The reaction of New York Jets fans in late April may have not been the most positive in lieu of taking two more defensive players. The most interesting part of Rex's most recent draft as the New York Jets head coach came when they took a defensive lineman with their second 1st round selection, marking the third years in a row that they have taken a defensive lineman in the first round.
If there's one thing that one shouldn't question, it's Rex's ability to analyze defensive line talent. Muhammad Wilkerson (2.0 sacks), Sheldon Richardson (1.0 sack), and Quinton Coples (multiple hurries) dominated the line of scrimmage versus the Buffalo Bills. The Jets as a whole recorded 8.0 total sacks against the EJ Manuel lead Bills, the most any fan will probably remember since the John Abraham/Shaun Ellis era.
The structure of the defense is truly remarkable as it's a very good young core for what Rex wants to do. Wilkerson might be in a class of his own in terms of defensive lineman who change a game as he is the entire package of penetration, eating up blockers, and simply bowling them over. His athleticism at 6'4" 315 lbs. is remarkable, and to be able to pair him up with two other defensive lineman in Damon "Snacks" Harrison & Richardson who can penetrate, makes Mo a deadly force. Rex understands how the 3-4 defense works incredibly well, and has built the front seven in such a way that there are lots of big bodies for frequent rotations, along with two inside linebackers with incredibly good instincts and tackling ability. Demario Davis' sideline to sideline ability cannot be undervalued as he allows the rest of the linebackers to fill their gaps hard so he can roam.
The box score showed up as only a 7 point game, as the Jets essentially marched the Bills down the field with penalty after penalty late in the game, totaling 20 penalties and becoming the first team to win with that many penalties in decades. Rex Ryan quickly demanded to fix this in instituting a 'pushup for penalty' policy in practice that they formerly did in 2010. Rex's overall coaching of the game may come into question with two suspect challenges, but one must focus on the positives of a promising victory.
Geno Smith and the offensive output for this game cannot be ignored either, as they were possibly more impressive in their 500+ total yard performance. Geno Smith looks as though he has incredibly thick skin as he looked unfazed by both interceptions he threw. While the play calling may have been called into question last week, it seemed to be on point this week. This is not to say that more run plays will make Geno more effective always, but when the running game is working it needs to be utilized the way Marty Mornhinweg used it this week.
Mornhinweg does not have handcuffs on Smith in terms of throwing the ball down field, which is something that was nearly never allowed by Brian Schottenheimer and Tony Sparano while Mark Sanchez was quarterback. While it may have not played into Sanchez's skill set, teams need to be threatened by a deep ball in order to loosen up underneath passing and the running game. Geno completed passes of 51 and 69 to Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes, the latter being the game winner.
Both the offense and defense looked promising, albeit against the Bills, one cannot be happier with the way the team came out looking for knockout blows on both sides of the ball. The more impressive thing about the ways in which the Jets are winning is that it is coming with a rookie quarterback and more importantly young talent all over the field.