We move on to one of the most cited problems with the Jets, the lack of a guy who can get to the quarterback.
The Problem: The Jets cannot get to the quarterback without blitzing. Nobody can win a one on one. They need to either fool the opposing blockers or just send more than they block. The issue predates Rex Ryan. This has been the case since John Abraham was traded. You cannot complain about the deal. The Jets got the pick they used to take Nick Mangold. A center like Mangold is rarer than a pass rusher. The Jets just have not been able to find one.
Who Is to Blame? Again, Mike Tannenbaum has to take the heat here. There might not have been a DeMarcus Ware style pass rusher available this year, but there were plenty of cheap potential upgrades there in free agency. Matt Roth, Manny Lawson, and Tully Banta-Cain are three. They got outbid for Antwan Barnes. You cannot blame the pursuit of Nnamdi Asomugha either. The Jets surely could have found enough cap room for at least one of these guys even with Nnamdi in the fold. Even more bizarre was the training camp signing of Aaron Maybin, tacitly acknowledging this area needed an upgrade. Instead of going for a good bargain veteran, the team tried to breathe life into a Draft bust.
Viable Options to Fix the Problem: The Bryan Thomas injury might prove to be a blessing in disguise in this area. You hear a lot about the little things Thomas did. Frankly, from watching him play, I think those are overrated anyway. He's an ok cog if you have nobody else. Nothing more. He was not a good pass rusher. Now Jamaal Westerman gets a chance. I am willing to bet he outperforms Thomas and helps the pass rush a bit. It also means more chances for Maybin, who has actually shown some flashes. Banta-Cain is still available, and the Jets could use somebody for depth. One of the biggest knocks on him as a pass rusher was that a lot of his sacks came against Buffalo. That would be an attribute for an AFC East team.
Prognosis: No matter what happens, this should be all right. The Jets coaching staff has schemed around the problem for two years and produced top ranked defenses. Part of it has been the excellent coverage the Jets have both giving pass rushers extra time and allowing Gang Green to send extra men. The exotic looks have created a solid pass rush. The staff has shown flexibility too. At the end of last season, the blitzes were not working so the coaches played more coverage, and with nobody getting open, the rushers had all day to get to the quarterback. It is unlikely anybody mentioned will emerge as a top pass rusher, but any improvement at all helps.