New York Jets fans are very familiar with the struggles of the offense and special teams this season. It’s fair to say both units have led to their downfall but the defense should not get overlooked for their performance. Rex Ryan said this group of defenders would end up as being one of the top five in the league. Unless they play with incredible efficiency that we haven’t seen this year; this goal will not be accomplished.
The team is currently ranked 19th in yards-per-game allowing 354.1 a game. This is a major drop off as they came in fifth last year behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
The Jets are a respectable seventh in the NFL in passing yards-per-game. They are allowing 211.3 yards through the air. They finished fifth last season as well. This stat isn’t too awful considering they have been without their best defensive player Darrelle Revis who they lost in the first game against the Miami Dolphins. Revis also missed the game with the Steelers due to a concussion.
The most unexpected drop off has to be in the run defense. The Jets are 30th against the run this season allowing 142.8 yards a game with only the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints being worse. They finished 13th in rush defense last season allowing 111.1 yards a game. Second-year defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis actually grades out as the 15th best run stopper according to Pro Football Focus. Sione Pouha has been in and out of the lineup all season which may contribute to the increase in rushing but does that also mean David Harris and Bart Scott have dropped off?
John Abraham was the last pass rushing threat the Jets have had and they have never been able to replace him. The Jets have only generated 17 sacks this season with Bryan Thomas leading the way with 2.5. Aldon Smith of the 49ers has 16.5 by himself. Thomas’s 2.5 sacks tie him for 97th overall in the league. The scariest part about this is the fact that the Jets released Thomas earlier in the year and picked him back up.
Aaron Maybin led the team in sacks last season with six but he’s no longer on the team. He played in eight games with the Jets and recorded one tackle all year. He has not been signed by another team since being released.
The Jets don’t have much cap room going into next season so it’s imperative that they finally acquire a play making outside linebacker for this defense if they’re going to keep running the 3-4.