Jets could use more 4-3 defensive fronts in 2013

Nick Laham

Rex Ryan may introduce more 4-3 sets than ever before to his Jets defense.

The New York Jets are running low on linebackers after parting ways with Calvin Pace and Bart Scott, and one way to mitigate that problem is to play less 3-4. That is something they are considering, according to ESPN New York, who report that the Jets could play more 4-3 than they ever have under Rex Ryan.

The Jets expect to lean heavily on Demario Davis in 2013, a player who may be better suited to the 4-3 anyway. Toss in the way Ryan hinted at playing Quinton Coples on the edge more and their desire to re-sign Mike DeVito and their personnel definitely hints at more 4-3.

How much 3-4 the Jets play in 2013 and how much 4-3 they play will be clearer as the offseason continues. They will need more defensive linemen to play more 4-3, and certainly more linebackers to play 3-4, so what they prioritize and who they pick up will be the ultimate indicator.

Recent rumblings have hinted at the Jets trying to sign Victor Butler, who would appear to be a very nice replacement for Pace and point towards a heavy emphasis on the 3-4. But the Jets are low on cap room and while Butler would likely come relatively cheap, the Jets will have to piece together this defense and team on a shoestring budget, so which defense they lean towards could be determined by what type of players they can afford.

Make no mistake, the Jets will still be a 3-4 team. Ryan isn't going to abandon his base defense, but any increase in 4-3 snaps would be a pretty major change in New York and it looks like it is coming.

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