the 46 typically use a Cover-1 look (one safety in the post) with man-to-man coverage underneath, the Jets will disguise their coverages when showing a Bear front. It’s the ultimate high-risk, high-reward defense that Ryan and Pettine won’t be afraid to use.
“Driving on the New York streets is very risky, but I drive home every night,” Dunbar said. “If you’re going to win big, you got to gamble big.”
[QUOTE=NY's stepchild;4492343]It'll be nice to have a D line coach, and an O coordinator. Maybe it will help our pass protection to have to practice against a 4 man 1 gap rush also.[/QUOTE]
Exactly. I really hope Rex didn't give Carrier the job (a job he was ill suited for) just to bolster his resume. And while Tony may not be Mike Martz or Al Saunders, he'll be much better than Schitty by default. Love reading how much less shifting we're doing. Like the fooled anyone, ever. ;)
I'm excited about this defense, ESPECIALLY if Landry is 100%.
They now have the personnel to run a true 46, with Pouha/Devito/Wilkerson covering the G/C/G, and Coples as the "wide 9," which he is ideally built for.
Pace and B. Thomas as standup LBs on the same side.
then you got Landry as the "Safety in the box" who acts like another LB.
This frees up Harris and Scott to make the tackles.
And Yeremiah Bell who has good ability as a ballhawking safety with Revis and Cro locking down their men.
It's no coincidence Rex brought in Karl Dunbar. He wants to get back to his old ways of creating pressure.
Last edited by JetsCrazey; 06-15-2012 at 05:51 PM.
rex and pettine have got the defense covered. their one weakness (applies to just about every other team) is the inability to handle a sharp no huddle offense. hopefully the starters will be conditioned enough to last long no huddle drives where substitution will be difficult.
[QUOTE=JerseyJet80;4493607]I like the 4-3 look for our current roster[/QUOTE]
So do I, especially our defensive line, but who's going to become our MLB when running a 4-3 defense? You need a quick/fast, sideline to sideline type of MLB when running a 4-3 defense ala Jonathan Vilma, Jon Beason, Curtis Lofton and the Patrick Willis (when San Fran ran a 4-3) types of MLB's when running a 4-3 defense. David Harris isn't fast/quick enough and we all know that Bart Scott isn't built as a MLB for a 4-3 scheme. Also, your OLB's don't blitz when running a 4-3 defense, that's what speed rushing ends are for, they're expected to man up with opposing WR's/TE's. Which two OLB's do we have in regards to having enough speed to cover WR's when running a 4-3 defense? Maybin is one, who's the other? Also, wouldn't we want Maybin as one of our speed/pass rushing DE when running a 4-3?
I love the fact that we'll be able to switch it up as a versatile/multiple defense, but I just don't see enough 4-3 players to really make it work.
Last edited by NY2FLDWC85; 06-17-2012 at 12:42 AM.
[QUOTE=NY2FLDWC85;4493618]So do I, especially our defensive line, but who's going to become our MLB when running a 4-3 defense? You need a quick/fast, sideline to sideline type of MLB when running a 4-3 defense ala Jonathan Vilma, Jon Beason, Curtis Lofton and the Patrick Willis (when San Fran ran a 4-3) types of MLB's when running a 4-3 defense. David Harris isn't fast/quick enough and we all know that Bart Scott isn't built as a MLB for a 4-3 scheme. Also, your OLB's don't blitz when running a 4-3 defense, that what speed rushing ends are for, they're expected to man up with opposing WR's/TE's. Which two OLB's do we have in regards to having enough speed to cover WR's when running a 4-3 defense? Maybin is one, who's the other? Also, wouldn't we want Maybin as one of our speed/pass rushing DE when running a 4-3?
I love the fact that we'll be able to switch it up as a versatile/multiple defense, but I just don't see enough 4-3 players to really make it work.[/QUOTE]
Can you can also throw into that mix that Pace and Thomas aren't your prototypical OLB's in a 4-3 either.
[QUOTE=hatnlvr;4493621]Can you can also throw into that mix that Pace and Thomas aren't your prototypical OLB's in a 4-3 either.[/QUOTE]
Exactly. That's why I asked the question, which two OLB's do we have in regards to having enough speed to cover WR's when running a 4-3 defense? Because it's not Pace and/or Thomas. Also, if we're running a 4-3 scheme, I'd expect both Pace and Maybin to become our speed rushing 4-3 DE's.
We most definitely have the types of defensive lineman to run a 4-3 defense, a very versatile defensive front, but as of right now... I just don't see the linebackers required to run a tight ship in regards to a 4-3 scheme on a consistent basis. You need linebacker speed when running a 4-3 defense, and our fastest/quickest LB is Maybin who'll become our pass rushing defensive end.
Maybe have Demario Davis as a rookie become one of our OLB's, with Harris in the middle, but then who's our other OLB? I'm not sure either Coples or Sapp have enough pure speed/esperience for that position... I'm picking at straws here, I just don't see it. And once again, it all goes back to David Harris not being a sideline to sideline type of MLB inside of a 4-3 system.
Last edited by NY2FLDWC85; 06-17-2012 at 12:57 AM.
Pace will put his hand in the dirt in some of the 4-3 looks, especially on 3rd down. Davis was drafted (my guess) because with his speed they saw a guy who could develop into a cover LB. Maybin I wouldn't put my hopes on in coverage. In fact, I think he's the odd man out if we go heavy on 4-3. I like him as a player, but he's undersized for a 4-3 DE, even as a pure speed rusher.
This is a total guess, but I think what Pettine is getting at is a 4-2-5 nickel as opposed to a 3-3-5 one. Four man front, two linebackers (pick from Harris, Scott, Davis -- Thomas and Maybin are odd men out), five DBs. Considering our safeties are big enough to play linebacker that's actually a pretty heavy nickel, that could suffer against hurry-up, spread offense etc.
When we show a traditional 4-3 front, Harris is the MLB, Scott is the strong side LB, and Davis/Maybin/Mauga/etc is the weakside LB.
Scott broke through as a 4-3 outside linebacker in Baltimore (before they went to the 3-4) and the coaching staff specifically told the linebackers to drop weight during the offseason. They should all be a step or two quicker.