Yesterday saw installment No. 1 of a three-part blog post detailing why the Jets' defense can still dominate even without the services of Darrelle Revis.
Installment No. 2 reviews the idea that a 46-style defense has to have dominant cornerbacks to succeed. I first covered this subject in an ESPN.com NFL Insider article back in June. Here is an excerpt from it:
"Misunderstanding No. 2 can be best summed up by a reader comment made on last week's article.
"freshprince19119 (6/10/2010 at 10:36 PM) Revis being irreplaceable is simply an assinine statement. A 46 Defense needs a shutdown corner. When Buddy Ryan ran with it the Eagles he had Eric Allen, Rex now has Revis; without a shutdown corner the defense stinks plain and simple because its based on throwing the kitchen sink at the qb and to do that you often have to leave the corners on islands.
"The idea that a Ryan defense requires a shutdown corner is simply not true.
"For proof, consider this. Buddy Ryan was the Chicago Bears' defensive coordinator from 1978 through '85. In that era, Chicago's defense ranked in the top 10 in points allowed six times and in the top five in that category five times.
"Now let's look at who was manning the defensive backfield edges for the elder Ryan. According to the ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia, the Bears' starting cornerbacks during that time frame were, in alphabetical order: Allan Ellis, Leslie Frazier, Reuben Henderson, Virgil Livers, Mike Richardson and Terry Schmidt. That group of no-name cornerbacks racked up only one all-star postseason team honor in that time frame, and that was a UPI second-team all-conference selection for Ellis in 1977.
"Buddy Ryan's defenses were dominant not because of elite cornerback play, but because they had a highly talented front seven combined with one of the most creative playcallers the league has ever seen. That last description also fits Rex Ryan's current situation and provides more evidence that this defense would still be in great shape even if Revis were to stage a long-term holdout."
Another angle along this line is that to look at how last year's Jets defense made Lito Sheppard's numbers look good. His 6.0 YPA in 2009 was less than half of his 13.0 YPA total from 2008, and that latter total was the worst in the league that season. This defensive scheme does put some pressure on its cornerbacks but the level of pass rush and playcalling pressure Ryan can place on an opposing offense more than makes up for it. To put it another way, when operated by a Ryan, the 46 defense does more to help a cornerback's coverage chances than it does to hurt them.