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Pettine: The Spring Is Back in Defense’s Step

Posted by Eric Allen on May 30, 2012 – 10:41 am

The Jets may have taken a hit last winter, but defensive coordinator Mike Pettine says the buzz has returned in a big way during OTAs.

“I think everybody at the end of last year was so beat up emotionally and physically that maybe it took us to take a step back in order to take three of four forward,” he said during “Deconstructing the Defense,” a video broadcast that can be seen on newyorkjets.com. “I can just tell you right now the atmosphere in Florham Park is light years away from where it was before.”

Pettine said new Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has provided a jolt that has had an effect on both sides of the ball.

“Just from an excitement standpoint of how we are in our own room defensively and then what we see going on on the other side of the ball — just the attitude, the tempo in practice, them getting in and out of the huddle and the spirit over there,” he said. “You look at Tony and the rest of the offensive staff, at how hard they’re working their guys. It’s a no-nonsense group and they get after them pretty good and that’s exciting for our guys to see.

“They realize that we’re going to have to hold up our end of the bargain in practice or else we’re going to get embarrassed. It’s one thing that we have always prided ourselves on in practice that we were going to get after our offense, and our guys know that it’s going to be a little bit of a taller task this year.”

Welcoming a more hands-on approach from head coach Rex Ryan in the defensive meeting room, Pettine said it’s good for the players to hear a new voice echo familiar messages.

“The coaching points that he makes have already been made by the assistant coaches. It’s confirmation, here’s Rex coming in and confirming the points that have been made to those guys,” Pettine said. “It’s welcome and you can tell that he kind of has a new lease on life.”

In the hopes of making more contributions in 2012, both DT Kenrick Ellis and LB Bart Scott have transformed their bodies.

“There are two players who jump out to me already defensively. Kenrick Ellis is one. He’s dropped a bunch of weight and he’s just done a tremendous job in the offseason,” Pettine said. “He looks like a different guy running around out there. And then the other guy that’s hard to recognize is Bart. He’s dropped close to 20 pounds. He’s running around like a young Bart.”

The draft brought an infusion of speed and Pettine likes what he sees on the practice field.

“Quinton Coples is an explosive athlete. He has a tremendous get-off — he’s a guy that jumps off the tape when we’re watching the practice film,” he said. “The other guy, Demario Davis. is an explosive athlete. He’s the type of guy we needed to add, that type of linebacker who can cover a tight end but still can have linebacker-type responsibilities against the run. Aaron Maybin looks a step quicker.

And Ricky Sapp, said Pettine, is “a guy a lot of Jets fans don’t know about who came from Clemson and he had a knee injury late in his career. He spent most of last year rehabbing from it and he’s a guy who definitely has increased our team speed up front.”

The Jets have also altered their back end, acquiring safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell in free agency to go along with incumbent Eric Smith. While Landry works on getting back to full speed, Bell has already impressed.

“He’s no-nonsense and he’s a leader,” Pettine said of the former Dolphin. “If a guy’s straying off the path that he should be on, you can tell that he’s not going to be afraid to point it out.

“We’re excited to have three not only just skilled athletically but three physically skilled from a hitting standpoint — I think our group of safeties will have the ability to intimidate a little bit. Eric Smith has had his share of highlight-reel hits over the years and Landry has certainly done the same as well as Yeremiah.

“Given our corners outside and having the ability to maybe get the ball funneled to the middle of the field, I think we’ll cause some issues around the league with receivers not necessarily wanting to catch the ball over the middle.”

Greene, Buttle Get Hall Nods

Two Jets with roots in the southern portion of the Garden State are among the seven players announced this morning as the new inductees into the South Jersey Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

RB Shonn Greene, who played his high school ball at Winslow Township, will be honored in the group’s Pro Active category, while Buttle, the former Jets LB and current Green & White commentator who graduated from Mainland HS, gets in as the Pro Inactive candidate.

The association’s Class of ’12 will be honored during an induction banquet on Wednesday, June 27, in Glassboro. For tickets and more information, call (856) 582-0212.

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Posted in Eric Allen | 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Pettine: The Spring Is Back in Defense’s Step”

  1. By IRA on May 30, 2012 | Reply

    EA, The D will be improved main reason they imroved the overall team speed except at the FS spot which i think is still going to be an issue until they sign somebody or one of the young kids steps up.
    The team in to me besides the fact that Sparano has lit a fire under everybody is that last year after coming off of two AFC Title games everybody had a relaxed attitude once camp started and they didn;t have the hunger they need to get back. Add that to an offseason of questionable personnel moves and thats why you end up with an 8-8 record.
    The hunger seems to be back and along with some new blood things are looking up for the Jets in a very tough and improved AFC conference.

  2. By scjoe on May 30, 2012 | Reply

    It is well documented that team speed has not been one of the Jets strong points over the years.Coples and Davis will certainly be welcomed and for a guy like Scott to drop 15-20 lbs is a good thing, considering his position on the field. Not so sure if it is a god thing for Ellis, considering his position on the field. Not unless he added muscle as well as shedding the fat. EA, does the current roster weight (330) reflect Ellis weight after the drop, or was that his weight before?

  3. By since shea on May 30, 2012 | Reply

    Not much talk of right tackle other than to say that Wayne Hunter is really good and will have a great year in 2012! ??? Yes, the D is expected to be improved. However, not even pretty boy Brady would have performed well had he been beaten up like Sanchez was last year. That RT position seemed to be the Jets weakest link last year, yet, it hasn’t really been addressed yet.

  4. By SCfromNY on May 30, 2012 | Reply

    I think Coples will be big surprise and the safety position vastly improved. We tend to forget that Smith was injured which contributed to his poor play. Also Damien Woody on NFL Live was showing how to handle Mario Williams. I am not a Sanchez fan BUT when he had protection he looked pretty good. Woody protecting and an accurate Sanchez as well as one who looked aggressive could be an omen if our line works harder this year. TEBOW! Sorry, 3 posts without his name had to do it.

  5. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on May 30, 2012 | Reply

    since shea, the RT position coulda been addressed a lot more effectively had we not wasted a #4 pick on Tebow.

  6. By PIEMAN on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    SHEA I could’nt agree with you more in regards to the right and most deffinately wrong tackle position . I noticed holmes and crow have been no shows for the OTA’S….. shocking, I had hopes of a better start from them . team speed is all we hear about thats fine but, I find hitting and smarts are not to be forgotton for the sake of the catch phrase of the summer

  7. By jetsfan80 on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    IRA, if we can improve the pass rush, we don’t need great cover safeties. Getting to the QB faster makes all the DBs jobs so much easier. See 2009/2010 defense. Plus, we haven’t even seen what Antonio Allen or Bush can do yet.

    I do think we are in trouble at RT, though…unless Sparano works some magic with Hunter and the others. I agree with ’64 Tom again. There were some good options still available in round 4 at tackle. I’m not so sure we needed Tim Tebow more than a good tackle. But as the Bible says, “If God is for us, then who can be against us”! Maybe Tebow can play some RT! lol

  8. By joe on May 31, 2012 | Reply


  9. By since shea on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    Right on the money64 Tom and jetsfan 80 ( I wear Chrebet jersey to every game). Too much kool aid going around about speed on D etc. We could have signed a real second string QB and taken a RT in 4th round or even traded up for a solid one. THAT WAS OUR PROBLEM. Hunter is not the answer. A leopard doesn’t change its spots.

  10. By since shea on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    Pieman, you too are right on the money. Is the culture really changing for the better? Where are Santonio and Cro? And whats this about Revis holding out again? With two years left? Is this russian roulette? Either he sits for up to his remaining two years or the team gives in again? We dont want to dwell on negatives but they are all around our team!

  11. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 1, 2012 | Reply

    Even better, since shea, we coulda just — gasp! — let the QB we drafted last yr, a championship-winner from Alabama, take his place as the backup QB. Oh yeah, but then he mighta been too close to the starting job to make Sanchez look bad in daily comparisons…

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