Getting after the quarterback was always the strength of head coach Robert Saleh in San Francisco and he looks to keep it that way entering year two of his defensive scheme.
It starts with DE Carl Lawson, an exciting free 2021 free agency acquisition who saw minimal time on the field last season due to injury.
His 2020 season with the Bengals looks to be replicated and improved on with 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in his last year with Cincinnati.
“Carl is pretty darn good.”, said coach Saleh to put it bluntly in his press conference earlier today.
And with solid performances from Lawson all training camp, the anxiety is down for him in the coaching room.
“His issue is not gonna be whether or not he’s ready. It’s just when. And you know, he’s approaching that. As I said, he’s been ready to roll since OTAs. If anything we’ve been holding him back more than the other way around.”
And Lawson isn’t on his own. Not only do DT Quinnen Williams and DE John Franklin-Meyers look to generate another pair of highly productive seasons sacking the quarterback – each pass rusher finished 2021 with six sacks – but they add rookie DE Jermaine Johnson to go along the edge as well.
With Sheldon Rankins rounding out the interior and Solomon Thomas being added in the offseason as a highly productive situational nose tackle, it may seem hard to picture how everyone can get a chance to shine with so much depth. There is optimism that the versatility of everyone’s skill sets looks to open doors for creativity when blitzing the football.
But Saleh believes that the depth in the front seven can allow the Jets to comfortably generate pressure with a four-man pass rush and drop seven without having to bring extra attackers.
“The best way to play defense is with a four-man pass rush…if you can drop seven guys and make four guys feel like it’s a constant pressure, that’s the best way to play defense and the most consistent way to play defense.”
But Saleh knows every week brings new challenges and that every offensive line is constructed differently, and that diversity of rushers can allow the Jets to prepare for that.
“Every game is a dependent within and of itself and depending on how that D-line is playing and the amount of pressure we’re getting, we’ll dictate accordingly.”
The Jets’ pass rush is one of the most exciting units on the team this year and looks to remind people why Saleh was hired as head coach in the first place.