The front line in the New York Jets 3-4 looks nothing like it did a couple years ago. Long gone are Shaun Ellis and more recently Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha; in are very talented bunch of under-25s. Rex Ryan and Co. will be counting on veteran free agent addition Antonio Garay to fill some of the void at nose tackle while setting an example for the group.
Gang Green has some nice versatile pieces up front in Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Quentin Coples — to name a Jets first-rounder from each of the past three NFL drafts — but there are still questions lingering. The departures of Pouha and DeVito via free agency this offseason take away a major run-stopping presence for the Jets. After all, these two regularly placed in the top 10 at their respective positions in Pro Football Focus run defense grading.
The man relied on heavily to make up for this key facet of Ryan’s defense could be the 6-4, 320-pound Garay. The 33-year-old journeyman has played for four teams since 2004 but only got 151 snaps last season with the San Diego Chargers and was cut. In 2011 he ranked 40th at his position in PFF’s defensive tackle grading.
Garay’s one-year contract with the Jets will be a chance to prove that he’s still got plenty left in the tank to help this franchise stay remotely competitive while rebuilding.
“I want to start, but at the same time it’s all about a rotation,” Garay said of his role with the Jets, via CBS’ WFAN. “How do things work, how do we work together as a unit, that’s the most important thing.”