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It’s Been Westerman Unleashed This Summer

Posted by Andrew LeRay on August 8, 2011 – 6:15 pm

Linebacker Jamaal Westerman has seized the opportunity of this Jets training camp and has been rewarded for his efforts by the coaching staff. This morning he spoke about his desire to be a factor for the defense this season.

 “That’s the kind of person I am,” said Westerman. “I want to keep improving. Until you reach your goals, what are you going to do? Sit back and wait? I think we all have individual goals, but we also have a team goal that we’re all trying to reach.”

Thus far, Westerman has opened the eyes of the coaching staff and players on both sides of the ball. Today, head coach Rex Ryan asserted that the second team defensive line and pass rushers are “dominating the practices.” Westerman is a member of that group, seemingly penetrating the offensive backfield at will, displaying his speed and sheer power.

Last week, Ryan pegged Westerman as a player he could see making a contribution on defense as a DPR, or designated pass rusher.

“It’s finally time,” said Ryan. “It’s his third year. It’s time to unleash him. The thing is that he’s been up against Brick [D’Brickashaw Ferguson] forever, so when you’re going against one of the elite players in the league day in and day out, one of two things happens. Either you get beat down so bad you just go home and go on to your life’s work, or you get better. He’s done a fine job.”

In 20 career games, Westerman has compiled six tackles and a sack, numbers that should improve dramatically this season. As a lifelong defensive end, he has been making the transition to standup linebacker since joining the Jets, a process to which he sees no end.

“I think it’s a learning process that always goes on,” said Westerman. “I think I have a better grasp on it now than I had last year and the year previous. Until you’re done playing, you’re always trying to get a little better.”

Westerman is one of several former DEs now playing LB for the Jets. The shared experience of switching positions has forced the defense to grow closer, feeding information to one another. He says there is an awful lot to get used to after spending your entire career with a hand on the ground.

“We’re working on drops, coverages, different reads,” said Westerman. “There are things you see more on your feet, but you have to know what you’re seeing and how it pertains to you. You have to take it in and be able to calculate it.”

As a defender whose primary responsibility is to pressure the QB, Westerman has concentrated on his pass rush skills. Some of the advice he receives in practice comes from his “opponents,” the Jets’ offensive linemen, for whom he has high praise.

“They’re out there working hard,” said Westerman. “Every now and then, I might ask, ‘Hey, what did you see there? Why did you set like this on me?’ And they might ask, ‘Well, why did you do this pass rush on me? What did you feel?’ Each of us is trying to get better individually, but we’re also trying to get better as a team. So whenever you can help a guy, you always try to help him out.”

In addition to Ryan, the improvement of Westerman has also caught the eye of a fellow defender, who believes now is the time for him to break out.

“The first year, you don’t really understand how to be a pro yet,” said LB Bart Scott. “The second year, you become comfortable and assume that you know more than you really know. You find yourself making mistakes that you know better than to make. The third year, you come in hungry because you know by the fourth year, if you haven’t made that leap, you’re out of the league.”

Hunger is something that defines Westerman. He says his motor and relentless approach are his most valuable assets, two traits most desired by Ryan. Westerman’s skillset was on display in today’s practice, as he feigned blitz on two separate occasions and deflected passes by both Mark Sanchez and Mark Brunell.

“I want to be that guy who’s never satisfied, who always stays hungry,” said Westerman. “I haven’t reached my goals, and we haven’t reached our goals as a team, so I’m always motivated and passionate about this game. Rex says he doesn’t ask for a lot, he just asks for everything you’ve got.”

“Everything” is what Westerman plans to give the Jets this season.

Mason’s First Action as a Jet

Newly acquired WR Derrick Mason participated in team drills for the first time today. In limited action, Mason was positioned in the slot with the first offense. Sanchez found Mason on the first snap of team drills, hitting him on a quick out.

“It felt good to be back out on the field, to laugh, get pushed around and catch a few balls,” Mason said after the workout. “I just have to get my legs up under me. They started to go a little bit on me in the middle of practice, but I’m not worried about that. A few more practices, I’ll be fine.”

Mason wore pink cleats today, a decision he cleared with Ryan. There’s a reason for his choice of footwear.

“My mom is dealing with breast cancer — this is her second bout,” Mason explained. “She is going through remission now, so I just continue to wear the cleats throughout the whole season.”

Practice Notes

For the second day in a row, WR Plaxico Burress spent very little time working with the full first offense, although he got more than the reps he got Sunday. … CB Darrelle Revis made a nifty interception of Sanchez on a short pass over the middle intended for WR Logan Payne. … LB David Harris worked individual drills but sat out the team period. No reason was given.

Newly signed LBs David Herron, a fourth-year player, and rookie Eddie Jones got reps with the backup units. … Herron played at Michigan State, giving the Jets six Spartans on their current roster of 88 (plus Brandon Moore on PUP). … Former TE Anthony Becht, one of the Jets’ “Four Aces” first-round picks in 2000, came by for a sideline visit.

Two-Minute Drill

Brunell put on a clinic during the two-minute drill at the end of practice. The 40-year-old QB began with a 32-yard pass over the middle to rookie WR Scotty McKnight. Two snaps later, Brunell found McKnight again. S Davon Morgan played the pass aggressively, arrived to the ball late, and was beat by McKnight for a “game-winning” 35-yard touchdown. … While the second offense got the best of the second defense in two-minute, the opposite held true for the first teams. Led by Scott, the defensive army applied tremendous pressure to Sanchez. The drive stalled at the opposing 30 after a failed fourth-down conversion.


Posted in Andrew LeRay | 33 Comments »


33 Responses to “It’s Been Westerman Unleashed This Summer”

  1. By Christopher on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    I’m real excited to see Westerman get his opprotunity, and Pitoitua (if he can stay healthy). Along with our new beef up front. This D is going to be the best we have had, I think, and if Pace really is 100%, look out.

  2. By Mike Jet Vet on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    About time Westerman is getting his chance.. BTW good riddance S-Ellis go grace NE all of your 2-3 sacks a year cya… I like the Mason move sorry for J-Co he deserves better from this organization and Fans alike .. Two unsung hero’s for Jets these past few years in my opinion were J-co and B-Smith ..

  3. By IRA on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    I have been telling you guys Westerman is going to be a factor. He was buried on the depth chart for the wrong reason last year. I think he can give them 5-6 sacks this year.
    More important God Bless Mason’s mom with her battle and let her stay in remission.

  4. By wayne on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, how quickly they discard ya……How many NE games he put finishing touches on in recent memory…….Can only give a guy some love if he get unceremoniously dumped, but he finds a landing spot that’s a problem…………FANATICS.

  5. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    Yeah, I’ll look for those pink cleats every game and wish Mason’s mom the best, Ira. And Westerman also got hurt last yr, and he took a lot of unnecessary abuse for that penalty in the opening game against the Ravens. I remember the New York press jumping all over him for that and thinking, “If we played the guy on more than a few ST downs, folks might see what he can do.” This year we will and they will. MJV, I’ll grant you J-Co has always been unsung and that Smith was too as a pure ST guy. But eventually the team’s bigger needs become clear and you gotta do what you gotta do. I don’t blame J-Co a bit for wanting to start or Smith for signing a contract with the Bills that’s bigger than any we would’ve ever given him.

  6. By Hans on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    I disagree with the point on Brad Smith, outside of the Wildcat and KO Returns, he did hardly anything. I hope his absence kills the Wildcat in the Jets offense.

  7. By Gabriel on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    I really hope Westerman succeeds under rex ryan’s defense! great article Randy, we jet fans love reading your articles!

  8. By mike hymie on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    i was just wondering, you think rex can now try more creative blitzes because of all the depth we have on defense now

  9. By Jimmer on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    I have faith in Rex and the defense. I just hope we don’t get pass happy on Offense.

  10. By Jimmer on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    If I were SE, I’d feel betrayed and crush Sanchez Every down. 11yrs and he was offered less than a quarter what a rival would? I’m not letting this one go, Ellis was a Jet for life player. The team was not. 3 days later, I can’t get over this, if he sacks Sanchez in the championship game this year and we lose, we got what we deserverd.

  11. By Jimmer on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Ropati better work out. Rex has talked him up for 2 yrs. This guy better pick up the Ellis slack.
    SE signing has turned me into the glass is half empty type of guy.
    These guys better step up in big games like Ellis always did.

  12. By IRA on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Hans,
    can’t see them totally getting rid of the WC. LT and Kerley will get looks this summer at the spot.
    Jimmer, Relax about S. Ellis. We all wanted him back but at 4 Mill for 1 yr. Good for him but the Pats greatly overpaid. He made 4.6 in 09 and two yrs later he gets the same. Only thing i can think of is that the Pats have a lot of extra money they need to spend to meet the new CBA agreement of the % they need to spend of the salary cap. Otherwise this amount makes no sense. In 09 the avg salary of the top 25 or so DE’s was aroung 4-6.

  13. By kw65Fan on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    The only problem Jimmer is that Ellis will have to try and get by Brick or Turner…LOL…Good Luck. D-Line and defense looks asolutely awesome, even the young kids. Ropati is playing like he devoted to the Somoan Gods…strong and quick. Looking at Brunnel and McKnight, the kid is quick and excellent route runner. Don’t be suprise..(have to see his toughness) but we may have another Chrebet here. He finds the open spot…beautiful catch on that 35 yard TD hook-up..he knows where the open spot is that you need in a slot receiver.

  14. By IRA on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Jimmer and others BTW Ellis has started his Pats career on the PUP list. Everybody is getting all excited about the Pats additions. Well they are all over 32 yrs old and not getting younger. As i see it the Jets D will carry them early and be better than last year. The O well they will need time to jell and Sanchez needs to build chemistry with his new WR’s. In the end it will come down to the Pats neck to neck and the team with the better D should come out on top.
    GO JETS!!!!

  15. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Ellis didn’t always step up in big games, Jimmer, in fact he rarely did last yr, that’s one reason he’s gone. Hans, I agree with you about the Wildcat, of course, and I don’t think you’re gonna see the Jets waste Kerley’s time by asking him to learn it when the O has its hands full bringing in two new WRs, three if you count Kerley as someone who’s going to get some playing time. Also, while I’m not sure what “pass happy” means, it’s a pass-first league now, not a ground and pound one, and Sanchez needs to become that kind of QB or he’ll be gone next. Rex and Mr T won’t re-up his contract automatically unless he does, as the changes they’ve made this yr should make clear to anybody who’s at all realistic.

  16. By kw65Fan on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Ellis on the PUP list. Patsies sign another cast-off DE. Well, at least we are getting young on the defensive line….Patsies are getting FAT and old on theirs with so-so LB’s and pretty good secondary. We will be run-run-run-run on them…eat up the clock. And that clown on ESPN or Fox…not sure…saying they are the most likely to be Un-Beatable…give me a break. On paper they just got older and fatter…offense has not improved over last year..prob got worst with ocho-stinko. Watch out for our young kids with their quickness and strength….Sack Exchange 2011…watch out….

  17. By joey NYjets4life on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    mo wilkerson..kendrick ellis…ropati…nasty withy puha and devito..thats an amazing circulation of Dline..also kyle wilsons 2nd year mixed with cromartie and revis island..and eric smith finnally starting and westerman finnaly strating bring us a young aggressive hungry team

  18. By joey NYjets4life on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    mason is a better eceiver then j-co and plaxico is a beast and is gona explode just like mike vick..nothing like prson to make you aggressive and want to prove yourself..im all in on getting the ring this year

  19. By scjoe on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Jimmer, Rex has talked a lot of guys up since he has been here and half of those guys have been cut, so don’t put to much stock in Rex talking guys up. As for Ropati? He certainly has the size and athleticism to become a dominant DE in this system, not sure it will be this year, so lets hope that when he does it is here and not in NE.

  20. By wayne on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Aw fanatics. So Ellis is on PUP so NE team is old…..NE has a younger unit than the Jets. Ochostinko is old, but Mason isn’t. And Plax is running full speed……The young pups up front are gonna need more than 4 preseason games to get up to speed. Let’s wait for Ropati to do something in a real game before we make him all world. Pace hasn’t played full season in 2yrs.That linebacking crew is rather young and spry…..Mr. Ellis has all the incentives he needs to come back one more year(SB)I’m sure he’ll work hard for it……..Hope on these 3 things: Jets have a running, Mr. Sanchez is more consistent effective than last yr…..And Haynesworth is done…..Ocho had better numbers than Edwards with an awful QB.

  21. By Anthony on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    I am sick of hearing everyong cry about Ellis… The guys number last year was 10 assists 4.5 sacks and 26 tackles. Pedistrian numbers. He shows up in one game. Where is he the rest of the season. I am life long Jet fan I hate the fact that he went to NE and it is a stab in the back but I do feel that he will be cut after the Jets/Pats game. The guy went for money and thats that. Belicheck is using him for information as usual. I hope we can break through this year and win a SB. My whole life I have been a huge Jet fan and I want to see them take the Lombardi. I wasn’t around in 69

  22. By Jason on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Randy,

    Not much talk about Bilal Powel – He getting any attention? Im guessing he passes Joe Mcknight for the 3rd RB spot by the end of camp.

  23. By Randy Lange on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Jason, keep reading newyorkjets.com every day. I predict we’ll have a Bilal Powell feature up live no later than Wednesday.

  24. By Jimmer on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    The youth movement on the DLine may or may not be great. I would hardly say sack exchange. But I do think were gonna get more out of them in the pass rush. The size-speed combo sounds great,,,,, on paper. I haven’t made it to camp, how are they doing against our OLine? Anybody?

  25. By kw65Fan on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Doing very well in camp so far. 1st string putting pressure on Mark…moving him out of the pocket. Second String vs. Second Offense….offense getting murdered. Brunell not having hardly any time. Probably some of these second strings would be starters on other teams. All very quick…good to see them in pads…knock some heads…ooops…penalty….no “head” bashing…I mean knocking their shoulders….

  26. By christopher reid on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    I am loving this youth movement these new guys like ropati, westerman,and wilson already have some experience just need to get starting reps. The loss of Ellis was sad but it was his time , how many players get 11 years on one team and are not QB’s. This is a hard decision but it is the best, gotta be young on d-line remember how we wore down in the AFC championship game, got a good rotation now if they are good this yesr then unstoppable next year. Good coaches invest in the future of the team.

  27. By 10and6jets on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Westerman has the potential to get 5 or 6 sacks this year. He’ll cause fumbles when he gets there too. Ropati could develop like Calais Campbell did and who knows, Kendrick Ellis might break through the line and squash some people. I really think the height of the team’s potential that is reached this year will depend on Shonn Greene, Kyle Wilson, Mo Wilkerson, Plaxico Burress, Pace, and Folk or Novak. These are the guys we are relying on, but who I am not completely sold on yet. Joe McKnight might be the wild card too. The kid is so explosive that he might prove to be a great change of pace by taking a pitch to the house, or burning LB’s when he catches the ball in space. We’ll see.

  28. By wayne on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Ellis what does it mean Tom64 that Ellis didn’t come thru always…..How many players come thru EVERYTIME………How many time the vaunted sack exchange didn’t come up with a big sack when needed…..How many SB did they win? No body in the NFL comes up big always…………………He will be primed to come up big twice………….Jets got someone on the PUP list and he’d better be ready cause Kroul won’t be enough to replace him , regardless of how well Dan Alexander made the transition.

  29. By Jimmer on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Cool deal with the DL, I’m gonna go Thursday and see for myself. It sounds like I should bring a painkiller for Brunells Dupa. I’ll be rooting for the offense, cause the D is just too good to be true.

  30. By Westcoast GangGreen on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Jet Nation.. On S. Ellis, there is no more loyalty from managememt or players. . It’s not even business. it’s get $$$ what you can while you can as a individual player and dump $$$ no matter what player it will cost the team , from management “exception of maybe a few players in the league”.. There is a reason why the Jets did not offer S.Ellis the $$. Its the debt of younger faster more athleticism on the front seven, the rotation that Rex is going to have will show in the late 3rd and 4th quarters and will help the secondary as well… Hell with the Pat”s ..Its Jets Nation time !! Go J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS

  31. By Jimmer on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Westcoast, I’d like to think I could speak for the majority here, but that’s just not true. Ellis was that one guy that we always saw in green & White, never another color. He truly bled our colors. He should have been here for life. You just don’t get guys like that anymore, playing for the same team, for life.
    He was like Chrebet to me. He was ALL JETS!
    I might go fishing on purpose the first Jet/Pat game. I thought we were better than other teams. I thought we had loyalty like the steelers. I was wrong. We threw One of our all time best to the sharks. I’m still nauseous over the whole thing..

  32. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Westcoast’s post on Ellis says it all for me, wayne. But I’m also down with Parcells’ thinking about better to unload the guy the yr before, or kind of the half-yr before, than the yr after, and that’s what we did with S Ellis. I’m sure he’ll make a few plays for NE this yr, but that’s not worth the $ NE gave him. I think Exhibit A in “yr before vs. yr after” was TJ, who we wisely held our ground with. He had a mediocre yr with KC, looked slower than ever, and I’ll bet you this yr he plays even less of a role. How’d you like it if we were stuck with him this yr? At least LT does a variety of other things TJ doesn’t, and he’s willing to be the 3rd back. TJ’s probably out there boring KC coaches with talk about his allegedly awesome body.

  33. By jetfan1969 on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Ahhh, the optimism of summer!!! High expectations or high times!?! Not sure what your all smoking but we have more unknowns than knowns with this group. Lost leadership in the locker room and unproven talent on the field. Expect another slow 1st half of the season and strong finish. All my thanks to Ellis and J Co for their memorable contributions to our team, best of luck. Also a shout out to Mr. Johnson… Thank you for putting quality people in important positions and finally giving hope to loooooong suffering Jets fans for years to come.

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