New York Jets: How to Defend the Spread Offense with the 46 Defense

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IMay 17, 2012

A great way to defend the spread offense is to put so much pressure in the quarterback's face that he doesn't have time to make a throw, and can't see more than five feet in front of him.

Rex Ryan and the New York Jets subscribe to this philosophy, and while it may look like the Jets are simply throwing the kitchen sink at opposing quarterbacks, there's a method to the madness.

And Emory Hunt of gives us this video explaining just how to do it (hat tip to Brian Bassett of The Jets Blog for the find).

One of the most interesting notes from this video is the weakness of the 46, which Hunt points out is running off-tackle out of the spread set. If a receiver takes his man out of the picture, it can open up a huge hole on the outside.

That helps explain why the Jets have invested so heavily in their defensive line over the past few seasons, drafting both Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples while re-signing nose tackle Sione Pouha. Dominating at the line of scrimmage is a big factor in running the 46 defense effectively.

Another good nugget to come from this video helps explain the importance of the safety position in the defense, and alludes to some of the problems facing the Jets as they prepare to defend the New England Patriots:

Imagine if [the offense] has a good tight end. You want to get a good bump on him at the line of scrimmage. Imagine a team like the Atlanta Falcons [who have] Tony Gonzalez. If you get a good bump on him at the line of scrimmage, it slows down the timing and allows the pass rush to get to the quarterback.

Signing free-agent strong safety LaRon Landry and drafting Josh Bush and Antonio Allen gives the Jets some options, but they could still have a hard time manning up against Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, who have had their way with the Jets in the past two seasons, gashing the Jets defense on 32 receptions for 419 yards and three touchdowns in four regular season games.

The Dolphins and the Bills don't have quite the talent at tight end that the Patriots do, but could still be able to exploit the weakness in the Jets defense at safety.

While the Jets may have a hard time defending tight ends, their man coverage scheme has given the Patriots wide receivers some problems.

Maybe the wide receivers aren't as great at getting off bump coverage. So that's why you utilize bump man, because you want to get these guys in a situation where, again, it slows down the timing of an offense and it also gives you guys an opportunity to get more pressure on the quarterback, especially if a team runs a lot of short routes like slants, crossing routes, digs [and] short in routes.

The Patriots smaller wide receivers have been thrown off by the physical press corners of the Jets, which throws off the timing between the wide receivers and the quarterback. 

That same philosophy will come in handy against the Miami Dolphins for years to come; as the Dolphins look to install their West Coast offense, a system predicated off short timing patterns, the Jets will look to fluster the rhythm and timing that are so important to the functionality of the system.

There are plenty more nuggets where that came from, but highlights many of the strengths and weaknesses of the 46 defense.

Watch the entire video above for more.


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