Bigger and Biggerer

A news item from today mentioned that the Jets placed Josh Mauga on injured reserve and signed Defensive Tackle Dan Muir to take Mauga's place on the roster. Muir is a decent tackle against the run, with very limited pass rushing ability. What stands out about him is his size. He goes 6' 2", 322. That's in addition to our other defensive linemen. Currently on our roster are the following Defensive Linemen:

Quinton Coples 285

Mike DeVito 300

Kenrick Ellis 346

Damon Harrison 340

Sione Pouha 330

Mohammed Wilkerson 315

That is one GIANT, jumbo sized Defensive Line. When Sione Pouha is only your 3rd biggest lineman, you know you've gone big. There is only one true defensive end in that group (Coples), and even he is just as well suited to playing inside as outside.

Contrast that with our Defensive line of only 2 years ago, which looked like this:

DeVito 300

Marcus Dixon 295

Shaun Ellis 285

Vernon Gholston 260

Sione Pouha 330

Trevor Pryce 295

Jason Taylor 255

That team had only one guy OVER 300 pounds; this team has only one guy UNDER 300 pounds. That team had 3 guys in Ellis, Taylor and Gholston who were clear DEs; this team has only one, Coples, and even he may be as well suited to the inside as the outside. That team averaged 287 across the line; this team averages a monstrous 316.

Before this year started there was much talk about the hiring of Dunbar and how it meant we would be transitioning more to 43 fronts. That sounded good, but there seems to be a problem. A 43 front usually requires 2 monster tackles and 2 smaller, lighter, faster ends who specialize in getting to the QB. The pass rush is supposed to be primarily generated by the two Defensive Ends. The 2010 team had Ellis and Taylor in the pass rushing DE role, and while they were not ideal, they could at least pass for a pair of DEs in a 43 front. This year we have Coples and... who? Wilk and DeVito are both classic 34 ends with limited speed. Ellis, Pouha, Harrison and Muir are all clearly tackles. We just don't really have more than one 43 End on the roster. So it would not seem our personnel is particularly well suited to running a 43 front.

On the other hand, while our monstrous line fits very well into a 34 front, our LBs do not. In a 34 front much of the pass rush is expected to come from the outside LBs. But our outside LBs are old and slow and not very good at rushing the passer. In addition, they have become too slow to set the edge well, resulting in serious weakness in defending the run outside the tackles.

We are left with kind of an odd hybrid personnel package, not really suited well to a 43 front due to the lack of smaller, fast edge rushers on the line, and not really suited to a 34 due to the lack of big, fast outside LBs able to rush the passer and set the edge. It is difficult to understand what exactly is the Jets grand design along the front 7. We seem ill suited to play either the 34 or the 43. Neither fish nor fowl, so to speak, but so far, very foul.

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