LaRon Landry Hardly Solves New York Jets' Defensive Issues

Matt DienstagContributor IIIMarch 19, 2012

LaRon Landry has had trouble staying on the field in the past.
LaRon Landry has had trouble staying on the field in the past.

The former Washington Redskin may hit you like a ton of bricks, but the safety's durability is as reliable as a house of straw.

LaRon Landry definitely showed promise early in his career, but his injury woes have limited his action on the field the past two seasons. After striking out on free agent safety Reggie Nelson, the Jets had few other options remaining.

Working with a thin safety free agent class, the Jets needed to solidify that position with only Eric Smith currently under contract.

But is the Landry signing that big of an upgrade?

Jim Leonhard has been the general of the Jets defense since he's come here and has thrived in doing so. There is an enormous difference defensively when he is not on the field, which is the biggest knock on him.

When the Jets have needed him most, he has unfortunately been carted off the field due to devastating injuries to both of his knees.

In the past two years, Landry has faced similar injury issues but has been less proactive in trying to permanently heal his ailments. In 2010, Landry was having an excellent year until a strained Achilles tendon injury sidelined him for the final seven games of the regular season.

The Redskins wanted him to have surgery, but he went against the team's orders and opted for platelet-rich plasma treatments to repair the tendon.

Last year, Landry missed the first two games of the season with a strained hamstring. While he did play well once he returned, he again failed to finish the season, missing the final six games, this time to an injured groin.

Some believe that the injury was brought on by his still troubled Achilles tendon. Again, the team wanted him to have surgery to repair his injuries, but again he refused, deciding to go with stem-cell treatment this time.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 29:  Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants tries to break a tackle against Jim Leonhard #36 of the New York Jets during their pre season game on August 29, 2011 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by J
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

While new age treatment procedures have become a more popular option for many professional athletes, surgery is still considered the better alternative. The fact that Landry opted against surgery in consecutive years for similar injuries leaves something to be said.

While the Jets are desperate to fill the safety position, Landry's medical history should have been a red flag. One of the main reasons the position needs to be filled is because their defensive play caller couldn't stay on the field at the end of the season, when the team needed him most.

Landry has found himself in the same situation the past two years, so does this signing really solve the problem?

Also, Landry's skill sets are very similar to Eric Smith's. While Landry is a much better tackler than Smith, they are both very sluggish in pass coverage situations, one of the Jets' biggest issues last season. Even with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, the pass coverage over the middle was quite porous in 2011.

The Jets cannot stay content with just LaRon Landry as the only prominent safety acquisition. If the Jets were going to sign a safety with questionable leg ailments, wouldn't you rather have the player that has been on your team?

Not to mention, Leonhard brings better pass coverage than Landry and is still considered one of the harder hitting safeties in the league.

While there is still hope they re-sign Leonhard, it is probably going to have to be on the cheap. With Landry signing a one-year, $4 million deal, you would think Leonhard is going to want something similar, given their comparable situations.

However, with the Jets limited cap space it is going to be difficult to give Leonhard a similar deal. Is Leonhard willing to re-sign for a deal worth less than Landry's?