La Canfora: Jets Could Be an NFL Surprise

Posted Jun 23, 2015

CBS NFL Insider Expects Creativity from Gailey in the Run Game

Even before he visited the Jets facility in June, CBS NFL Insider Jason La Canfora was bullish on the Green & White.

“There are way more pass-catching options now, and the rebuilt secondary should make that defense stout again, so if (Geno) Smith can manage games and protect the football this might be one of the more surprising teams in the league,” he said.

While new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey will look to get Smith in a comfort zone, the Jets new OC favors a balanced attack. A year after finishing 3rd in the NFL in rush yards per game (142.5 ypg), the Green & White added both Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy to a RB stable that includes Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell and Daryl Richardson.

“I think there’s a reason they have so many commodities in that backfield. So many guys who while you don’t look at anyone and maybe say he’s a franchise back, collectively I think you have a lot of guys there who can tote the rock and that pie chart may be a lot of carries divided up a bunch of different ways,” La Canfora told me. “Chan likes to get creative in the run game. I’m sure that will involve the quarterback position to some degree in certain instances, but really the bread & butter of this team is going to be its defense.”

It is a defense that La Canfora expects to be one of the better units in football. An already formidable Jets front got better with the drafting of DL Leonard Williams and head coach Todd Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers have many personnel options moving forward.

“It has all the makings of a Top 5 defense. I really do,” La Canfora said. “You can say where is there a 15, 17 sack guy, but I think if you look at Todd Bowles’ history – he can kind of create those guys or again the whole is kind of greater than the sum of its parts. People say there are too many defensive linemen. He’ll find a way to get those four guys on the field at the same time. Somebody could be standing up, you could have a Mo Wilkerson doing some of the stuff Adalius Thomas used to do in Baltimore.”

The Green & White will roll out a revamped secondary in 2015 after the free agent signings of corners Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine in addition to S Marcus Gilchrist. LaCanfora says a creative Bowles “can’t have too many chess pieces” and the infusion of back end talent will impact the mindset of the players up front.

“That’s a huge philosophical change,” he said. “And then the mentality of all these players once they’re around each other for a while in training camp and once that really seeps in – I think it will bring out the best in everyone with that spirit of I can just go get that quarterback here now and maybe the next play too because we’re locked down back there.”


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