New York Jets New Look on Defense Could Translate into New Results
"The Jets are coming, and we're going to give you everything we got. And I think that's going to be more than you can handle."
Rex Ryan wasted little time expressing his attitude and expectations for the coming season. Showing a bluntness and swagger that solemn former coach Eric Mangini notably lacked in his dealings with the press, Ryan opened up his introduction with a Super Bowl prediction.
Of course, an easy going personality and media savy will not be the only changes Ryan will bring to the Jets. Most importantly, the same ultra-agressive approach that has made the Ravens a defensive juggernaut the past four years. With an impressive roster already in place, the Jets promise to have a new look and edge.
While Ryan will feature a 3-4 formation on defense as Mangini did, it is the same in name only. Forever a calculating micro-manager, Mangini often deployed a conservative schemes and was a firm believer in the "bend but don't break" philoshpy.
This was especially apparent in the later half of the 2008 season when a Jet team that was leading the league in sacks reverted to safe play that contributed to the dubious collapse.
Ryan's version will be a stark contrast to his predecessors, placing his defense on the attacking end. Known as 'The Mad Scientist' for his agressive and unpredictable play calling, he will aim to put constant pressure on the opposing offense with an arsenal of stunts and blitz packages.
This in turn will put added pressure on his own players, specifically the secondary. GM Mike Tannenbaum helped to address this concern by adding former pro bowler Lito Sheppard and Jim Leonhard, a Ryan favorite.
Dependable corner play will free up Kerry Rhodes, who struggled last year playing the safety net role. Free to roam and cause havoc, Rhodes could really cause nightmares for opposing coordinator's.
The biggest variable however will be the play of Vernon Gholston, who could literally make be the difference between a solid defense and a truly intimidating one. Thriving on pressure, Ryan's system will require a dominant outside rusher, a role which was projected to be Gholston's specialty.
Nothing short of a disappointment last year, Ryan may be the best candidate to bring out Gholston's vast potential. He is widely credited for helping Terrell Suggs (a similar player coming out of the draft) become the force he is today. He is also known for developing strategies around players strengths.
The new Jets defense will be a hybrid, requiring players to rush, cover and work in space on any given play. To help ease the transition, Ryan has brought in Bart Scott, a stud in the Ravens linebacking core. A leader and playmaker, Scott also has the versitillity to switch from strong side to weak side, creating confusion for offenses.
Whether the transition will go smoothly and generate wins remains to be seen. However, Jets fans are defiantly in for radical new look on the defensive end of the ball. And, if it is the way Ryan envisions, it will be a beautiful sight.
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