If you were the head coach (more likely, a quality control coach or something) of an opposing team and you were scouting the New York Jets for an upcoming game, what would your game plan say? How would you defend the offense and attack the defense?
The biggest step in defending against the Jets' offense is to show up. I'm not saying you have to be mentally psyched up or anything, you just need to be physically present. In most cases, that will be enough. But seriously, if I were an opposing team, I would do a few things. First, I'd keep eight defenders in the box in almost all circumstances. Especially if Mark Sanchez is the quarterback, the biggest issue is going to be defending against Chris Ivory, Mike Goodson, and a much-improved offensive line.
Next, I'd send random blitzers in and try to disguise my coverages up as much as possible, while throwing as many different looks to the offense as is possible. It's well known that Sanchez has difficulty reading coverages (one of his better games was against the Chicago Bears, whose "simplistic" Cover-2 defense is widely known), and Geno Smith, while a film junkie, will likely struggle his first year.
So the result would be very similar to Rex Ryan's 09-10 defenses, with an emphasis on stopping the run and rushing the passer. Coverage takes a secondary note to those two roles, especially if Santonio Holmes is unable to play.
Attacking the defense is obviously a much more difficult issue. As I discussed in a previous article, the biggest flaw looks to be the run defense. This is where I would begin. I would attack the defensive line and linebackers with jumbo packages, fullbacks, etc. This will make many of the pass rushing plans of the Jets ineffective. Another thing I might try would be to use running backs or tight ends extensively in the passing game in hopes of getting a matchup of Calvin Pace or Quinton Coples. Another weakness is likely to be free safety, so if I'm passing, I'd want it to go against whomever has an outside linebacker or safety lined up across from them; while these positions are typically weaker against the pass than cornerbacks (duh), the issue is even more acute here.
How would you attack the Jets?