The Jets, while boasting the third best defense in the league, were more often than not an average unit in getting to the quarterback. Without a true pass-rushing defensive end in the 3-4 scheme, Ryan was forced to blitz linebackers to create real sustained pressure. And while that was effective at times — the Jets still ranked eighth with 40 sacks — it created a drop off in turnovers.
"There's no question we pride ourselves on turnovers," Ryan said at one point this season. "For us, that means getting more pressure on the quarterback. I can't explain it any simpler."
It might not be so simple to improve upon the unit in the offseason.
It won't just be splash the cash. The Jets will be handicapped by limited room under the salary cap, as long-term deals for D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis have tied up big-money payouts.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum will have to decide who gets the remaining cash. Tannenbaum will likely shell out huge dough for linebacker David Harris, but will he also put up big dollars to hang on to both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes? Perhaps he should load up the piggy bank instead, and make a run a legitimate sackmaster like Tennessee's Jason Babin, whose 12.5 sacks were more than triple what any Jets' defensive end had last season.