A few seasons ago the New York Jets had a reputation built off of defense. Under Rex Ryan they had one of the top units in the league. However, the past few seasons that has wavered a bit and now New York is looking to reclaim the title for the best defense. Familiar faces and position battles will help push the effort in 2015 as several players believe the Jets will be on top in most defensive categories next year.
New York is hoping the return of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie give the Jets the top secondary the team once had. Both veterans signed back with New York in free agency and are expected to start immediately. However, their presence means that certain players are competing for a spot on the team after previously being starters for the Jets. Newly signed Buster Skrine believes that will only make the Jets better.
I've never played on a defense with this much talent," Skrine said, via Don Banks of SI.com. "Our front seven has all-stars and then in the back end, we have all-stars. I've never seen anything like this. Everybody said the Philadelphia Eagles were going to be like the Dream Team, but we have chemistry on this defense already, and you can see it out in practice. I mean, we can match up however you want to match up. We can match up with any offense."
With Revis, Skrine and Cromartie on the field, Dee Milliner is left battling for a spot on the depth chart. The cornerback was a former first-round draft pick for the Jets, but has suffered with rookie mistakes and injuries in his first two seasons. Head coach Todd Bowles and the rest of the coaching staff made it clear that Milliner is battling for a spot while the New York Daily News believes the cornerback could be traded some time before the start of the season.
"When you look at Dee coming in, you see a guy still kind of working off of an injury, trying to get himself to 100 percent," defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. "But as we looked at him, we expect Dee to compete for a position on the roster like everyone else. This was a top-10 pick, and we think he has a lot of ability and we expect him to compete."
Several Jets players are fighting the "bust" label. Calvin Pryor is trying to prove that he belongs and can be that top safety option the Jets need. Leonard Williams is proving his case to start while Muhammad Wilkerson continues to battle for a long-term contract. The Jets have a lot of competition that will highlight training camp. Time will tell if it pays off in wins.