Since the beginning of the 1998-1999 season, Jets fans have had little to be excited for when it comes to Gang Green's defense. The glory days of the New York Sack exchange, in the 1980s, with Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko, Marty Lyons, and Abdul Salaam have become distant memories.
Gerry Philbin and Buddy Ryan and the magical season of 1968-1969 have become a whisper. The Jets have seldom had a top-ranked defense since these times. Where has it all gone?
At the beginning of 1997, Bill Parcells brought his defensive guru with him, Bill Belichick. With the tandem of Marvin Jones, Mo Lewis, Aaron Glenn, and more, the two defensive masters began to revive the lost history of a punishing Jets defense.
However, with Parcell's "retirement" in 2000, and Belichick's famous napkin, the hope seemed to just fade away. Al Groh was a failure as a coach in the National Football League, and he brought disunity to the team.
Enter Herm Edwards. The former Defensive Backs' coach from Tampa Bay, under the shadow of the great Tony Dungy, was supposed to change all that. He was supposed to be the savior to the Jets' tradition. Yet all he brought was less penalties to the Jets.
After Edwards ran to the safety of Kansas City, Woody Johnson (the Jets owner) decided to fuel the war between the Jets and Patriots and hire the Patriots' defensive coordinator, Eric Mangini. At the time, Jets fans were ecstatic.
Mangini, however, showed as much emotion as a toy soldier, that, is kinda his M.O.. His defenses were heavy in coverage and lacked the excitement. But Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum (GM) did have an eye for defensive talent. They drafted David Harris, Darrelle Revis, Abram Elam, Vernon Gholston (whom the jury is still out on), and others.
Mangini's lack of creativity, however, caused him to leave New York in the end. He left for Cleveland (well it has more to do with Brett Favre I think, then his boring coaching style).
Woody Johnson decided enough was enough. He brought in passion, toughness, and history. The son of the Super Bowl winning coordinator, Buddy Ryan, Rex Ryan, has become the HC of the NYJ (thanks Belichick).
Ryan is a a blitz-happy, simple defensive minded guy. Defenses win championships. Ryan is a firm believer in that theory, as am I.
Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Lito Sheppard, Kerry Rhodes, David Harris, Calvin Pace, Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis, Bryan Thomas, Darrelle Revis, and Marques Douglas (as of now) are the Jets' starting defense, and I don't want to be on the opposing offenses. This is the new Green Monster, and they are coming after you.