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Jets Building towards a 4-3 Defense???


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#1 Villain The Foe

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 11:26 PM

http://turnonthejets....a-4-3-defense/

Rex Ryan has never been hesitant about using a variety of defensive looks since becoming the head coach of the New York Jets. However, they have predominantly been a 3-4 team. After a disappointing 2011 season, it appears the Jets will looking to use more 4-3 alignments this season and will be looking for different things out of a few key players in their system.

Surprisingly, defensive line has developed into the deepest position on the Jets roster. They have one of the best nose tackles in football in Sione Pouha, a promising second year player in Muhammad Wilkerson and one of the league’s better run stoppers in Mike DeVito. Behind them, Marcus Dixon was very good off the bench last year at both defensive end and defensive tackle. Last year’s third round pick Kenrick Ellis has the physical potential to be a force inside and Martin Tevaseau is a capable rotation player. Finally, they surprised many by selecting defensive end Quinton Coples in the first round.

On the other hand, the Jets have many questions at linebacker outside of David Harris. Calvin Pace is coming off his worst season with the team and appears to have lost his burst getting after the quarterback. Bart Scott is also coming off his worst season with the team and is a major liability on passing downs. Bryan Thomas is going to be 33 years old and is coming off major surgery. Aaron Maybin is a hybrid defensive end/linebacker and is predominantly just a pass rush threat. Demario Davis has plenty of potential but is ultimately still a third round rookie.

Outside of Maybin (who is built like a safety), the Jets have asked their linebackers to lose weight and improve their speed. Pace and Thomas are going to spend more time being pure linebackers instead of having different formations where they put their hand in the dirt because the Jets have enough capable defensive lineman.

It is a smart move by Rex Ryan to cater his defense to his depth chart. These is no need to fit square pegs in round holes. You play to your strengths and the Jets strength should be their defensive line more so than their linebackers. Ryan wisely hired a defensive line coach in Karl Dunbar, who was coaching a 4-3 in Minnesota to help with this adjustment. The Jets have a versatile front with most players being able to slide between defensive tackle and defensive end. Ryan should be able to send out a myriad of lineups that could both stop the run and rush the passer.

For example, a line-up with DeVito and Pouha at defensive tackle with Coples and Wilkerson at end, should be capable against the run while still getting push to the quarterback. On third downs, you could slide Coples inside to defensive tackle, bring Aaron Maybin in at end and then replace Bart Scott with Demario Davis or an extra safety to get after the quarterback.

Regardless of what the Jets de facto starting line-up ends up being, expect to see four to five defensive lineman getting major reps throughout the game while a player like Bryan Thomas could end up playing less than 50% of the snaps. It is also hard to see a scenario where Pace and Scott don’t see a decline in their reps.

The Jets strength on defense is cornerback and defensive line, Rex Ryan should be smart enough to build his game-plans around these two positions

Edited by Villain The Foe, 11 May 2012 - 11:29 PM.

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#2 SenorGato

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 12:18 AM

One of my draft predictions that this would become a thing! Yeeeees *fist pump*

They're building a defense that counters how they build offenses today, headlined by the Patriots.
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#3 #27TheDominator

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 12:51 AM

http://turnonthejets....a-4-3-defense/

Outside of Maybin (who is built like a safety), the Jets have asked their linebackers to lose weight and improve their speed. Pace and Thomas are going to spend more time being pure linebackers instead of having different formations where they put their hand in the dirt because the Jets have enough capable defensive lineman.

It is a smart move by Rex Ryan to cater his defense to his depth chart. These is no need to fit square pegs in round holes.


Don't those two statements kind of contradict each other? The Jets are going to use a system that suits their players, but their players have to change their body composition to suit the new D? The fact is Thomas and Thomas are are more DE than 4-3 OLBs. They will probably play more 4-3 and multiple fronts - but I don't think that's anything particularly new for this team.
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#4 SenorGato

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 12:53 AM

Btw Coples is huge. I've somehow ignored that, but I'm liking him on the DL more and more.

Post draft watching his college stuff I'm seeing him in a different light. He's huge. He also played with pretty crappy technique in college too often and would lose power and balance.
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#5 #27TheDominator

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 01:04 AM

Btw Coples is huge. I've somehow ignored that, but I'm liking him on the DL more and more.

Post draft watching his college stuff I'm seeing him in a different light. He's huge. He also played with pretty crappy technique in college too often and would lose power and balance.


They should cut Devito! ;)
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#6 Villain The Foe

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 01:25 AM

Don't those two statements kind of contradict each other? The Jets are going to use a system that suits their players, but their players have to change their body composition to suit the new D? The fact is Thomas and Thomas are are more DE than 4-3 OLBs. They will probably play more 4-3 and multiple fronts - but I don't think that's anything particularly new for this team.


I see what you're saying but I think that the suiting the players comment was geared more to the strength/talent/depth of our defensive linemen than it was our LB core. They lost weight because they were slow. I would figure that they would have to still establish speed even in a 4-3. Much of their rushing assignments would simply be handled by the DE's, but if they are called on to blitz they will have that speed to do so. Thats my thoughts on it atleast. Like I said, I see what you mean.

I personally would like to see a 4-3 defense. All that "guessing where the 4th rusher is coming from" isnt really making a significant impact, and trying to find/draft these special hybrid players who are always potential busts is even more of a headache. Let the DT's stuff the run and push up the middle and the DE's contain and pressure the QB.
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#7 CM28

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 03:51 AM

I think/hope you are right. First quote of myself a while back:


Posted Image Posted by CM28 on 20 February 2012 - 08:41 PM in New York Jets Message Board
I too would be pissed if we let Pouha go, but the risk of that after signing Dunbar should be less than zero. Doesn´t add up at all. Especially if he and Rex might try to go 4-3.
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#8 slats

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 05:13 AM

Don't those two statements kind of contradict each other? The Jets are going to use a system that suits their players, but their players have to change their body composition to suit the new D? The fact is Thomas and Thomas are are more DE than 4-3 OLBs. They will probably play more 4-3 and multiple fronts - but I don't think that's anything particularly new for this team.


I agree with this. Coples and Wilkerson are the size of 4-3 DTs (remember Herm turning Shaun Ellis into a DT?), and Thomas and Pace are the size of 4-3 DEs. Also, to the article, Aaron Maybin would be the largest safety ever at 6'4" 240...

But that said, the 3-4 is more of a run stuffing dee, and no one but the Jets runs the football anymore. That Matt Berning dude looked awesome last summer, but there was no place for him on the roster. Maybe there will be if a lot more 4-3 is in their plans. Thinking strictly about just beating the Pats, more 4-3 makes sense. I think Rex and Pettine like guys who give them a lot of flexibility to change game plans week to week, or in the second half.
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#9 T0mShane

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 05:24 AM

I agree with this. Coples and Wilkerson are the size of 4-3 DTs (remember Herm turning Shaun Ellis into a DT?), and Thomas and Pace are the size of 4-3 DEs. Also, to the article, Aaron Maybin would be the largest safety ever at 6'4" 240...

But that said, the 3-4 is more of a run stuffing dee, and no one but the Jets runs the football anymore. That Matt Berning dude looked awesome last summer, but there was no place for him on the roster. Maybe there will be if a lot more 4-3 is in their plans. Thinking strictly about just beating the Pats, more 4-3 makes sense. I think Rex and Pettine like guys who give them a lot of flexibility to change game plans week to week, or in the second half.


The only way the 4-3 works for them is if they find the rock star pass rushing DE's, though. That'd be a dicey gamble with the current roster. Harris probably isn't fast enough to play MLB and you'd essentially be throwing Bart to the bench. I agree that it'd be fun to watch Coples and Wilkerson get better match-ups on the 4-man line, but the other pieces just aren't there. IMO, we'd look a lot like the Pats defense, just with better corners.
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#10 slats

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 06:10 AM

The only way the 4-3 works for them is if they find the rock star pass rushing DE's, though. That'd be a dicey gamble with the current roster. Harris probably isn't fast enough to play MLB and you'd essentially be throwing Bart to the bench. I agree that it'd be fun to watch Coples and Wilkerson get better match-ups on the 4-man line, but the other pieces just aren't there. IMO, we'd look a lot like the Pats defense, just with better corners.


We don't really disagree here.

I think people see all these DL guys think, "OMGZ, Jets should run a 4-3!" when the reality is that the Jets don't have the personnel for it. One -or two- of Pace, Thomas, or Maybin would lineup at DE in a Jets 4-3. Maybin has good size for a 4-3 LB, but really doesn't have the skill set. He's a guy you want going after the passer, so he moves up to the line. If a guy like Berning pans out, then the Jets could possibly field three genuine 4-3 LBs in Davis, Harris, and Berning, but that's pushing it.

I just think the Jets will be running a ton of nickel -which they've always done- and move Coples inside and out. Pace (Thomas), Wilk, Pouha, and Coples would be a big, physical 4-3 DL, with some ability to get to the passer. Pace (Thomas), Wilk, Coples, Maybin would be more pass rush. The Wilk, Pouha, Devito, Coples DL that I think some people are imagining doesn't make a lot of sense. Pace and Thomas are not 4-3 LBs, and the Jets would look very slow in that formation.

Edited by slats, 12 May 2012 - 06:10 AM.

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#11 flgreen

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 06:31 AM

Jets base defense is a 3-4, but they run a modified 4-3 about 40% of the time. I doubt that basic look is going to change.

Coples is an inside guy. DE in the 3-4/ 5 Tech DT with Maybin, hand in the dirt, off his right shoulder in the 4-3.

Moving Coples to a 4-3 DE is a mistake. They did that his senior year NC with very poor results
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#12 Smashmouth

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:42 AM

Some things that were said on this subject about 3 weeks ago before the Jets cut Ropati


http://forums.jetnat...changes-coming/
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#13 Larz

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 08:45 AM

it's a passing league, they'll be in the nickel more than anything and some 46 thrown in with some 3-4 and 4-3
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#14 KINGDIRK

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 08:59 AM

Adapt or die. This is becoming a passing league so an evolution to a 4-3 is important. The draft is always a crapshoot but easier to find a rushing 4-3 DE, then trying to project how a player might be in a hybrid 3-4 OLB position. Deep down Rex knows this and I think we are starting to see proof in the personel.

Look at the last 3 Super Bowls. Giants, Pats, Packers, Steelers, Saints, Colts.....all these teams are pass first. $hit the Giants had the worst run game in the league (even if they improved slightly during the SB run) and won it all.

Wait a second.....the rules are constanly changing to help offenses, the league is evolving into a pass first league........and we want to ground and pound with Wayne Hunter at RT, no real blocking TE and Shonne Greene as the headline RB? Where's the logic here?
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#15 Smashmouth

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 09:41 AM

Adapt or die. This is becoming a passing league so an evolution to a 4-3 is important. The draft is always a crapshoot but easier to find a rushing 4-3 DE, then trying to project how a player might be in a hybrid 3-4 OLB position. Deep down Rex knows this and I think we are starting to see proof in the personel.

Look at the last 3 Super Bowls. Giants, Pats, Packers, Steelers, Saints, Colts.....all these teams are pass first. $hit the Giants had the worst run game in the league (even if they improved slightly during the SB run) and won it all.

Wait a second.....the rules are constanly changing to help offenses, the league is evolving into a pass first league........and we want to ground and pound with Wayne Hunter at RT, no real blocking TE and Shonne Greene as the headline RB? Where's the logic here?


There is NO logic to anything the Jets say or do. I also find it funny the Jets consider themselves Ground and Pound Yet they put no real effort into getting REAL blocking TE's nor do they plug weaknesses on the O-Line at RT and LG. Also I would think if you compare the Jets stable of RB's to the rest of the league you would probably wind up somewhere in the middle nothing special here. Do the best passing teams skimp on WR talent ? or pass blocking O-Lines ? The wildcat is a predictable offense with Tebow running it and good solid defenses will exploit it EVERY TIME. What do you run into in the Playoffs ? Good Defenses. Sure there are weird exceptions like the Broncos beating the Steelers last year but those are very rare exceptions. That reality became obvious vs the Pats.

When it comes to running a 4-3 as opposed to a 3-4 it only seems to make sense they Drafted a 285 Pound Pass rusher and a 235 fast LB which seems to be more aligned with a 4-3 . Having a Great DE pass rusher in a 3-4 alignment is a very rare thing, that Job is usually left to the weak side OLB. How many HOF DE 's do you know out of the 3-4 alignment ?

None of us have any real Idea of what the Jets are going to do this season with the Offense or the Defense so we will just have to wait an see and then make the assessment on how we drafted. IMO if we stick to a high percentage of 3-4 I think we drafted like Idiots. There is a reason why the Jets have progressively blitzed less over the past 3 years under Ryan and thats because teams pick up the blitz now and have adapted we went from the number 1 blitzing team in 09 to one of the least blitzing teams in 2011 Im not sure what that triggers in Ryans head but I think change is in the cards when it comes to our base defense . Alsp the Dunbar factor may be a tell tale sign of more 4-3 because thats what the guy has done and excelled in. There is a different Technique for D-lineman in the 3-4 vs the 4-3

Edited by Smashmouth, 12 May 2012 - 09:43 AM.

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#16 #27TheDominator

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:20 AM

Now the 3-4 can't stop the pass? Didn't the Jets have a top pass D last year? I don't see the logic there. I agree with Slats and Fl and Larz that they are going to play a ton of different fronts anyway, but the idea of a "Base 4-3" is overstating it by a mile. They have improved their nickel a ton. The LBs are the problem with the nickel and they are the problem with a 4-3. I think they added some safeties that could play nickel LB and a fast LB. I see Coples as useful in the nickel and dime like Tuck. An outside guy that can produce inside on passing downs. They have more versatility, but I don't see why everbody wants to switch to 4-3. Hasn't the D been great under Rex? Haven't a ton of teams switched to base 3-4 over the past few years including the all-world 49ers? . This isn't your father's read and react 3-4.
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#17 stoicsentry

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:44 AM

There is NO logic to anything the Jets say or do.

:sign0103-1:

I'll put your armchair analysis up against the fact that they have had a top 5 defense 3 years running and made the AFCCG 2 of the past 3 years any day.
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#18 Smashmouth

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:58 AM

:sign0103-1:

I'll put your armchair analysis up against the fact that they have had a top 5 defense 3 years running and made the AFCCG 2 of the past 3 years any day.


You either get better or you dont . If you think the Jets defense was heading in the right direction your not paying attention. Our defense was also run over by Manning in year one when we had a very nice lead. Where was the leagues number one defense then ?? The Pats certainly ate Manning up for many years on their way to 3 SB's . While I feel our defense is very good they do have weaknesses that were exploited in both AFCCG's . When the Pats won their SB's that offense was not lighting anyone up they won on defense when the Offense got epic like when they added Randy Moss they got shut down by a hot Giants defense. Same thing last year. What defense was that ? 4-3 If anything our defense is inconsistent in big games since the next year we actully shut Manning and Brady down only to let the Steelers run the ball down our throats for the entire first half of AFCCG two. We have slow LB's and are weak at safety so the Jets drafted a 3-4 DE and a fast LB in round 3 who seems more suited for the 4-3 lets see how they play it.

Almost forgot we also added an injury prone SS

My problem is not with Rex or his defensive scheme its with our personnel decisions

Edited by Smashmouth, 12 May 2012 - 12:01 PM.

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#19 SenorGato

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 12:12 PM

Now the 3-4 can't stop the pass? Didn't the Jets have a top pass D last year? I don't see the logic there. I agree with Slats and Fl and Larz that they are going to play a ton of different fronts anyway, but the idea of a "Base 4-3" is overstating it by a mile. They have improved their nickel a ton. The LBs are the problem with the nickel and they are the problem with a 4-3. I think they added some safeties that could play nickel LB and a fast LB. I see Coples as useful in the nickel and dime like Tuck. An outside guy that can produce inside on passing downs. They have more versatility, but I don't see why everbody wants to switch to 4-3. Hasn't the D been great under Rex? Haven't a ton of teams switched to base 3-4 over the past few years including the all-world 49ers? . This isn't your father's read and react 3-4.


The 3-4 is most definitely not just a run stopping scheme. If anything it came back because of it allows more coverage flexibility and size/athleticism.

Belichick's was all about the cover 2 in its prime.
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#20 Sperm Edwards

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 12:36 PM

There is NO logic to anything the Jets say or do. I also find it funny the Jets consider themselves Ground and Pound Yet they put no real effort into getting REAL blocking TE's nor do they plug weaknesses on the O-Line at RT and LG. Also I would think if you compare the Jets stable of RB's to the rest of the league you would probably wind up somewhere in the middle nothing special here. Do the best passing teams skimp on WR talent ? or pass blocking O-Lines ? The wildcat is a predictable offense with Tebow running it and good solid defenses will exploit it EVERY TIME. What do you run into in the Playoffs ? Good Defenses. Sure there are weird exceptions like the Broncos beating the Steelers last year but those are very rare exceptions. That reality became obvious vs the Pats.

When it comes to running a 4-3 as opposed to a 3-4 it only seems to make sense they Drafted a 285 Pound Pass rusher and a 235 fast LB which seems to be more aligned with a 4-3 . Having a Great DE pass rusher in a 3-4 alignment is a very rare thing, that Job is usually left to the weak side OLB. How many HOF DE 's do you know out of the 3-4 alignment ?

None of us have any real Idea of what the Jets are going to do this season with the Offense or the Defense so we will just have to wait an see and then make the assessment on how we drafted. IMO if we stick to a high percentage of 3-4 I think we drafted like Idiots. There is a reason why the Jets have progressively blitzed less over the past 3 years under Ryan and thats because teams pick up the blitz now and have adapted we went from the number 1 blitzing team in 09 to one of the least blitzing teams in 2011 Im not sure what that triggers in Ryans head but I think change is in the cards when it comes to our base defense . Alsp the Dunbar factor may be a tell tale sign of more 4-3 because thats what the guy has done and excelled in. There is a different Technique for D-lineman in the 3-4 vs the 4-3

So there is no logic to anything the Jets do except when it comes to drafting, extending, and generally babying Mark Sanchez. lol


The Jets are ground and pound for 3 reasons:

1) The QB sucks.

2) It eats up clock and that keeps the defense off the field longer (in theory).

3) It is less likely to result in turnovers (see #1) and therefore is less likely to march the D back onto the field so quickly (see #2).
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#21 Integrity28

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 12:38 PM

Dunbar is a position coach. He teaches technique, he doesn't install complete schemes.

He is one of the better DL coaches in football. Rex places a HUGE amount of value on the DL and secondary. Do the math.

The conjecture extrapolated from a simple position coach hiring is amusing. We'll do what we always do on defense, multiple fronts. The goal with adding more talent and better coaching to the DL is to have them collapse the pocket faster (no matter what front we are running) in order to free up the LBers and secondary for coverage assignments, I would imagine.
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#22 Villain The Foe

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 01:58 PM

The only way the 4-3 works for them is if they find the rock star pass rushing DE's, though. That'd be a dicey gamble with the current roster. Harris probably isn't fast enough to play MLB and you'd essentially be throwing Bart to the bench. I agree that it'd be fun to watch Coples and Wilkerson get better match-ups on the 4-man line, but the other pieces just aren't there. IMO, we'd look a lot like the Pats defense, just with better corners.


Maybin as an edge rusher as well? Didnt Coples play in the 4-3 in college? Wilkerson and Coples could play both inside and outside, maybe even Devito. Pouha would be even more steller with more opportunities at seeing single blocks. A 4-3 would probably be more of a straight forward scheme for a guy like Kendrick Ellis. We have a few other DT's as well.

Being able to switch DE's between Maybin, Coples, Wlikerson, Devito along with 2, possibly 3 of them being able to play both inside and out would be very beneficial.

Harris may need some more speed, but we did draft Davis who can play middle and outside. We can rotate Maybin back there at times, and some may have forgotten but we picked up Ricky Sapp from Clemson that has some promise. How about playing that rookie safety Allen as a Nickel LB? He played in the box his entire college career. We have the talent, we have to use it properly.

I think the transition wouldnt be too hard. Having Maybin rushing the QB 2 or 3 downs every opponent possession in itself would help out this defense.

3rd and long having him rush from the LB position while having Coples, WIlkerson, Pouha and Ellis as the front 4? Maddness I tell ya!

Edited by Villain The Foe, 12 May 2012 - 02:07 PM.

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#23 Villain The Foe

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 02:01 PM

Jets base defense is a 3-4, but they run a modified 4-3 about 40% of the time. I doubt that basic look is going to change.

Coples is an inside guy. DE in the 3-4/ 5 Tech DT with Maybin, hand in the dirt, off his right shoulder in the 4-3.

Moving Coples to a 4-3 DE is a mistake. They did that his senior year NC with very poor results


I thought they moved Coples to a 4-3 DT his senior year
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#24 #27TheDominator

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 02:01 PM

You either get better or you dont . If you think the Jets defense was heading in the right direction your not paying attention. Our defense was also run over by Manning in year one when we had a very nice lead. Where was the leagues number one defense then ?? The Pats certainly ate Manning up for many years on their way to 3 SB's . While I feel our defense is very good they do have weaknesses that were exploited in both AFCCG's . When the Pats won their SB's that offense was not lighting anyone up they won on defense when the Offense got epic like when they added Randy Moss they got shut down by a hot Giants defense. Same thing last year. What defense was that ? 4-3 If anything our defense is inconsistent in big games since the next year we actully shut Manning and Brady down only to let the Steelers run the ball down our throats for the entire first half of AFCCG two. We have slow LB's and are weak at safety so the Jets drafted a 3-4 DE and a fast LB in round 3 who seems more suited for the 4-3 lets see how they play it.

Almost forgot we also added an injury prone SS

My problem is not with Rex or his defensive scheme its with our personnel decisions


You want to copy the Giants defense now? You haven't watched many Giants games, have you? The defense was slow, so they drafted speed. Heaven forbid!
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#25 Villain The Foe

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 02:08 PM

Now the 3-4 can't stop the pass? Didn't the Jets have a top pass D last year? I don't see the logic there. I agree with Slats and Fl and Larz that they are going to play a ton of different fronts anyway, but the idea of a "Base 4-3" is overstating it by a mile. They have improved their nickel a ton. The LBs are the problem with the nickel and they are the problem with a 4-3. I think they added some safeties that could play nickel LB and a fast LB. I see Coples as useful in the nickel and dime like Tuck. An outside guy that can produce inside on passing downs. They have more versatility, but I don't see why everbody wants to switch to 4-3. Hasn't the D been great under Rex? Haven't a ton of teams switched to base 3-4 over the past few years including the all-world 49ers? . This isn't your father's read and react 3-4.


Very true
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