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Thread: Jets' defense tailor-made to be among league's best again

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    Jets' defense tailor-made to be among league's best again

    In Mike Pettine’s office sits a hefty tome, stuffed with about 500 pages and eight years of labor and innovation.

    The Jets defensive coordinator and coach Rex Ryan call it “The Bible.” Catalogued inside is every defensive call they have ever used, from five years coaching together in Baltimore and three here with the Jets.

    Spawned from it were two defenses that ranked best in the NFL. And, as Ryan vowed all through training camp, the 2011 Jets intend to proudly join that group, after finishing No. 3 in the league last season.

    Of course, their vision did not include yielding 390 total yards to the Cowboys in last week’s opener. The performance was still good enough for a 27-24 Jets victory, plus post-lockout defenses appeared to lag behind offenses, as teams league-wide tallied 752 points and a record 7,842 passing yards. But that did not stop Ryan from withholding defensive game balls, or Pettine concluding “we’re not as good as we think we are.”

    “You know how it is around here,” said assistant secondary coach Jim O’Neil. “There’s no patience when it comes to defense. We want to be great right away.”

    The Jets’ next chance comes this afternoon against the Jacksonville Jaguars, after a week spent tightening up Ryan’s very specific tally of seven “glaring” mistakes in their debut against Dallas.

    Mental mistakes count as “glaring,” Ryan said. So does allowing a 64-yard pass to tight end Jason Witten. On that play, Pettine explained, the defense had the wrong leverage, or positioning on the field.

    There was also a 42-yard pass to Dez Bryant on the Cowboys’ opening drive, on which linebacker Bryan Thomas was late out of the huddle and not in position to reroute the receiver off the line.

    The inability of players to recognize and react to some offensive formations was one source of errors, the coaches said. Another was individual techniques — more so than as a group — such as playing outside leverage on a receiver rather than inside, or cornerback Antonio Cromartie going at the jump-ball touchdown against Miles Austin underhand instead of overhand.

    These areas are usually fine-tuned through hundreds of reps in organized team activities, mini-camps and training camp two-a-days — wiped out this year by the NFL’s work stoppage and the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement.

    Now, O’Neil estimates, “we’ll be coaching the hell out of them” nearly up until the bye week in late October.

    Even though the coaches anticipated an offseason devoid of instruction, their goal to take the defense to a “post-graduate level” in Ryan’s third year with the Jets did not change. So during the lockout, they seized the chance to essentially rebuild the playbook — distilling their inventory for more efficient teaching, yes, but also sharpening and modernizing it. To do so, they analyzed two seasons of data.

    “We said, ‘Let’s kind of almost start from scratch putting this together,’” Pettine explained. “What’s been good? What hasn’t been good? Are there any calls that have a little gray in them? If there are, take ’em out.”

    The Jets’ 2011 playbook has about 15 fewer calls than in previous years, Pettine said, close to 70 as compared to 85 or 90 in the past (just a fraction of “The Bible”).

    Some of the emphases have changed, after breaking down how often calls were used.

    Since a pass-happy league is trending away from two-back formations, for instance, Pettine said they reduced their corresponding calls for one-back groupings with three receivers or extra tight ends. The Jets needed fewer calls for first down and more for third down.

    They examined, too, how successful their calls have been, defining success precisely: Yielding 3 yards or less on first down and half the distance or less on second down, and getting off the field on third and fourth downs.

    The Jets saw passing touchdowns spike from eight in 2009, when they were the league’s No. 1 defense, to 24 in 2010, when they ranked third. Realizing opponents were scheming against their go-to coverages, they studied top red-zone defenses on teams with similar systems, such as Baltimore and San Francisco, to add in different looks.

    On last year’s negative-play reel, the staff also noticed a good portion of the big plays given up came from busted calls, when players didn’t communicate well or weren’t on the same page.

    So this year’s playbook includes a section outlining their rules, like how to handle reverses, or cover deep crossing patterns termed “Speedos,” which can take advantage of voids in the middle of the field.

    Laminated diagrams outline each player’s responsibility under each rule, as well as six or seven potential rule exceptions. The idea was to eliminate confusion. And it makes grading easier after performances like last Sunday night’s, because coaches can identify who was at fault in no uncertain terms.

    “Year one, we had a great year defensively, but we got lucky on a few things,” safety Jim Leonhard said. “There was obviously stuff that came up within games that we didn’t play very well, but it seemed like it never got exposed. Teams would miss it.

    Whereas it seems in the last couple years, whenever we make mistakes, that’s where the ball is going.”

    Leonhard has seen the evolution of the scheme, following Ryan to New Jersey after one season with the Ravens. It has been a multi-year process to take some of the “Baltimore” out, and mold to the Jets’ personnel.

    One principle leads the way: highlight the players’ strengths, and protect their weaknesses. This season, for instance, the Jets plan to take advantage of linebacker Bart Scott’s ability to hit gaps and be disruptive as an off-the-ball pass-rusher, leaving him in on more third downs But in Scott’s 10th season, Pettine said, they would no longer use him in coverage against players like Witten.

    As advanced and tailored as the Jets hope this year’s defense can be, Week 1 presented unique challenges. Uncertain of what new looks the Cowboys offense would unveil in 2011, Pettine worked with a “healthy paranoia,” selecting a high number of 50 calls for the game, many of which were catch-all generic options that could be used against anything.

    Also a factor was the condensed post-lockout timetable all teams faced. With no offseason, the Jets slowed down their training-camp installation, so much so that they took an entire week to teach the same number of defensive calls covered in the first night at Cortland last summer. The idea was to emphasize core concepts first, and then to take a snapshot of the material they would need for the first three or four opponents.

    As the Jets prepared for Jacksonville this week, O’Neil said there were just a couple of new topics to cover, good news for a defense looking to prove it will be better than last year — and can be the No. 1 defense in the league.

    Right now, after the smallest of sample sizes, the Jets rank 23rd.

    “It doesn’t matter who we think we are,” Leonhard said. “We are what we put on film, and we gave up a lot of yards and too many points, by our standards. Until you correct that in games, you can’t really say you are anything else.

    “That’s been the talk. We’re not too down on ourselves or anything. We just realize we’ve got a long way to go if we want to become the defense that we talk about.”

    http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/201...ade_to_be.html

    Another excellent article from Jenny

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Mart View Post
    Right now, after the smallest of sample sizes, the Jets rank 23rd.

    “It doesn’t matter who we think we are,” Leonhard said. “We are what we put on film, and we gave up a lot of yards and too many points, by our standards. Until you correct that in games, you can’t really say you are anything else.
    great read they are the best 23rd ranked D ever

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    ^^ Yeah okaaay. We need to shut teams down before we start annointing ourselves the best at anything. Also, it's time for Ryan and Pettine to stop putting all the blame on the players as they seemed to do here. Just having the Ryan name doesn't automatically equate to greatness. There are flaws in this defense and they need to be fixed. Fortunately, this week is a better match up for the Jets since the Jags aren't a vertical air team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    great read they are the best 23rd ranked D ever
    +1

    they looked like the 34th or 35th ranked d last week

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordy View Post
    ^^ Yeah okaaay. We need to shut teams down before we start annointing ourselves the best at anything. Also, it's time for Ryan and Pettine to stop putting all the blame on the players as they seemed to do here. Just having the Ryan name doesn't automatically equate to greatness. There are flaws in this defense and they need to be fixed. Fortunately, this week is a better match up for the Jets since the Jags aren't a vertical air team.
    Still don't have speed on the outside to rush the passer or cover TE's and backs.

    While it might end up being a top 5 defense it's not going to be a dominate one until they find a natural pass rusher.

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    Imagine if they had a pass-rusher.........

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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelioion View Post
    Still don't have speed on the outside to rush the passer or cover TE's and backs.

    While it might end up being a top 5 defense it's not going to be a dominate one until they find a natural pass rusher.
    Quote Originally Posted by rammagen View Post
    Imagine if they had a pass-rusher.........
    Hmm. Sounds familiar. LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordy View Post
    ^^ Yeah okaaay. We need to shut teams down before we start annointing ourselves the best at anything. Also, it's time for Ryan and Pettine to stop putting all the blame on the players as they seemed to do here. Just having the Ryan name doesn't automatically equate to greatness. There are flaws in this defense and they need to be fixed. Fortunately, this week is a better match up for the Jets since the Jags aren't a vertical air team.
    I'd say the jets shut down the jags today... it would have been a shutout if not for the 55 yard FG

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    Quote Originally Posted by cant wait View Post
    I'd say the jets shut down the jags today... it would have been a shutout if not for the 55 yard FG
    I don't think the Jags offense scares ANYONE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordy View Post
    I don't think the Jags offense scares ANYONE.
    definitely not a good offensive team... but the D played a well regardless of who was on the other side. can't take it away from them, they did what they were supposed to do

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    wow... Jets fans are so awesome

    before the game: "Jaguars offense sucks, the defense better dominate. of course, knowing the Jets, we're gonna let Luke McCown and a bunch of nobodies march up and down the field...."

    after the game: "So what if the defense dominated? the Jaguars offense sucks..."


    sigh...

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    Quote Originally Posted by cant wait View Post
    definitely not a good offensive team... but the D played a well regardless of who was on the other side. can't take it away from them, they did what they were supposed to do
    They played well. But let's not get carried away. Luke McCown is no Brady, Rivers, Flacco or even a Romo, Henne or Fitzpatrick. I was encouraged to see Wilkenson get penetration on the sack/safety. But that was it for the day. Everything else was the blitz package. That will get exploited by a better QB (see the names above).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtstar View Post
    wow... Jets fans are so awesome

    before the game: "Jaguars offense sucks, the defense better dominate. of course, knowing the Jets, we're gonna let Luke McCown and a bunch of nobodies march up and down the field...."

    after the game: "So what if the defense dominated? the Jaguars offense sucks..."


    sigh...
    Who said that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtstar View Post
    wow... Jets fans are so awesome

    before the game: "Jaguars offense sucks, the defense better dominate. of course, knowing the Jets, we're gonna let Luke McCown and a bunch of nobodies march up and down the field...."

    after the game: "So what if the defense dominated? the Jaguars offense sucks..."


    sigh...
    Thank you for pointing out the SOJF for the loser mentality they reveal

    And for the SOJF Good Grief!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Brown View Post
    Thank you for pointing out the SOJF for the loser mentality they reveal

    And for the SOJF Good Grief!!!
    Link?

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