A look at the New York Jets Defensive positional breakdown

Christopher Johnson, New York Jets CEO (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Christopher Johnson, New York Jets CEO (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

The New York Jets are looking to be the talk of Gotham but have they done enough…?

The New York Jets made some strong moves over the offseason, and here we are in July looking at a team that still is not receiving much praise for the deliberate way they went about getting better and seeking out top-notch talent in Free agency and the Draft.

Adam Gase was allowed to run things his way during his first offseason with the Jets after they removed their General Manager. The Jets weren’t devoid of talent last year. However, it was very apparent they didn’t have the pieces they needed to compliment any of the young stars on the roster.

Gase went to work quickly, making several trades getting rid of players that he felt didn’t fit the profile of what he was looking for and releasing the soldiers he felt wouldn’t fall in line. Too much dismay of certain sportswriters and fans, Coach Gase, flexed his muscle just enough to get things done.

Some may have felt he had too much control to start his tenure with the team, but for Coach Gase, this has become his chance at redemption. When the dust settled, he was left with precisely the team that he assembled for his starting tenure with the Jets.

Though he is still missing some pieces; he did a decent job of adding an influx of talent at each position. In this article, we will take a look at a position by position breakdown and grading to see where the Jets could improve and what talent they currently have on defense heading into the preseason and in preparation for the Snoopy bowl against the New York Giants.

Leonard Williams #92 of the New York Jets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Leonard Williams #92 of the New York Jets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The New York Jets have restructured their defensive line to highlight their two young studs. Leonard Williams survived the purge of the talent from the disgruntled defensive line in the prior years and will be the veteran star pass rusher the Jets have wanted.

L. Williams standing at 6-5 302lbs has the size and quickness to rotate from edge rusher to interior bull rusher to control the pocket and add some much-needed pressure on the top end Quarterbacks in their division.

Williams will be counted on to lead the charge and start the Jets defense off right. The addition of Quinnen Williams from Alabama will give Leonard a strong running mate and will increase the strength of the defensive line overall.

Quinnen Williams at 6-3 302lbs as listed for camp will immediately step in as a rookie and will need to provide an active display of defensive talent right out of the gate. Jets took this young man knowing they would need immediate aid and Quinnen Williams will have every opportunity to succeed with Gregg Williams coaching him.

Ex- Colt Henry Anderson has the opportunity to have a significant impact on this year’s team, he did show up and impress last year. However, with both Williams lining up with him he has a strong chance to come out this year making some noise, with those two possibly demanding double teams regularly.

Overall the Jets have some excellent depth and a mix of veterans and rookies that will bring an above-average rotation to each position. Greg Williams will have his work cut out for him, but if he can unleash the inner beast in those top 4 guys he may have something special in-tow for Jets fans

Defensive Line Grade: B+

C.J. Mosley #57 of the Baltimore Ravens (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
C.J. Mosley #57 of the Baltimore Ravens (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Jets Projected starters at Linebacker are currently Outside linebackers Jordan Jenkins, Brandon Copeland and inside Linebackers C.J Mosley, and Avery Williamson. This group of linebackers has the right mix of talent and leadership sprinkled throughout

C.J Mosley will be the unquestioned leader in the middle of the defense, known for being a hard-hitting smart linebacker. Mosley will be charged with bringing Greg Williams’ dream to life, the combination of Greg Williams’ blitz schemes and the front seven he can put out each week will be a stable marriage.

Avery Williamson will be sliding over to the weak side linebacker spot or the Jack/Mack linebacker spot in the 3-4 looks next two C.J Mosley in the middle. Williamson will be learning a new position but will look to thrive in a fresh scheme with new eyes gazing upon him.

Avery brings a reliable tackling technique and will be crucial in locking down the middle of the defense while the men upfront occupies the gaps against opposing offenses. Learning his new assignments will be essential to his overall success.

Jordan Jenkins has the world in front of him still, as he looks to continue building on his career-high 6.5 sacks from last season. Jenkins will have to dedicate himself to understanding the blitz scheme and the rush patterns of his teammates to capitalize on Gregg Williams’ aggressive play-calling style.

Copeland will most likely be the weakest piece in this linebacker’s core, but fortunately, he’s a talented athlete and can use his combination of speed and natural bend to become a stand out tackling machine in this defense.

Linebacker Grade: B

Trumaine Johnson #22 of the New York Jets (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Trumaine Johnson #22 of the New York Jets (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

The Jets Defensive backfield has the potential to be one of the best in the league and being in a division with Tom Brady who has one of the quickest releases in the game and Josh Allen who will surely be looking to unleash more deep balls this season. The Jets DB’s almost have to be on their A-game every Sunday.

Trumaine Johnson will be looking to have a big year. Hopefully, with his coverage skills and the pressure the Jets are looking to bring with their defensive line rotation, Johnson could have a very good season

At 6’2, 201lbs Johnson can expect to be matched up against every team’s number one wide receiver. He should be expected to get targeted on a regular basis. However, Johnson has the ability to rise to the challenge.

Brian Poole will slide in at the Nickel position and reportedly has already been doing an excellent job in coverage and laying out some big hits on the Jets receivers in camp. Poole will have a tough challenge ahead of him in the AFC East against slot receivers, but if he can rise to it, he may be a massive piece for this Jets team.

Jamal Adams will once again look to be the hard-hitting presences and heart of the Jets team defensively. Adams will be going into another season as the starting safety, and his energy matched up with Gregg Williams could be enough to fuel this defense into the top 10 in the league.

Jets, unfortunately, let two strong pieces of the Special teams go, and now have to look to replace them. Punter Lac Edwards and Long snapper Thomas Hennessy will most likely be returning as starters for the New York Jets.

Having two pieces back is better than the complete overall that could have taken place, losing two Pro-Bowlers still hurts, however. Replacing their kicker and the points he counted for, while also replacing their return man and the field position he provided will be no easy task.

Trenton Cannon and Greg Dortch (Wake Forest alum) will be sharing in the responsibilities of handling kick returns and punt returns going into the preseason. Many fans know a lack of production at either position can quickly have management looking for someone to fill that spot off the street.

Dortch has the college experience returning kicks for over 1,200 yards and two punt return for touchdowns over his two playing seasons at Wake Forest. Cannon, in his second year has some light experience fielding and returning kicks in spot duty.

It will be interesting to see how that competition plays out coming out of the preseason.

Losing Jason Myers will unquestionably hurt the Jets. However, they do have a veteran Kicker in Catanzaro who has more than enough to at least deliver points when the Jets off gets into field goal range.

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I expect that Jets fans will not be pleased after the record-setting year that Myers had but hopefully with a veteran kicker in place and a return man decide on before the regular season the Jets can come close to or duplicate their Special teams success from last year.

Special Teams C+