The New York Jets will get back to their blitz-happy roots in the 2013 NFL season. Head coach Rex Ryan will turn his defense loose more often this season, according to ESPNNewYork.com.
Ryan's best defenses have always been defined by a blitzing mentality. That has changed during the last two seasons.
The Jets experimented with more 4-3 looks and did not bring as much pressure. Former coordinator Mike Pettine is being made the scapegoat for this more cautious style of defense.
NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal has suggested that Pettine took on more play-calling responsibility in 2011 and 2012. ESPN New York's Rich Cimini notes that when Ryan called the plays in 2009 and 2010, the defense was considerably more aggressive.
They were first in blitz percentage in 2009 and third in 2010. Those numbers dropped to 12th in 2011 and 11th in 2012. Cimini notes that Ryan sent five or more pass-rushers after the quarterback on over half of his defense's snaps in 2009.
Ryan's background is in the 46 pressure-based defense, developed and perfected by his father, Buddy Ryan. As a coach, Rex Ryan has expanded those pressure concepts.
He has tweaked the man coverage, overload blitz schemes of the old 46 system. Ryan has incorporated a lot of fire zone principles, inspired by the work of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive guru Dick Le Beau.
As defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens from 2006-09, Ryan battled the Steelers twice a season in the AFC North and clearly took note of LeBeau's zone-blitz template. Ryan mastered the art of crafting designer blitzes, that disguised the true source of pressure.
These creative pressures initially gave Tom Brady and the New England Patriots fits. That made the Jets a force in the AFC East. Ryan knows that he needs to bring the blitz more often in 2013 if the Jets hope to contend again in their division and conference.
Pressuring Brady is still the key to beating the Patriots. Fellow AFC East rivals the Buffalo Bills will be starting a rookie, EJ Manuel, at quarterback. The Miami Dolphins are led by second-year passer Ryan Tannehill.
Young quarterbacks often struggle to decipher and withstand heavy pressure. The Jets can be a factor in the division if they let their defense get back to its attacking best.
In the final year of his contract, Ryan seems ready to return to his preferred daring and blitz-heavy style of defense.