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Can The Jets Safeties Lead Them To Playoffs?

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The New York Jets safeties are practicing during the off-season in hopes of helping the team excel this upcoming season. Getty Images.
The New York Jets safeties are practicing during the off-season in hopes of helping the team excel this upcoming season. Getty Images.

The New York Jets are hoping their new starting safeties will propel the team to a better season.

Last year, the Jets had a disappointing season by finishing with a losing record (6-10) for the first time since 2007. The team’s secondary was one of the few bright spots for the team as it propelled the team to finish last season ranked number two in the NFL with 189.8 passing yards allowed per game; the Pittsburgh Steelers ranked number one. This occurred despite the Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis playing only two games.

The Jets secondary excelled because of players like cornerback Antonio Cromartie, and safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell. Landry and Bell combined for 188 combined tackles while helping defend wide receivers and tight ends.

Landry and Bell were free agents this past off-season and they decided to leave the Jets. The Indianapolis Colts signed Landry to a four-year contract and the Arizona Cardinals signed Bell to a one-year contract.

The Jets signed LaRon Landry’s older brother Dawan Landry to a two-year contract during the offseason and he is the strong safety frontrunner. Dawan played for the team’s head coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman when he played for the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars the past two seasons.

Dawan has reached 80 combined tackles in his last five healthy seasons. Thurman said in an interview with NewYorkJets.com reporter Eric Allen he had high praise for Dawan.

“Dawan is a really good player. He’s very intelligent, he understands and knows this defense,” Thurman said. “He’ll be the glue that keeps the secondary together back there and we have some young guys who will be competing for the other spot and the best man will win. It’s going to very competitive. We have some talent — they are just no-name guys. But hopefully by the end of the season, you’ll know their names.”

 The free safety frontrunner to play alongside Dawan is Josh Bush. Last year, the Jets drafted him in the sixth round out of Wake Forest.

Bush played every game last year and in limited action he registered 11 combined tackles. He had some success in college, which can indicate future success.

At Wake Forest, Bush was a three-year starter while playing most of his collegiate career at safety. His senior season, 2011, was his best season when he earned First Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) honors.

Bush recorded 59 tackles including two tackles for loss, five pass break-ups and a team-leading six interceptions. Jets general manager John Idzik shared some of his thoughts on some of the team’s safeties during a Q & A (Question and Answer) session.

“The Jets have some youth at safety in a pair of interesting prospects with Antonio Allen and Josh Bush,” Idzik said. “Allen, a 6-1, 210-pounder, is a thumper who can cover ground while the 5-11, 205-pound Bush has good coverage ability.” In 2012, the Jets drafted Allen in the seventh round out of South Carolina.

The Jets secondary will be in great shape this upcoming season if Bush and Dawan can play at or near the level that LaRon and Bell played at last year. It is possible for the team to finish the season ranked as the NFL’s top defense against the pass per game.

If the Jets can get great play out of Dawan and Bush, then the team could have a chance to achieve the team’s frontrunner starting quarterback Geno Smith’s publicized goal of making the playoffs.