For a profile of new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar and his courageous stance against vitiligo, a rare skin disease, check out my story here. In my interview with Dunbar, we also talked football.
Prior to the Jets, Dunbar spent six seasons as the Vikings' DL coach. In that span, the Vikings always had a terrific line, especially from 2008 to 2010. That's when they had the quarter of DE Jared Allen, DE Ray Edwards, DT Kevin Williams and DT Pat Williams. It was an awesome blend of speed and power, unleashed in a four-man front.
The Jets have a long way to go before they're in that category. Plus, it's apples and oranges somewhat because the Jets employ a three-man line. Nevertheless, I asked Dunbar to describe any similarities.
"Here, we rely on our linebackers, Calvin (Pace) and (Aaron) Maybin and (Ricky) Sapp to be those outside rushers," Dunbar said. "What we've done here, to be comparable to Minnesota, we're very athletic inside with Muhammad (Wilkerson) and (Quinton) Coples and (Kenrick) Ellis. Sione (Pouha) reminds me a little bit of Pat Williams, that big, round, stocky body that can plug up that A gap and take on blockers."
The addition of Coples will give them more flexibility, which means you could see a few more 4-3 looks than last season. But the Jets aren't going to dump the 3-4 and become a 4-3 team. You also might see more "46" fronts -- aka the "Bear" front. That's a 4-3 alignment, with a safety coming down as a linebacker -- an eight-man front. The Jets used it a little last season when facing run-heavy teams.
Dunbar is familiar with the 46 defense, having played for Buddy Ryan on the Cardinals in 1995. Ryan is the father of the 46 defense (see the '85 Bears). Rex Ryan was the D-line coach on that Arizona team, so there's the connection. I wouldn't expect a lot of the 46 look. With so many teams using spread offenses, it would be hard to match up with a 46.
But Dunbar definitely has that Ryan gene when it comes to defense.
"Some of the terminology has changed over the years, but we have the same principles," he said. "We’re going to attack and get after you."