Despite some gaudy statistics in 2011, the defense was not as dominant as it had been the previous two seasons. Highlighting this was the 95 yard drive led by Tim Tebow to end the week 11 matchup against the Broncos or the 99 yard Touchdown given up to the Victor Cruz and the Giants. Many times during the season you would likely see Eric Smith desperately chasing an opposing Tight End or receiver down the field.
After the season the Jets needed to upgrade the back half of the secondary and they needed to improve a pass rush that was led by Aaron Maybin's 6 sacks. In addressing these two major concerns the Jets went out and signed Safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell and drafted big pass rushing DE Quinton Coples.
The big concern with signing Landry and Bell is that they both are liabilities in coverage. The Jets were badly beaten by TE's last year. Teams were targeting the seams with their TE's and were finding a tremendous amount of success. Dallas’ Jason Witten, New England's duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, San Diego's Antonio Gates, Buffalo's Scott Chandler, Washington's Fred Davis and Philadelphia's Brent Celek all had big games against the Jets last year. Despite not excelling in coverage Landry and Bell should make it much more difficult for opposing teams to find openings in the seam and in the deep part of the secondary. It does not look like the Jets will bring back Jim Leonhard, who was lost for the season after tearing up his knee after an INT against the Chiefs last season.
Pass rush was once a Rex Ryan specialty. In 2011, the Jets just could not rush the passer. Aaron Maybin led the team with 6 sacks despite being cut prior to the start of the season and only playing in 13 games. After re-signing with the Jets, Maybin has bulked up and will be on the field more this season as the edge rusher. The Jets also looked to improve their pass rush with the drafting of Quinton Coples out of North Carolina in the first round. Coples is a big, strong and quick player who will be a force on the opposite side of 2011 1 st round pick Muhammad Wilkerson. The infusion of youth on the DL will most likely help to improve a DL that hasn't provided enough of a pass rush on its own.
The Jets will also benefit from the return of Bryan Thomas who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon.
Other Key Additions:
LB – Demario Davis (Rookie), S – Josh Bush (Rookie), S – Antonio Allen (Rookie), DL Coach Karl Dunbar
2011 Key Stats:
|3rd down %||33%||4|
|Red Zone %||52.3%||16|