Rex Ryan mixes defensive players like Walter White mixes chemicals.
Ryan is working with more than half a dozen new starters on defense yet is still leading a unit ranked second in the league in yards-per-game. The Jets have been exceptional up front, but the secondary has been in flux.
While Gang Green has been dealing with injuries at cornerback, Ryan has taken a more by-committee approach at safety by design.
"We feel good about our safety group. We’ll always do what we think is best, what the matchups are or whatever," Ryan told the media Thursday, via NewYorkJets.com. ". . . I think you teach the system and you kind of plug guys in. 'This week you’re going to be in base, you’re going to be in sub' or vice versa."
Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen started the season as the primary safeties, but Ryan has moved other guys in and out of late. Jaiquawn Jarrett and Josh Bush saw the most playing time they had all season last Monday in a win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Here's how the snaps have been divided among the safeties this season and last week, according to ProFootballFocus:"We’ve actually used Antonio Allen in several spots. We’ve used him as a nickel, we’ve used him all over the place," Ryan said. "Jaiquawn, too, we play him as a dime, we play him all over."
Dawan Landry: 363 Total / 76 Monday (has played every single Jets defensive down)
Antonio Allen: 192 Total / 16 Monday
Jaiquawn Jarrett: 139 Total / 48 Monday
Josh Bush: 28 Total / 25 Monday
". . . So both of them are talented players. The fact that we used Bush, he’s a guy that’s kind of been stuck behind Landry but we actually wanted to give him a role last week. So we’ll see. I like those guys. Each week they’ll be involved in the game plan."
Ryan was asked if Jarrett was better served working on the back end with Allen closer to the defensive front. He said it depends on the coverage.
"Both of them are really good close to the line with their background," Ryan said. "Jaiquawn was a tremendous hitter, that’s what I remember most about him when he came out of Temple. In the game, it’s rare, a guy that can hit you in the open field and knock you on the back. He can really strike.
"Antonio Allen really was an All-American player, but he was really a linebacker in college. I don’t know what they called him, he was an All-American safety, but he never played a snap at safety. So both of them have experience close to the line of scrimmage. It’s more really further back, we knew it would be more of a work in progress, Antonio especially, but he’s really picking it up."
Landry has 26 tackles, a sack and an interception this season, and Allen has pitched in with 22 tackles and a sack of his own. Jarrett has 14 tackles and two forced fumbles, and Bush has been responsible for eight tackles and a forced fumble.
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