Entering his fourth season as head coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan has always been looking for that one missing piece on defense. The piece that can make the difference between a great defense, and a dominant one.
Without question, Rex Ryan knows how to put together a great defense. In his ten seasons on the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff, the Ravens never had a defense that finished lower than 6th in overall total defense.
That’s what got Ryan his first head coaching job in New York, and in his three seasons as Jets head coach, Ryan’s units have finished 1st, 3rd, and 5th respectively in total defense.
Despite the strong performances year in and year out, the elephant in the room has always been the lack of a dynamic pass rushing threat. Ryan’s always found a way to scheme around it, but it’s a tough thing to do.
However, this season the Jets think they’ve got the difference maker they’ve been looking for. With their first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Jets believe they’ve found their man.
In the 6’6, 284 lb Quinton Coples, the Jets think they’ve got a dynamic physical talent, capable of making plays, while also being capable of taking on blocks, opening up opportunities for teammates to make plays as well.
Coples officially signed with the Jets this week, and I know fans are eager to see what he can do.
Outside linebackers Calvin Pace and Aaron Maybin also figure to see snaps as down linemen at times, with Coples having the versatility to shift inside on passing downs and rush from a defensive tackle spot.
With Coples in the fold, the goal will be for the Jets to generate pressure without having to bring extra rushers. The fewer players they need to send after the quarterback, the more players they’ll have available in coverage.
With Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie anchoring the outside, and new pieces LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell in the middle., it won’t be easy for any quarterback to get too comfortable. Especially if he’s under pressure.
Of course, that’s always easier said than done. But for the first time since Rex Ryan came to the Jets in 2009, they really believe they may have all the pieces needed to be a dominant defense in 2012.
Say what you want about Rex Ryan and his unique personality. The man knows how to coach a football team. It wouldn’t be wise to count him out.