- LDE: Muhammad Wilkerson, Stephen Bowen
- NT: Damon Harrison, T.J. Barnes, Deon Simon
- RDT: Leonard Williams, Leger Douzable
- LOLB: Calvin Pace, Trevor Reilly
- LILB: David Harris, Erin Henderson
- RILB: Demario Davis, Jamari Lattimore
- ROLB: Quinton Coples, Lorenzo Mauldin
- CB1: Darrelle Revis, Darrin Walls, Dexter McDougle
- FS: Marcus Gilchrist, Jaiquawn Jarrett
- SS: Cavlin Pryor, Ronald Martin
- CB2: Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine, Marcus Williams
Reserves: Sheldon Richardson (DE-SUS), Dee Milliner (CB-IR), Kevin Vickerson, (DT-IR), Antonio Allen, (SS-IR), Dashaun Phillips, (CB-IR)
Practice Squad: Julian Howsare (DE), Jordan Williams (DT), Taiwan Jones (ILB), Rontez Miles (FS), Keon Lyn (CB), Mike Catapano (DE)
The 25-players kept by Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan on defense is pretty standard across the board. Keeping seven defensive lineman in a 3-4 scheme might turn out to be one too many, leaving the secondary a bit thin, but changes will certainly take place down the road.
Much like the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, the New York Jets defensive line is beastly. This is the case even without Sheldon Richardson. Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison and rookie Leonard Williams will be pushing interior lineman around all season long.
This is a great positive when facing Tom Brady. As everybody is well aware, the best way to attack Brady in the pocket is directly up the middle. Coming from the edge never works due to the short amount of time he has the ball in the pocket. Everything is short in that offense and it’s catch and chuck it very quickly. Not to mention when he does go to the intermediate to deep patterns, he loves to step up in the pocket.
The linebacking group up the middle is very tout with David Harris and Demario Davis. Harris is a veteran who has seemingly led the Jets in tackles for the last decade. What he lacks in pass coverage (and he does lack a ton in that regard), Davis needs to make up for.
Along the edge is where the Jets weakness lies. Guys like Quinton Coples, Calvin Pace and Lorenzo Mauldin need to produce a pass rush from the edge this season if the defense wants to contend as a top-five unit.
Having Darrelle Revis back is a gift beyond gifts for Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers. He’s not just the best corner in the league, he completely changes gameplans on Sundays.
Due to the fact he can take the offense’s best weapon out of the game completely, the over-the-top safety can focus so much more elsewhere other than helping over the top on Revis’s side. It’s a skill-set that changes the way defenses play to an incredible degree.
The question of how much Antonio Cromartie has left at 31-years old is a real one. Should he falter though, another newly-acquired guy in Buster Skrine, 2014 surprise Marcus Williams, or second-year Dexter McDougle would fill in nicely.
Cavlin Pryor will have no excuses in 2015. Now that Marcus Gilchrist has deep third responsibilities, Pryor will now be in his regular strong safety spot. In the box playing run support and robbing underneath and in the flats is where Pryor belongs.
Player to Watch:
Like previously mentioned, edge play on this defense will be ultra critical. Lorenzo Mauldin, a third-round pick from Louisville, could be that wild card this unit needs to push themselves to No. 1 in the league.
Although veteran Calvin Pace is still starting at outside backer, he is nowhere near starting caliber anymore. Mauldin will need to step in and take that role over. Being just a situational pass-rusher won’t be good enough.
Most Important Player:
There’s no question who the most important player on the defense is. It’s Darrelle Revis.
He changes games based on his mere presence. Now that he’s 30-years old and has lost a step or two by way of straight-line speed, the question of whether he’ll move from stud to very good will be there. Still, he’s still playing at a level for which Bowles will have Gilchrist doing things from the free safety spot you just can’t do unless you have a Revis on your team.
Barring injuries this unit will be good. They’ll be one of the best in the league. With that interior defensive line it’ll be incredibly hard to run against them. With Revis back in the fold, half the field gets taken away in the pass game.
- Rushing Defense: 3rd in NFL
- Passing Defense: 5th in NFL
- Total Yards Allowed: 2nd in NFL
- Takaways: 7th in NFL