Todd Bowles and the New York Jets must challenge their beasts up front to take care of David Johnson and the Arizona Cardinals run game.
The New York Jets rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense surrendering a robust 303 passing yards per game. The Jets also rank No. 1 in all the land in terms of defending the run, allowing just 68.4 yards a contest.
There’s something quite wrong here. For a defense that’s played so terribly in 2016 — allowing 27.2 points a game (25th in the league) — this lopsided stat category is highly troublesome.
It falls directly on the shoulders of the coaching staff, mainly Todd Bowles. His inappropriate usage of his sub-packages, in keeping both David Harris and Darron Lee on the field when a dime personnel should lurk, has forced this lopsided stat line to occur.
On Monday Night Football in Glendale, the only shot New York has is if it challenges Bruce Arians and David Johnson to run the ball.
Unfortunately, this shouldn’t be the squad the Jets should look to play light against. The clubs Bowles should have went lighter against were the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, and Pittsburgh Steelers — not only because Travis Kelce and Jimmy Graham run like wideouts as tight ends — but because all three teams can seriously move the ball through the air.
The Cards sport the type of offense that matches up perfectly with the Jets ancient defensive philosophies of taking care of the run first. Arizona’s passing game ranks just 16th while it’s running game is up there at seventh.
Johnson is a complete stud at the running back spot. His unique blend of beastly power and gazelle-like speed has his name ranked No. 5 in the league in rushing.
Nevertheless, Bowles needs to start the normalcy of going lighter in sub packages and worrying more about the passing game. Leaning on the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, and Steve McLendon wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Additionally, throwing Calvin Pryor in the box on passing downs would create enough of a balance to feel comfortable.
Forget the fact that Johnson is such a beast behind Carson Palmer. If the Jets want to have any chance on Monday night, they’ll first worry about Carson Palmer and the most dangerous group of weapons in the NFL (Larry Fitzgerlad, Michael Floyd and John Brown).
Throw out a dime against a 3 WR set. Throw out a quarter against the Cards routinely looking 4 WR set. Do this and rely on your beasts up front to earn their money.
Stop the pass first and lean on your studs up front to take care of the run. For the first time this season, Todd Bowles and the New York Jets need to change the narrative on defense.