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Odds Aren’t Quite as Long for Bellore This Time

Posted by Randy Lange on May 30, 2012 – 3:35 pm

We’ve been hearing a lot about the bodily transformations going on in the Jets locker room thanks in part to the guidance from strength coach Bill Hughan and his staff. Bart Scott’s dropped 20 pounds and is looking, in Mike Pettine’s words, “is running around like a young Bart.” Kenrick Ellis has shed 15 pounds from last year’s 346-pound playing weight and wants to get rid of 5 more. Joe McKnight told us he’s added 15 pounds of muscle and lost no speed.

Add Nick Bellore to the list. As he walks through the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room, there’s a sense that his back muscles are rippling just a little bit more than the mind’s eye recalled a year ago, when he was the Jets’ undrafted rookie find out of Central Michigan.

But the Jets’ second-year linebacker and kick-coverage leader said the numbers in his case might lie.

“I weigh about the same as last year, around 245,” Bellore said. “But I’ve improved my body. Moving around, I can tell how I’m looking and how I feel. I’ve got the size to be able to handle my linebacker duties and I still have my speed for all the special-teams stuff.”

For Bellore, that’s important. Mike Westhoff and Ben Kotwica, watching glumly as the Jets had to release their top three ST tacklers/performers from the ’10 team in Lance Laury, James Ihedigbo and Brad Smith, needed some holdovers and new talent to step up and fill the void. They got that from the likes of Josh Mauga, Garrett McIntyre and Jamaal Westerman … and Bellore.

The Jets early on noted that Bellore could be one of their undrafted signees who might be able to break through to the roster. And they were right. He led the Jets with 22 solo and 31 total kick-coverage tackles (Mauga was second with 14 and 20). Many of the stops came for the kickoff team, which was sixth in the NFL in opponents’ average start after kickoffs (21.2-yard line) and third in the league in inside-the-20 stops on KO returns (26, behind New England’s 30 and Atlanta’s 28).

Bellore acknowledges he’s got a leg up on all the new guys in green trying to gain spots on the six special units.

“I think camp’s going to be easier for me,” he said after the last OTA practice of last week. “I know what’s around the corner. I’m more comfortable. I can just play football. That first year, you’ve got to meet everybody, get to know everybody.”

Now he’s got to fend off those who are out to bump him down the depth chart if not off the roster. The most dangerous player for Bellore probably is third-round rookie Demario Davis, whom Westhoff was very pleased to hear had fallen to the Jets with the 77th pick of last month’s draft. He has the speed and smarts to make an impact on specials right away and the upside to grow into a player at inside ‘backer behind David Harris and Scott, which is where Mauga and Bellore now reside.

“Demario’s a nice kid and a good football player. He picks things up fast,” Bellore assessed. “I have to take special teams and lead the group by making plays. Dave’s in front of me and he’s a great player. We have a bunch of great inside linebackers. I’m just continuing to learn so I don’t miss a beat.”

Bellore knows what’s ahead. He knows it won’t be easy. But he knows he’s done it before and he plans to do it again.

“It’s never going to be easy for me,” he said. “I’m always going to have to fight the odds.”

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Posted in Randy Lange, Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Odds Aren’t Quite as Long for Bellore This Time”

  1. By Spiked_73 on May 30, 2012 | Reply

    Was one of the kids i was rooting for last year, but he could have trouble locking up a spot this year. Davis, Maybin, McIntyre are locks in my opinion. Sapp is playing for his NFL career & Dowtin has some fans excited to be this years undrafted LB to make the team. Good chance it comes down to Mauga or Bellore staying … one or the other.

  2. By SCfromNY on May 30, 2012 | Reply

    The big question is ; would Rex sit Scott for a faster / younger player? Or would his loyalty prevent him from looking at Scott carefully, instead giving him a pass.

  3. By By Jet Fan Since 1964 Frank on May 30, 2012 | Reply

    I feel the reality is setting in that we may be much better then last year with our defense, the new additions are make a difference. As for the offense we now have some talented RB’s and one thing is for sure if the running game is good, Sanchez might show one heck of an improvement in his passing. LETS GO JETS….

  4. By JETSFAN44 on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    i hope they keep bellore over mauga and sapp over mcintyre. mauaga hasnt impressed me much it seems whenever they put him in a package he’s getting burnt by a te and mcintyre is a nice player on special teams but does little for the olb rotation i think sapp has more natural ability and would have been a good player for the eagles if not for the injury. rex speaks very highly of both sapp and bellore and the kid to watch this year is marcus dowtin he’ll be on the bubble to make special teams and has the skill set to be solid it all comes down to the numbers game.

  5. By JETSFAN44 on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    also really excited to see how wilkerson and coples can perform together. this is really the first time in a while that the jets have had 2 versatile de’s that can play inside and out in a long time. hoping kenrick ellis can get in the mix this year at nose as well. so far all the news is really positive with bart coming back in shape and mcknight adding some much needed muscle. really looking forward to this season bc i know from top to bottom the whole team is really looking to prove last year was not jets football.

  6. By paul on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    Watched him in preseason games looked promising if the Jets dont find a way to keep him he will find a spot on another team. BB would pick him up and all the fans would be crying later dont let this one fall to NE. Hoping for a better outcome this year go Jets!

  7. By IRA on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    Who knows you have to wait and saee how camp plays out but Mauga and Bellore should both stick unless Sapp shows he can beat them out. One thing is for sure no matter who wears the Green and White Westhoff’s units will always be good.
    How many TB’s on KO’s did Folk have last year?

  8. By IRA on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    Not many people have talked about Maybin this offseason but he is a player that i think will only be better this year after a full offseason program. Just saw these #’s Pace had over 700 snaps and rushed the QB almost 385 times and had 5 sacks. Well Maybin had 219 snaps and rushed the QB 185 times and finished with 6 sacks and 5 FF’s. I expect big things from Maybin this year.

  9. By GaryC on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    jets will not improve if scott and thomas are starting again this year,still looking and hoping that ryan steed might be the player we thought wilson would be.

  10. By jetsfan80 on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    I agree IRA, the addition of Coples and a year under Wilkerson’s belt should really tie up the other team’s OL and make Maybin that much more effective in the pass rush. I’m looking for a really good year from him.

  11. By Karan on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    Hey guys, Marcus McNeill is still out there as a free agent tackle. I think we should definetly pick him up for depth ormto compete with Hunter. He’s still only 28 however, teams have stayed away from him in 2012, I’m not sure why. I would just us to get him before the Patriots get their hands on him. But does anyone know why he hasn’t been picked up yet by any teams?? Injury prone, perhaps character issues? He’s a former pro bowler so maybe our coaches can get him back to form, just a suggestion Jets, do consider this signing,

  12. By Karan on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    I would still love to get Jim Leonhard and Braylon Edwards back, seems unlikely though.

  13. By Karan on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    I agree JETSFAN44, im excited to see our D-line this year as well. I’m hoping Coples is not a bust because seeing him with Wilkerson will be great. Wilkerson will definetly have a great year for us, put in veterans Pouha, DeVito, Richardson and also Dixon and the big man Ellis, we could have a fearfull line. I think the Giants will continue to have the best D-line in the NFL, but we can make our mark. My favorite part of this D-line situation is the signing of Karl Dunbar. I think he will do a great job coaching up these men and the fact we will use the 46 defense at times will give opposing quarterbacks a run for their money.

  14. By wayne on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    Rex’s defense will be coming early and often….A lot riding on this year for Rexy….And much as I ride GQ, I hope he proves me wrong….Ira, I think Maybin, if he stays healthy will have bust out year. Especially with added speed and pass rush capability added to rest of the unit. Coples won’t have to be the whole anchelada. They’re going to get off the field this year because they’ll be able to get to the QB, despite the weakness at safety………The real question Marks will be on offense at QB, RB, WR, RT….This season will rise or fall on the offensive side of the ball.

  15. By Jimmer on May 31, 2012 | Reply

    Karan, we’ve been hurt by running the 46 ever since rex got here. Those little dump offs in the flats have killed us. I don’t know if we have enough speed yet to cover that flaw.

  16. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 1, 2012 | Reply

    I agree it couldn’t hurt to pick up McNeill, Karan, but Leonhard and Edwards are clearly no longer needed.

  17. By roger muller on Jun 6, 2012 | Reply

    I’m still very skeptical that the Jets have the right chemistry to go all the way to the Superbowl. From what i can see they are not very stable at quarterback with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. Even after taking the Jets to two championship games he still is getting no respect. I hope they can get Ladanian Tomlinson back. Ithink he has plenty left in the tank.

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