Update, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Jets may be getting their pass-rushing inspiration these days from non-football on the television. For Calvin Pace it’s Albert Pujols. For Aaron Maybin it may be Dean Winters.
“I needed that, man,” said Pace about his two-sack smackdown of Matt Moore and the Dolphins on Monday night. “Sacks are one of those things that come in bunches. I had to get off the schneid, so to say. I’m a home run hitter but I’d been striking out a little bit. I had to hit a couple of homers.”
Pace told me before the Dallas season opener that 10-plus sacks were in his sights this season. He promptly got a takedown of Tony Romo, but then a couple of more sacks just eluded his grasp in the ensuing weeks. Now that he’s back on track, he can enjoy the Jets’ practices during the day this week as they get ready to chase down Philip Rivers and the Chargers, and at night he can sit back and enjoy Pujols and the Cardinals’ World Series quest that begins tonight against the Texas Rangers.
As for Winters, you may not recall the name but you probably remember his most recent role as “Mayhem” on the Allstate car insurance spots. So does Maybin.
“That’s always been my favorite commercial,” said the Jets’ lightning-fast linebacker. “But I’ve had that nickname since I was at Penn State. It started off almost like a joke. I think Joe [Paterno] called me that by mistake one time when I was a freshman and it kind of stuck. The guys on the team never let me forget.”
And now Jets head coach Rex Ryan won’t let him forget.
“He’s been calling me Mayhem for a while,” Maybin said. “He finally dubbed me Mayhem in the locker room.”
Meanwhile, on the field, Maybin is making up for lost time. He got the first sack of his three-year pro career in the Sunday night game at Baltimore. A quiet New England game was followed up by his come-from-behind style as he poked the ball loose from Reggie Bush’s grasp late in the second quarter, then got his second strip sack of the year late in the fourth against Moore.
Both balls skittered out of bounds so the Dolphins retained possession, but Mayhem … er, Maybin is hardly discouraged.
“Obviously, that’s the goal, that’s what you’re coming in trying to do. You try to create a big play on defense that might be able to get a spark that might turn the game around,” he said. “If we keep on coming and keep on swinging, eventually those balls are going to start rolling our way.”
The combination of Pace, Maybin, David Harris, Bart Scott, Jamaal Westerman and the rest of the Green & White QB chasers has done some interesting work lately. With four sacks of Moore following four sacks of Tom Brady, the Jets now have 17 sacks. That’s tied for third-most in the NFL (with 12 teams having played only five games, not six) and the sack rate (pass plays per sack) is fifth.
Naturally this doesn’t mean the jury is done deliberating on the quality of the Jets’ pass rush. They could have used more than the one second-half sack of Brady while he was directing four scoring drives (two TDs, two FGs) in the 30-21 win. And if any of their Monday night sacks had come in the first half, perhaps that would have slowed the ‘Fins down even more.
But suffice it to say the Jets are crashing the other team’s pocket with some more regularity lately.
“I can’t do it without the rest of my guys,” said Pace, whose emergence as a 10-sack monster would be a most welcome development over the final 10 regular-season games. “The secondary played great, we had some young guys come in and play well up front. So it was a total team effort.”
More such team efforts will be needed, especially in the next three games against Rivers, Buffalo’s hot Ryan Fitzpatrick after the bye, and then back to Brady at home four Sundays from now.
Ryan’s first injury report of the week was not overly alarming although six players did not practice in team drills in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center fieldhouse today due to the steady daylong rain in North Jersey.
CB Antonio Cromartie, who came out of the Dolphins game with a groin pull, rested, as did C Nick Mangold (ankle), DT Ropati Pitoitua (knee), CB Isaiah Trufant (hamstring) and WR Logan Payne (wrist). RB LaDainian Tomlinson was a non-injury DNP. And utility man Joe McKnight had a knee issue that had him limited.
“I think they’ll be limited during the week because we just played Monday,” Ryan said of Cromartie and Mangold. “We’ll see how they progress, but I expect them both to play.”
For the Chargers, DE Luis Castillo (tibia), the Garfield, N.J., product, did not participate in today’s practice. TE Antonio Gates (foot), WR Vincent Jackson (hmstring) and CB Marcus Gilchrist were limited. And RB Michael Tolbert (concussion) and DE Jacques Cesaire (knee) went full.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Antonio Cromartie, Calvin Pace, David Harris, pass rush, Philip Rivers, Rex Ryan, San Diego Chargers, Tom Brady
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