robert saleh jets jets defensive line
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets have a number of talented and reliable bodies they can field on Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich’s defensive line.

There’s a new defensive staff in Florham Park led by coordinator Jeff Ulbrich along with head coach Robert Saleh, and with that, comes a new scheme.

The Jets are set to mainly run a 4-3 on that side of the ball and thus, in order to succeed in the system, need players with the proper skill sets, especially on the defensive line.

The first few regular-season games will provide a great indication as to whether the Jets employ those right d-line pieces. But even at this moment, Saleh is confident in who he could field.

“[I like] the depth [on the defensive line] — we can truly come at them in waves,” he told the media Monday. “We usually activate eight guys on the d-line and we want all eight playing a significant amount. Especially on the inside where you’ve got Quinnen [Williams], Foley [Fatukasi], Shep [Nathan Shepherd], Rank [Sheldon Rankins], Tanzel [Smart] is doing a great job and so is John Marshall. I’m sure I’m missing someone.

“It’s a really good interior group, it’s very deep. The amount of push they get is pretty cool.”

Great news in regard to the defensive line arose Monday — the Jets officially activated Quinnen Williams off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Williams underwent surgery in May to repair a small broken bone in his foot.

While the organization will ramp Williams up, the expectation is that he’ll be ready for Week 1 (Sunday, Sept. 12). The third-year player will most definitely start on the interior of this line, and for good reason.

“The man is just pure mass…he’s enormous,” Saleh said. “To get all of that mass moving forward without having to read anything on the fly…it’s hard to stop that mass from moving. Especially with how strong he is, how smart he is, how violent he is, and how explosive he is. So the amount of knockback we feel like he’d be able to generate in this scheme and the amount of disruption we feel like he’d be able to generate — it’s going to be awesome.

“Obviously, he’s behind. He didn’t have OTAs, he didn’t have training camp, and he’s got a lot of catching up. It’s not a simple technique; it takes a lot of reps and a lot of trust. So, getting him back is exciting.”

Despite needing the appropriate amount of time to become accustomed to the scheme, Williams possesses the talent and ability to adapt for the Week 1 matchup against Carolina.

The Jets certainly need Quinnen on the field as much as possible if he’s healthy. His talent will help the team’s run defense build on its strong 2020 performance (12th in the NFL with 112.0 rushing yards allowed per game).

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.