After two days of lacking power because of the snowstorm that hit the New York area, I am back. We will quickly warp up our bye week approval ratings over the next day. Now we move to the defensive line.
This was billed as one of the strengths of the Jets heading into the season. The unit has underperformed a bit, though. Mike Devito and Sione Pouha have been decent, but they have not manhandled opponents at the point of attack the way they did a year ago. They have been sealed on some big runs. Muhammad Wilkerson has held his own given the difficult assignment he has as a rookie. Few rookie linemen in a base 3-4 come in and light the world on fire. Wilkerson has had his moments, but he is still learning.
The Jets really miss what Shaun Ellis gave them a year ago. Ellis is not lighting the world on fire in New England. I am not sure the team really misses him in his current form, but the team surely misses the player he used to be. Nobody on the defensive line seems capable of generating a push as a pass rusher. Beyond this, Rex Ryan too often goes with really big four man defensive lines with Pouha and Devito in the middle along with Wilkerson and Marcus Dixon on the outside. Bigs like this have trouble beating their man and getting to the quarterback. They are at the best in the run game tying up blockers to keep the linebackers clean.
There could certainly be a course correction in the second half if Pouha and Devito pick up their games, and everything starts to click for Wilkerson. At this point, though, the unit is part of the uncharacteristic struggles against the run game.
What do you think?