Aaron Maybin’s strips and sack of Dolphins QB Matt Moore Monday night provided a speed in pursuit the Jets sorely needed from the LB position. Big Kenrick Ellis blasted through the Dolphins line to stuff a key Miami rushing attempt by the goal line. These two first year Jets, both arriving with different suitcases full of baggage, could be the keys to injecting this slow starting defense with the production it needs to return to being one of the NFL’s best.
Maybin, a former Penn State Nittany Lion, started only one game in two seasons for the Buffalo Bills after having been selected 11th overall in the 2009 draft. Maybin told Bob Wischusen on 1050 ESPN Tuesday night that with all due respect to the Bills organization, “it was hard to make plays” while not being on the field. Maybin is making plays as a Jet. His tag as a top round “bust” may soon turn to “steal” should his quality play continue.
After making the 53 player roster out of camp, Maybin was surprisingly released only days later. His return came in Baltimore after being re signed prior to the matchup with the Ravens. Jets fans got a glimpse of what could be when he hunted down QB Joe Flacco, causing a fumble in Ravens territory. At a time in the game when the Jets were in position to continue their comeback.
The opportunity was wasted one play later when Mark Sanchez threw an interception to Lardarius Webb that resulted in a 73 yard return for TD. It was a play that essentially sealed the game, but the play by Maybin was one that turned many Jets fans heads. Finally, some devastating speed had arrived.
Maybin’s play picked up again Monday night as he forced two fumbles and sacked Matt Moore once. This “Mayhem” style that seems predicated on spying behind the Jets defensive line, may bring the Jets more short fields to work with going forward. A concept that will be music to the ears of the Jets who are still searching for an identity on offense, and can use all the help they can get.
Ellis, whose draft stock dropped due to his facing a felony charge in a case that has been moved to Feb 7th, 2012, was a risk that for now could pay off in 2011. The third round pick out of Hampton was finally activated for the first time Monday night to the delight of Jets nation.
Should his size and presence help plug a run defense that has been burned by many running backs so far this season, perhaps the Jets will once again, be able to force opposing teams into third and more long situations. A scenario that would be welcome by head coach Rex Ryan and his blitz packages.
The Jets are giving up close to 22 points a game this year, up from 19 a game last season. Maybin and Ellis could help return this team to a place where less is asked of Mark Sanchez and company. If so, the Jets could once again base their foundation off of the defense. This way the offense and special teams could also go back to lending a key hand without being elevated into the primary provider role . A formula that allowed the Jets to win enough games to earn a trip to the postseason in both years under Ryan.