Hopeful Thinking: Can The Jets Have the Best Defense in NFL History?

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Cornerback Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York Jets warms up on the field prior to the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

The NFL offseason is always good for a laugh or two.  It seems that as soon as the month of February ends, the media strays away from its reporting side, and instead sits back and tried to fill the void in their lives that is the NFL regular season.

I think you'll agree that on more than one occasion in recent history lewd headlines and statements have been put forward by anyone who is anyone in the NFL world. 

It seems if it isn't Brian Urlacher making a fool of himself for the Chicago Bears, it's Terrell Owens hunting down Jay Cutler like some form of modern day Elmer Fudd, but actually succeeding.

However, amongst all of the garbage that is produced during the offseason, one theory or question if you will, has stood out to me like a sore thumb. 

Can the New York Jets obtain the role of the best defense in NFL history?

On ESPN.com, writer Bart Scott first suggested this idea in an article he recently wrote that simply put forward the idea that the New York Jets are on the verge of achieving this illustrious title.

Now before you go ahead and make your judgment of this thinking, realistically this question isn't as lewd as many may think. 

Sure, an argument could be made that the writer hasn't considered great past defenses in NFL history, and in fact he has chosen to ignore dominant players from the NFL's past and rather focused on the Jets explosive defensive unit.

So is this totally wrong?  Well, not exactly, but it is worthy of studying the Jets properly to reach a conclusion.

What We Already Know

Firstly, it is important to consider that the Jets do indeed have some talent.  Perhaps one of the greatest cornerbacks today plays in green and white, and his name is Darrelle Revis.

Some may say that Darrelle merely had a lucky season, and that it will be interesting to see how the young and seemingly inexperienced player handles the pressure of the 2010 season.

With this said, a total of 6 interceptions was posted by this man last season, and it is more than fair to say that his effort alone helped propel New York toward the AFC Championship Game.

Big things are expected from No. 24, and while the Charles Woodson and Nnamdi Asomugha comparisons continue to leave NFL fans in a constant debate of who is better, Darrelle Revis should continue his impressive form this season.

The Offseason Defensive Additions

Aside from Darrelle Revis though, looking around the Jets defensive locker room not a whole bunch of talent appears in comparison to other sound defensive units such as Green Bay, Baltimore and Pittsburgh

But of course there is no denying that the addition of Antonio Cromartie should result in some massive plays this upcoming season. 

A serious question must be asked though in regards to whether Cromartie can fit in with the Jets after years adapting and playing under Norv Turner.

Kyle Wilson is also a new addition to the Jets defense and was quite a steal for New Yorkers, considering the odds they had to overcome in this year's Draft. 

I think everybody expects Kyle Wilson to do extremely well in the NFL, so this pickup is more than just big for the Jets.

The Offseason Defensive Losses

Two words, Lito Sheppard.  He may not be the best cornerback in the league, but he was a stable and consistent cornerback that Jets fans could always depend on season in and season out.

Now, he is a Minnesota Viking, and take it from a Packer fan in saying I know just how it feels to lose a key player to the Purple People Eaters. 

The loss of Lito Sheppard probably isn't anything to worry about, however it could prove costly if the Jets defensive secondary is exposed in the early stages of the 2010 season.

Does the Jets defense compare to the 1980's Chicago Bears?

No, no and no.  This one is a no-brainer, and you only have to look at the ESPN.com poll to realize that the Jets of today don't come close in comparison.

In saying this though, the Jets are on the right track, and although it may seem like I am making an unfair comparison here that will surely result in the Jets coming off second best, the way New York are signing people like it is a new sport surely convinces some that they could be a powerhouse type team in the coming years.

So are the Jets the next best defense in NFL history?

Right now I'd say no.  The path is set and well cemented, but the players are yet to take strides toward it.

In reality, a case could be made for many other teams in the NFL in regards to this debate, but perhaps New York's No. 1 defensive rating in 2009 places them high in peoples thoughts.

Rex Ryan has a stranglehold on this team, and we all know he is relentless on having his Jets becoming the very best in the business. 

The best in history?  Well just hold your horses, Rex, there's still a lot of work to be done.

Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for the Bleacher Report .   He is also an NFL writer for Real Sports Net , and Green Bay Packer writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters .  Don't forget to follow him on Twitter .


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