Monday, August 6, 2012

Rex confident in Bell, Landry taking reigns at safety


Over the past three years, the New York Jets saw some combination of Jim Leonhard, Brodney Pool and Eric Smith get the majority of playing time at safety.

This season, however, two new Jets will man the center of the Jets' defensive backfield.

Gang Green acquired the hard-hitting former Redskin LaRon Landry and the Dolphins' leading tackler from a season ago in Yeremiah Bell during free agency. Smith will rotate in as a third safety.

"Yeremiah’s got a great grasp of our system and LaRon, even though he’s missed a lot of time, I think also is getting a good grasp of this defense," Ryan told the media Monday. "Is he where Yeremiah is or where Eric Smith is? No, I don’t think so, but he’s closing the gap a little bit."

Bell, a fan-favorite during his eight years in Miami, is 34. The Jets, however, expect him to be just as effective as ever.

"Tremendous football player, smart, tough, and I think that his cover skills might have even been a shade better than I thought they were," Ryan said. "I know everybody looks at him as a low safety in Miami for all those years but he showed skills of being able to play as a complete safety and I think that’s what we’ll get here."

Ryan also said he expects Landry, who was plagued by an Achilles injury the past two years, to play in the team's first preseason game Friday despite coming off the PUP list at the end of July.

"I think as far as I know, he’s fine coming out of it," Ryan said. "We’re going to keep a close eye on what he does. We want to get him there on opening day. He’s an impact guy, there’s no question about that. He came on one of those blitzes and just slapped the quarterback and it was like 'Woof!'

"Sometimes when you send a smaller guy, by position, whether it’s a safety, a nickel, a corner, whatever, sometimes you don’t have quite the impact. This guy will bring an impact with him."

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