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The Jets did have a defensive weakness over the first six games. Will they be able to get it straightened out? Dan Leberfeld examines this issues . . .
Q)What are your thoughts on the defense after six games?
Ryan: I think we’ll lead the league in defense (by the end of the season). I think we’ll have the best defense in the league. We just want to win and we’re finding ways of doing it. That’s what’s been really impressive with this team.
Leberfeld: One of the most impressive parts of the Jets 5-1 record is that they accomplished that great start with average play from their secondary.
The nickel spot hasn’t been great for the Jets so far, whether it was Kyle Wilson or Drew Coleman, and opponents have picked on this position quite a bit. Why the Jets won’t give Marquice Cole a shot is beyond me.
Then you throw in the Revis’ injury, which forced him out of two games, and limited his effectiveness in two others, and Brodney Pool still not being entirely comfortable in the defense, it’s amazing the Jets only lost one game, against some pretty good passing attacks.
Also, the pass rush was average during this time frame, also not helping the secondary.
Rex Ryan is a defensive genius. I truly believe that, and I don’t think the word “genius” should be thrown around too much in the NFL. And this bye-week gave him a chance to go back into the lab and truly examine what is wrong with the pass defense. All this time to look at film over the last week-and-a-half, really gave Ryan some quality time to add to his playbook and improve what ills the deep patrol.
Getting Revis two weeks of treatment was huge. If they can get him closer to 100 percent, we can finally see the best cornerback combo in football, together and healthy. Antonio Cromartie and Revis are the best cornerback tandem in the league, and now the Jets won’t have to make Revis follow around the other’s team’s top target. They can just leave each corner on their respective sides, and that leads to less moving parts and blown coverages.
As for the pass rush, the bye week was good for Jason Taylor (elbow), Calvin Pace (foot) and Shaun Ellis (knee) to get healthier, and this should improve their pass rushing performances over the last nine games of the season. All three have been playing hurt.
Also, the bye-week allowed Trevor Pryce to get more comfortable in the Jets system. True, the Jets and Baltimore play essentially the same defensive playbook, but there are some differences. The bye-week allowed the cerebral Pryce some quality time to learn the nuances Ryan has added in New York.
While I think the nickel spot is still a major concern, maybe with such good players on the outside in Revis and Cromartie, the Jets can actually give the nickel spot some double-team help.
Expect the Jets pass defense, surprisingly one of the weaker parts of the team over the first seven weeks, to turn into a strength coming out of the bye.