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.