New York Jets Will Be Without Mike DeVito, One of the NFL’s Best Run Stuffing Defensive Linemen

When people think about some of the best defensive linemen in football, there’s a lot of names that get thrown around.

But one guy that does not get nearly the attention he deserves is New York Jets defensive end/tackle Mike DeVito.

It seems odd that a team that gets as much attention as the Jets would have an elite player that goes virtually unnoticed, but DeVito is one of those blue-collar guys who excels at his job and goes under the radar somehow.

One of the reasons DeVito (#70, above) is so underrated is because he’s not much of a pass rusher and does not put up the flashy sack numbers like others do.

Instead DeVito excels at shutting down the opposing running game, and for the past two years he’s been better at it than any 3-4 end in the NFL.

In Pro Football Focus’s “Three to Focus On” preview for this week’s game, they talk about how important is for the Jets to stop the San Diego Chargers’ running game, led by second-year back Ryan Mathews.

What the Jets will need is an improved effort and performance by run defense as a whole, but particularly Muhammad Wilkerson (-1.6 run defense) and David Harris (-2.7 run defense) as they have been the weak links given that Sione Pouha (+3.3 run defense) and Mike DeVito (+5.3 run defense) have been doing their parts on defense.

Unfortunately for the Jets, they were dealt a huge blow in practice this week, as Mike DeVito banged up his knee and will be unable to give it a go today.

Without their best run stuffer, the Jets will start both of their rookies on the defensive line, as Kenrick Ellis makes his first career start alongside fellow rook Muhammad Wilkerson.

Wilkerson, Ellis and Sione Pouha will start, with Ropati Pitoitua, Marcus Dixon and Martin Tevaseu in the mix in the defensive line rotation.

The Jets will certainly have their hands full with a strong Chargers team that is off to their best start in years, coming off their bye with a 4-1 record.

There’s no doubt in my mind that a Jets run defense that was already pretty shaky will struggle without Mike DeVito. But there’s no excuses. The “next man up” must step it up. Otherwise the Jets will be in serious trouble.


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  • Corvette keith

    The Jets D-line cant get any weaker right now the Rookies need to step up fast. We got 2 weeks to either get devito back or get the rookies up to speed. The bills will be running on us all day if we dont shut it down early. Getting the win over the chargers was huge we should be able to beat the bills with 2 weeks of rest and I think when the Pats come to NY we can beat them to. The easy part of the year hits after these 2 games we just cant fall into a trap game vs the bills.

    • Jon Presser

      Absolutely. I was really worried about how the D-line would do without DeVito, and when Kenrick Ellis left the game early with an injury, I thought they were in big trouble. Sione Pouha did a phenomenal job anchoring the line, and you have to go give credit to the D-line coaches and the players who got in there and held the fort.

      Buffalo’s Fred Jackson is having a Pro Bowl-caliber year and in my opinion he’s right up there with Darren McFadden and Ray Rice among the best running backs the Jets will face all year. To get back into this playoff race I think the Jets have to sweep the two games from Buffalo, and I agree, I think the Jets have a good chance at home versus New England.

      The Jets have a tough schedule this season, but that brutal stretch of three road games in Oakland, Baltimore and New England back-to-back-to-back is as difficult as it’s going to get. I think they’ll be able to manage it the rest of the way. This is a good football team, even if their 4-3 record isn’t outstanding. Just have to go one week at a time now and continue to get better each week.