Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith will compete for the starting quarterback job this year, but the New York Jets will also be seeking a new leader on defense.
Much of the media attention the Jets get is usually about their offensive struggles. However, this summer the Jets will be looking for someone new to step up and be the leader on defense. This offseason the familiar faces of Bart Scott, Darrelle Revis, and Laron Landry have moved on to new teams, leaving the Jets with little veteran leadership on defense.
The Jets defense has become very young up front. Quinton Coples, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Kyle Wilson and Dee Milliner are the last 5 players the Jets have drafted in the first round. With that being said, none of those players have shown signs of being able to become the voice of the defense. Antonio Cromartie looks like he is next in line to take over the defense but hasn’t showed great leadership with his time with the Jets.
The Jets defense ranked 8th last year and played exceptionally well against the pass, ranking 2nd even without star corner Darrelle Revis. This year the Jets will rely on the development of their young talent to improve on last year’s defense.
Coples and Wilkerson are expected to emerge as serious threats on the edge, while David Harris hopes to repeat his 123 tackles from last year. At corner, former first-round pick Kyle Wilson will have to play better this year for the Jets if he wants hold off Milliner for the starting job.
The Jets young defense has all the signs of becoming a dominant force but they must continue to develop for the Jets to win football games this year. With a struggling offense that lacks play-makers, the Jets will rely heavily on their defense to keep them in football games.