New York Jets Players to Watch This Week: Lorenzo Mauldin


“Rush the quarterback!!” – Bill Cowher

One of my favorite clips from NFL Films is the famous shot of Bill Cowher imploring Greg Lloyd to do what he does best.  Rush the quarterback.

ALSO ON SPIN ZONE: Mauldin looks like a draft day steal selected in the third round.  Check out the greatest draft picks in NFL history.

The New York Jets do not have Greg Lloyd on their roster.  However, the quote from Captain Obvious notwithstanding, they do have a talented young rookie with promise in Lorenzo Mauldin.

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Lorenzo Mauldin is no Greg Lloyd.  To insinuate that would be unfair.  Nevertheless, in last week’s game against Detroit, Mauldin showed that he has the ability to make a significant impact as a pass rusher for the Jets this season.

This week against the Atlanta Falcons, Mauldin is definitely a player to keep an eye on.

He was drafted in the third round by the Jets this past May, and the talented rookie has impressed his teammates and coaches since his arrival.

Mauldin has an excellent burst of speed off the line.  It’s uncanny and it can’t be taught.  And last week against the Lions, he showed the unique ability get to the quarterback from both the left and right side of the tackle box.

That is a great trait to display in your first game, and it’s very promising sign for the rookie edge rusher.

Applying pressure in this fashion is not something that is “easy” or comes naturally, as most pass rushers like to stick to one side of the defense.  While Mauldin was impressive with his talent, he also made some mistakes that Bowles and the rest of the Jets coaching staff would like to see him clean up.

Two plays from week’s game against Detroit really stood out.

Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

On one play, he beat the right tackle around the edge and brought down the Lions QB for an apparent sack.  However, the play was nullified because Mauldin was flagged with a roughing the passer penalty for a blow to the head and neck area.  In fairness to Mauldin, it looked like he made a good play.  Still and all, he received a first-hand learning experience on how careful you have to be at the NFL level when hitting a QB in the pocket.

On another play, he came screaming off the left edge unblocked and had a clear shot at the QB.  But he was so out of control that he just ran by the QB without making contact.  The speed with which he got in the backfield was very impressive, but that was a play that he has to make.

Missed opportunities to make a big plays are almost as bad as turnovers when playing high-octane NFL offenses.  But bottom line…there is no substitute for experience.  That play was another great learning moment for Mauldin.  He now knows that he must stay under control and make the play in that situation.

The one area of the Jets defense that, on paper, has a chance at being their Achilles heel is their outside pass rush.

Who is going to come off the edge and pressure the quarterback into making mistakes? 

Mauldin looks like he can fill this void for years to come.  That being said, he has to show that he can be consistent.  This upcoming game against the Atlanta Falcons is the perfect opportunity.  Not only is it an opportunity for Mauldin to make plays, it’s an opportunity to show that he can accept coaching, learn from his mistakes, and go out and be productive week-to-week.

It’s only week 2 of the preseason but, make no mistake, the Jets look like they have a keeper in Lorenzo Mauldin.

Next: Which young Jets player will emerge as a star on the defensive side of the ball?

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