Defensive Front Seven Report: Week One OTAs

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The first week of organized team activities has begun. The 2014 Jets’ journey has started, and the battle of making the team begins for players. The players opportunity for the offense and defense to scrimmage against one another 11-on-11 is one of the highlights. They wear helmets, but they do not wear pads. There is no contact.

Kenrick Ellis:

Pro Football Focus already labeled Kenrick Ellis a star for the 2014 season. According to PFF, it’s easy to miss just how dominant Ellis was at stopping the run last year. This led to Ellis only playing 210 snaps all season. Despite never playing more than 16 snaps against the run in a game all season, he definitely made the most of his opportunity. In his first game, even playing just 18 snaps, he had three highly-graded plays, thanks to beating his block to make run stops. There was not a single game where he had a negative rating in run defense all season.

He ended up making 17 run stops on 114 run snaps on the season, which gave him a Run Stop Percentage of 14.9%. Over the last six years, John Henderson in 2010 was the only defensive or nose tackle with at least 100 snaps against the run and a better Run Stop Percentage. He was also 1.7% better than the second-best defensive tackle in Run Stop Percentage; teammate Damon Harrison. While his strength was in stopping the run, he also had seven hurries on 85 pass rushes.

This is Ellis’s last year of his contract. He’s not a starter, but for most any other team in the NFL, he would be. The Jets are going to try to resign him if possible.

Ellis is going to work even harder playing in his contract year. This past week in OTAs, Ellis showed his speed chasing down QB Geno Smith and running him right off the field. 

Muhammad Wilkerson:

Wilkerson has been busy in the offseason. He got in the boxing ring to improve his hand to hand combat in the trenches.

According to New York Jets website writer Randy Lange,

Wilkerson said, “I just feel that myself and my peers should want to do better than the last game or the previous year,” Wilkerson said. “Nobody’s perfect, but just try to do everything right and more, not just do everything right and that’s it. Just try to do a little bit more to get where we’ve got to be, to get to where I’ve got to be.””This is my first time doing it. I’ve been boxing just a little bit, not really much to talk about,” he said with a smile about his sessions at a gym in Hoboken, NJ. “I go every now and then when I can. I’m doing it just for endurance and I’m working on my hands,” he said. “I want to work on my hand speed and hand-to-hand combat, something I’m doing in the trenches all the time.”

Sheldon Richardson:

Is Richardson going to have running back duties this season?

He was on the field for six offensive snaps last season. Richardson had four carries for 4 yards, including those two 1-yard touchdowns. He was also on another two offensive snaps, where he served as a blocker.

According to Star Ledger writer Darryl Slater,

Richardson said, “Everybody likes a D-lineman scoring touchdowns, man,” said Richardson, last year’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. “It was fun. Hopefully, they call my number again. Hopefully not, because that means the offense is doing what they’re supposed to do.” “Responsibilities got a little bit bigger,” Richardson said of his personal expectations for 2014.

Quinton Coples:

Coples can line up anywhere in the Jets defensive scheme. After a year of linebacker duties, he can certainly be used as an asset.

According to Metro writer Kristian Dryer,

Coples on his new role with the defense:

Coples said, “That’s what I’ve been working on, being an outside linebacker, [I am] working on my drops, working on my coverage. I dropped 15 pounds. I’m faster too. Anytime you lose weight, you get faster.“I think I’m in better shape for that role, for all the versatility it asks for just responsibility, learning who to cover, following motion, those sorts of things.”

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