Rex Ryan liked what he saw from his second year defensive linemen last week, saying that he needs that level of production from Muhammad Wilkerson each and every week, per the Daily News.
“I think we expect him to play at that kind of level, said Ryan, of Wilkerson, who have seven tackles (five solo) and his first sack of the year against Andrew Luck and the Colts. “I do, I expect him to be at that kind of level every week.”
Wilkerson, in his second year out of Temple, said he’s had his “ups and downs” this year. The up was a nine-tackle game against the Dolphins in Week 3. The low came in Week 5, when he only had a pair of tackles against the Texans.
The Jets will need him to be at the top of his game if they’re going to stop the Patriots rushing attack.
“He has had his moments like that this year but yeah, for us to be successful he has to really play at a super high level,” Ryan said.
Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com
Most likely, the defensive line is going to be left to their own devices much of the day Sunday. With the Patriots playing spread personnel much of the game, the Jets will have as many of their defensive backs and coverage linebackers up for the game Sunday, at the expense of their backup defensive linemen. That means that the Jets are going to be out of their base personnel more often during the game Sunday to help slow the passing game with extra defensive backs, something which will put the pressure back on the defensive line to do more with less.
And that’s where someome like Quinton Coples comes into the picture. George Willis wrote for the Post that the Jets are excited what Coples can do for this defense and he’s just getting going.
Coples is being groomed to be a multi-dimensional defender, someone who can attack from different spots on the field.
“We try to do a lot of things with him,” Ryan said. “I think he’s done a good job playing right, left, all over the place. He’s a rare athlete, a guy with great size, speed and strength. We’ll see when it’s all said and done the kind of player he ends up being. But we certainly feel fortunate that he’s on our team.”
Because of that, Ryan needs to know that his active defensive linemen like Wilkerson, DeVito, Copes and possibly Po’uha can handle two key tasks. First, that they can are strong enough to shed potential blockers to make tackles on runners. Second, that they can penetrate into the backfield to disrupt the timing of the passing game.
When it comes to rushing the passer, the focus always seems go to the edge-rusher, and rightly so, but edge-rushers only get to do that job when opponents are either in specific passing situations or your team is playing with a lead forcing an opponent to throw all the more. Could the Jets use one more edge rusher? For sure, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas are serviceable players, but their usefulness is coming to an end for this defense very soon.
There’s a method to the madness of Ryan taking a player like Quinton Coples (290 lbs) over someone like Chandler Jones (260 lbs). Guys like Wilkerson and Coples are going to be doubly effective in his system. Coples and Wilkerson in time will be able to consistently stop the run from the interior and rush the passer from the area that most teams are weakest in protection, their interior, yet can still remain on the field when the team needs to go into nickel or dime packages — an all too often occurrence with the Patriots.