In Morris Co., N.J. at the right end of a Browning 12 gauge, with Nick to my left n Rex to my right.
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Sack-luster: Jets, Rex Ryan trying to revive defensive pressure on opposing quarterbacks | NJ.com
The Jets coaching staff looks at sacks the way some baseball analysts look at RBI or batting average — as a number that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Quarterback pressures, hurries, hits and knockdowns are just as crucial, if not more so. Shaving the time from snap to throw can dramatically change a game.
But in Ryan’s four seasons with the Jets, he has only had one team crack the top 15 in sacks — 2010, when they totaled 40.
Enter another pass rusher selected in the first round of the draft, Sheldon Richardson, the third straight first-round pick the Jets invested in rattling quarterbacks. Enter Antwan Barnes in free agency, another proven commodity on the outside.
Barnes has been a Jet for a only few months now, but can tell it’s a trend the team wants changed. Getting to the quarterback is the priority.
"Oh, it’s been addressed," Barnes said. Defensive line coach Karl Dunbar "has done a great job of training us and working us out, making sure we have that mentality to get after the passer."
He said Ryan brought it up as well.
"He says it, but we know as a D-line, we know that’s a must. That’s why they brought us here," Barnes said.
In the offseason, Ryan searched for an offensive coordinator to match his manic tempo and pressure on defense, but he also looked to revamp the defense. Personnel will allow for more rush-happy packages. An infusion of youth will put a faster team on the field. Ryan is almost exclusively in defensive meetings now, working to straighten out a pressure system that fell flat over a dismal 2012 season.
"I like the speed with how we’re playing, in particular on defense," Ryan said Thursday. "I think we look fast, and obviously the physical skills of our players are one thing, but I think the communication, and it should be this way being the fifth year in the system, albeit five or six new guys out there, but I like the way the communication is going on defense."
Barnes knows it’s why he was brought here.
After a breakout season with the Chargers in 2011 — 11 sacks, 34 tackles — his production dipped last season. He had three sacks and was placed on injured reserve in early December with a hamstring injury.
He says there are no lingering issues, and that he can rush uninhibited in Ryan’s defense.
"The whole defense knows what every player has to do," Barnes said. "By learning that, we’re able to communicate and go faster instead of thinking about what everybody else is doing."
They are learning with the constant reminder that they will have to not only turn around a fledgling rush, but do so without the presence of All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis — a player who forced the quarterback to spend more time in the pocket and increase the likelihood of a pressure or sack.
The Jets’ investment in Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson was part of the draw for Barnes, who visited the Dolphins and also drew interest from the Colts and Browns. He said they made his job description — forcing the quarterback to step up in the pocket, directly into the interior pressure — simple.
"You just have to get that hunger. And that’s our main goal this year, to have that hunger and get to the quarterback," Barnes said. "We don’t want to put the DBs in the worst possible situation. We want to make it so easy for them."
And when you take into account the type of CB play we have gotten during his tenure it only makes it seem worse. Although our coverage at the LB and S positions pretty much wiped out any advantage we got from our CBs.
If one play sums up our inept conventional pass rush it is the play from the NE game a couple of years ago when Brady completed a would-be TD pass to Gronk if he had not stepped out of the back of the end zone. Seemed like Brady had 15 seconds to throw the ball on that play.
I don't believe pressure on the QB will be a big issue this season. If things continue on their current path, Wilk will be a beast and probably our best pass rusher. Coples was already a good player at the nd of last season. He'll continue to get better even at OLB. It's debateable if Sheldon Richardson was the best DL in the draft, but based on tape he does seem to be a good pressure guy.
The problem on defense will be how well the secondary and LB's can hold up. There's a glaring hole at FS. Can they stop big plays beyond 20 yards? You know Tom Brady will immediately go back to picking on Revis's old spot. Milliner will get challenged early and often. Can the defense cover the middle of the field better? Can the LB's contribute to stopping the running game?