Out with the old and in with the new, except in this case the Jets opted for the old. The New York Jets lost safety LaRon Landry to free agency this offseason and replaced him with older brother Dawan Landry.
Dawan, 30, is the older brother of LaRon, 28, who signed a contract to play with the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
Dawan has been a starting safety for the entirety of his career but started his collegiate career redshirting as a quarterback at Georgia Tech after an incredibly accomplished quarterback career in high school.
“It helped me out with my transition from offense to defense,” said Landry, via the newyorkjets.com. “It helped me get inside the mind of the offensive coordinator and helped me understand the receivers routes better.”
The switch to the safety position seemed to be a smart move on the part of Landry as he eclipsed 250 tackles during his tenure at college, eventually earning a spot on the Baltimore Ravens after being drafted in the 5th round.
Once drafted, he was thrust into the starting role opposite of Ed Reed. In his rookie season, Landry compiled 69 tackles, three sacks, five interceptions, and a touchdown, which was good enough to earn a spot on the All-Rookie team of several different writing publications. His sophomore season was just as successful as he would go on to place third on the team for tackles with 82.
His rookie campaign would be the first of three seasons under Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, the current Jets head coach. The relationship was the standard for Ryan and his defensive players: full of love.
“He’s one of my favorite coaches, I loved him,” said Landry. “I’ve been on the outside looking in for a little bit so it’s nice to finally be back in it.”
His third season was marred by a spinal concussion injury he received in a game from running back Jamal Lewis, he would go on to miss the remainder of the season, eventually being replaced by Jim Leonhard.
He came back from the injury with a vengeance in 2009 with 89 tackles and four interceptions. The comeback season would attract interest from Ryan and the New York Jets that offseason, but the steep tender compensation didn’t allow the Jets to acquire him.
After playing that season for the Ravens, Landry would go on to sign a five-year contract with the Jaguars. Landry would post similar tackle totals in his first two years in Jacksonville before the Jaguars decided to part ways with the safety to gain salary relief and open up a spot for the younger players.
Landry’s familiarity with Ryan’s defense is crucial especially to a secondary that may have only one returning starter this upcoming season. Landry isn’t much of a presence in the passing game but provides great tackling ability inside the box. He will add to a Jets’ rush defense that ranked 15th last year. Landry has constantly pointed to his veteran leadership as one of his greatest attributes, and it will counted on heavily this year for a young defense looking for guidance and direction.