New York Jets

Jets vs. Dolphins: Examining Rex Ryan's Track Record vs. Rookie QBs

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 09:  Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets works on the sidelines during their season opener against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on September 9, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Erik FrenzSenior Writer ISeptember 19, 2012

The New York Jets field one of the most vaunted pass defenses in the league, so it stands to reason that a matchup with a rookie quarterback should tilt the scales in favor of Gang Green.

Statistically, Rex Ryan's Jets defense has performed well against rookie quarterbacks, but not better than they've performed overall.

For purposes of this statistical endeavor, we'll count "rookie" quarterbacks as any quarterback who has yet to play 16 games in the NFL. That broadens the sample size a bit—the Jets have only faced two "true" rookie quarterbacks under Rex Ryan (Josh Freeman in '09 and Colt McCoy in '10).

Rookie quarterbacks have earned a 71.9 passer rating in six games. Since 2009, Rex Ryan's Jets defense averages a passer rating of 67.8 overall against other quarterbacks. The Jets are also 3-3 overall in those games.

Granted, a 71.9 defensive passer rating is still very solid; it's just not exactly as dominant as one might expect from the Jets defense against rookie quarterbacks.

Simply put, the Jets aren't necessarily a lock to give Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill a tough outing. In fact, it has typically been more athletic quarterbacks like Chad Henne and Colt McCoy who have given the Jets defense the toughest time. 

Things will only get more interesting if Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis misses another game. The Jets were exposed on the back end a bit without him, with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger carving the Jets for their highest completion percentage ever under Rex Ryan.

Thankfully for the Jets, they aren't facing Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller again; this time, they get Tannehill, Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and Anthony Fasano.

Tannehill is an athletic quarterback—and looking back at the list, some of the Jets' biggest struggles have been with athletic quarterbacks such as McCoy and Chad Henne—so the Jets need to find a way to get pressure in his face and bring him down. If the Dolphins roll Tannehill out a lot, the best bet would be to drop more men in coverage to clog the lanes where he'll be making reads.

But first and foremost, the Jets should focus on shutting down Reggie Bush. He is by far their best weapon on offense, and if the Dolphins are able to get him going, they'll force the Jets to play the run more than they might like.

And if the Dolphins get their play-action passing game going (and it appears that will be a big part of the game plan going forward), it could be a long day for the Jets defense.

 

Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.

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