Jets' defense gets in shape to face hurry-up offenses
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Though the Jets continue to trumpet their "ground-and-pound" philosophy (while keeping the football world in suspense about the Wildcat 2.0), they haven't lost sight of the fact that several teams are utilizing spread offenses and going no-huddle.
The key to countering that, the Jets said, is physical conditioning -- something Darrelle Revis said Wednesday was lacking somewhat in last year's defense.
"If you look at the previous two years, with the AFC Championship Games [we went to], we were well-conditioned and guys were focused," the cornerback said candidly. "I think we got away from that last year. You could see it on the film sometimes. During two minutes and sometimes in the fourth quarter, guys would be gassed."
The hurry-up style -- made popular in recent years by Peyton Manning and the Colts -- essentially allows an offense to control the tempo by running plays in succession without the interruption of a huddle. Barring an incompletion or run out of bounds to stop the clock, defenses are limited in their substitutions. A drive can literally become survival of the fittest.
The Jets were bitten by it last year, allowing long drives at the ends of halves. "We saw it a lot," Revis said, "especially with the Patriots."
So, yes, conditioning has been a point of emphasis for the Jets throughout training camp. Calvin Pace said the defensive players have taken it upon themselves to "push yourself as hard as you can in every practice."
"You have to be in great shape, and that's something we're telling our guys," coach Rex Ryan said. "I think this could be a really good defense; I mean a really good defense. But we have to make sure we're on top of everything; keep our communication going and make sure we're in great shape."
No longer is the no-huddle exclusive to two-minute drills or a select few teams.
"It's trending," Bart Scott said. "Now you look at [Matthew] Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger using that muddle-huddle. Even in college now, you're seeing guys looking over to the sidelines in that hurry-up and spread offense . . . Miami trying to take advantage of the heat and snapping the ball early. It's something we have to prepare for."