Greatest Strength: Defensive Versatility
Although it’s tempting to go with chalk and list the Jets defensive line as their greatest strength, a possible shift in philosophy suggests that versatility will be a key concept moving forward.
We already know Todd Bowles considers himself a versatile defensive mind. We saw it as he ran one of the better defenses in Arizona under Bruce Arians.
Bowles loved the blitz. He loved sending pressure. With the Jets, however, he didn’t blitz as much as we were used to seeing in the desert. Sure, he still sent heat, but it wasn’t crazy heat like we saw from the Cards in 2014.
The reason is simple: Arizona was so beat up in 2014 that Bowles was forced to blitz as an adjustement to the injuries.
Now, with the addition of rookie Darron Lee, it seems as though the Jets will run more four-man fronts moving forward.
Other evidence includes the signing of a lighter nose tackle in Steve McLendon and the idea that he’ll want Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams on the field at the same time.
While the Jets base personnel on paper will always be a 3-4, their personnel is versatile enough to play a 4-3 as well. Lee fits the WILL position in a 4-3 brilliantly.
Moreover, getting pass coverage butcher David Harris off the field in favor of the speedy Lee on passing downs will increase this versatility. The thought of Lee and Calvin Pryor underneath with Marcus Gilchrist over-the-top is a scary proposition for AFC East QBs.
Big Mo’s ability to play both inside and outside only adds fuel onto this versatility fire.