By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
With reports emerging that the Jets will follow their New England rivals and start to utilize more 4-3 looks, it will be interesting to see how they mix and match personnel on the four-man front.
The move to a 4-3 makes a ton of sense after drafting a player like Quinton Coples, who is more of a hybrid defensive end/defensive tackle than a 5-technique defensive end.
Here are some of the possible four-man defensive line groupings the Jets could use this season (names are lined up starting with the right defensive end, working to the left):
Run Stopping: Bryan Thomas, Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, Calvin Pace
This is the most boring and bland mix of players possible, but it would be the most effective run-stopping grouping possible. All four players are experienced vets, that, while are not a collectively dynamic pass-rushing unit, will set the edge and prevent any big run plays from happening.
Strength: Run Stopping, Experience
Weakness: Pass Rush
All-Out Pass Rush: Aaron Maybin, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Calvin Pace
This would be the Jets version of what the Giants like to call “Four Aces”, getting their best pass rushers on the field, regardless of position. You could also kick Coples outside, but his presence as an interior pass-rusher is more valuable than as an edge rusher, especially against guys like Tom Brady.
Strength: Speed, Pass Rush
Weakness: Runs to the left
Bryan Thomas, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Calvin Pace
This is still more of a pass-rushing front, particularly on the interior. The only difference between this front and the pass-rush front is that Bryan Thomas replaces Aaron Maybin for added muscle for run support.
Strength: Interior Pass Rush, Perimeter Runs
Weakness: Edge Rush
Quinton Coples, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, Muhammad Wilkerson
This front has a lot of potential because of its versatility. While Pouha and DeVito are not going to get much pressure on passing downs, nothing is running up the middle against these two. Meanwhile, Wilkerson can play the role of a “read and react” base end, while Coples will be the primary pass rusher
Strength: Interior Runs
Weakness: Interior Pass Rush
Calvin Pace, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sione Pouha, Quinton Coples
This is perhaps the most “complete” combination of fronts. The Jets are able to get three pass-rushers on the field without sacrificing size and run support. With Pouha eating up blocks, Wilkerson could wreak havoc in the backfield.
Strength: Pass Rush
Weakness: Unnatural Positions