Jets Defensive Line Review: Stout Unit Against the Run in 2019

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On the Roster in 2019

Table inside Article
Player GP/GS/DNP/IA Def/ST Snaps
Kyle Phillips 15/4/0/1 549/20
Quinnen Williams 13/9/0/3 511/66
Steve McLendon 16/16/0/0 464/92
Henry Anderson 13/13/0/3 445/67
Folorunso Fatukasi 14/0/0/2 389/114
Leonard Williams 7/7/0/0 371/43
Nathan Shepherd 9/0/0/1 232/48
Jordan Willis 9/0/0/6 162/27
Bronson Kaufusi 3/1/0/0 69/35
DL/LB John Franklin-Myers 3/0/0/3 0/0

Injured Reserve: Franklin-Myers
Practice Squad: B.Kaufusi
Not with team: Williams
Reserve/Future Signing: B.Kaufusi

Potential Free Agents in 2020
None

Looking Back
Like many other positional groups in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' unit, the Jets defensive line consisted of a heavy rotation of numerous bodies all season long. With injuries, absences and additions all playing significant roles, the line had seven different players who played in nine games or more.

A big transition occurred when fifth-year veteran Leonard Williams, the team's first-round pick in 2015, was traded after seven games to the crosstown-rival Giants. That elevated Quinnen Williams, this year's first-round selection, into the starting lineup, and yet Quinnen missed time due to both neck and ankle injuries.

"The different things that guys got beat with, I took away from stuff like that," Quinnen Williams said on what he learned from his time away while injured. "It was conceptual learning. I learned from their mistakes so I could get it right."

There were a lot of positives for this group in 2019. The D-line was a major contributor to the NFL's 7th-ranked overall defense, especially in stopping the run. The Green & White finished the year ranked No. 2 in the league in allowing 86.9 rushing yards per game and 3.34 yards per carry.

Why did the defense find so much success against the run?

"Because of the scheme and how Gregg allows us to play in that," DL Henry Anderson said. "I also think just us up front playing as a unit. We're all playing unselfish. Everyone is just trying to do their job and stay in their gap and execute their assignment on every play. We had some guys playing at a really high level up front. I think all of those things combined for a really solid year against the run."

See the Best Photos of the D-Line During the 2019 Season

Looking Ahead
An important focus for the defensive line in 2020 will be in improving the pass rush. The Jets ranked No. 26 in sacks per pass attempt, sacking the QB on just 6% of dropbacks. The defense registered 35 sacks on the season, with linemen accounting for 12 of them.

There's a likely chance that a majority of the line will return for next season, considering none of the current players will become free agents. So far, the group of players under DL coach Andre Carter are happy with the chemistry in the room.

"This defense in general had a huge bond, especially on the line," said Quinnen Williams. "We were all like a family. These guys are like my big bros and they've taught me a lot of stuff. In general, everybody feeds off each other. Everybody lifts each other and holds one another accountable. That's what you want in a room, that's what you want in a position and that's what you want in a team."

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