As the defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears during their heyday in the 80s, Buddy Ryan, father of Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob and New York Jets head coach Rex, innovated the 46 Defense. While using the 46, the Bears enjoyed a period of success that saw them win the 1985 Super Bowl and make multiple playoff runs in the 80s. Today, Rex has made plans to resurrect the 46 on a permanent basis. From the Newark Star-Ledger:
“We’re going to play a lot of that 46 defense,” [Jets Defensive Line Coach, Karl] Dunbar said with a grin. “You get in that 46 defense, you’re going to get a lot of one-on-one blocks, and when we put athletic guys on the field, bad things happen for the offense.”
Dunbar explained that the “bear front” associated with the 46 defense gives offenses fits because the offensive linemen have to block defenders one on one, instead of double teaming or zone blocking. Passes come out more quickly as a result, and if the opponent does look to throw deep, Dunbar said the Jets have an advantage because of their two elite cornerbacks.
Buddy Ryan once said that “to stop a passing game you had to put pressure on it”. The key to the 46 Defense is the amount of chaos it causes. It speeds up the clock for the offense, forcing them into making plays on the defense’s terms rather than allowing a QB to step back and completely pick them apart. The amount of exotic blitz schemes you can create in this formation is almost infinite. Rex Ryan is definitely one of the top defensive coaches in the NFL. If Rex is successful in developing his father’s scheme, his Jets may be ready to once again wreak havoc in the AFC after missing out on the playoffs this past season.