New York Jets' head coach Rex Ryan is going to be more involved with the defense this season as a result of the departure of Mike Pettine. For the Jets, that will include a return to the aggressive, attacking style that became their trademark back in 2009. The Jets sat back a bit more with Mike Pettine calling the defense and putting together consistently good defensive outings. While the Jets are selling the philosophical shift as purely a desire to get back to what worked at the beginning of Rex Ryan's tenure with the team, personnel is also a likely factor.
The New York Jets are going back to attacking the quarterback, the ultra-aggressive style that became associated with the Gang Green defense shortly after Rex Ryan took over as head coach. After delegating defensive playcalling duties to Mike Pettine, the defense became a bit less reliant on the blitz, instead flooding the field with defenders in coverage. Every player likes to play aggressive, downhill football on either side of the ball, so the change has been well-received.
The Jets players are pumped up about reverting back to an extremely aggressive defense. David Harris spoke to Rich Cimini about the change and was not only positive about the shift, but also seemed to hint at some dissatisfaction with the way Mike Pettine called the defense:
"We're going to do a lot of blitzing and getting after people," LB David Harris told me the other day. "There should be a different brand of football than you were used to seeing the last couple of years." Asked about last season's philosophy, Harris said, "We played more coverage. It wasn't like '09, that's obvious. That's all I'll say about that."
While the Jets are selling that the change is a result of Mike Pettine leaving and Rex Ryan becoming even more involved defensively, personnel is also playing a part. The Jets were set to trot out Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell as their starting secondary last season. With three of those four gone, plus an influx of young talent in the front seven over the past few years, it makes sense that the team is going to look to pressure the quarterback instead of sitting back and playing coverage.