Few defensive minds provide more for an offensive coordinator to consider and study than Jets head coach Rex Ryan. One of the few in that category is Ryan's brother Rob, the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints -- and, from 2011-12, the Dallas Cowboys, where he coached DeMarcus Ware.
Ware had 31 sacks in 32 games under Rob Ryan, and understands what Rex Ryan wants to create.
"I played for Rob Ryan and it's chaos," Ware said. "That's how he does it. He's going to bring the heat. He's going to have the opportunity to try to get a push on the quarterback and make him make poor decisions.
"You never know who's going to be dropping, who's rushing. It's like one of those chaotic defenses where at the end of the day you don't know who's coming because you have to kind of sift through the mist. At the end of the day, you've got to make those plays."
So, one week after Denver's offense sprinted to 41 points against a Cardinals defense that was equally aggressive and deceptive, the Broncos face a similar challenge, albeit against a defense that features a one-two punch of defensive linemen, Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, who have combined for 31 quarterback hits and six sacks so far this season. Both are quick and dept at using hand moves to work past opposing blockers. No team posts sacks at a better rate than the Jets, who bring down opposing quarterbacks once every 11.2 pass plays. (The league rate is one sack every 18.5 pass plays.) And although Wilkerson and Richardson are the ringleaders, 13 different Jets have at least one quarterback hits, and 10 have at least a half-sack.
"That front seven all together, it's a good group," said Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase. "It seems like every week we run into these teams where all I hear about is, 'Oh, they're a top-five rush defense,' and I'm like, 'Perfect, just what we need. One more top-five defense,' but that front seven is really good."
Ryan and the Jets have turned over the personnel of their defense, with substantial draft investment in recent years turning a unit flooded with steady, wizened veterans into one filled with youth. Eight of 11 first-teamers were added as draft picks or undrafted free agnate since 2011, a group led by Wilkerson, Richardson, safety Calvin Pryor and cornerback Dee Milliner.
The youth in the secondary has altered how Ryan operates.
"He's a little more zone this year compared to what he's been in the past," said Gase. " Obviously he had very good corners in years past so you could say, 'Hey, you've got this guy and you've got this guy.' He's got some younger guys now and they're trying to work the scheme and he's not short of scheme, I know that."
And he wants to work the scheme to create mismatches.
"You don't know what Rex is going to do," Gase said. " You walk out there and you could be in four-wide and he's in base defense. You could be in 12-personnel (one running back, two tight ends) and he could be in dime.
"You don't know what he's going to do, and you've got to prepare for a little of stuff and basically at the end of the day you have to be able to play ball and adjust to whatever he throws at you and kind of do your thing as well."