Short Q&A with Wilkerson........
Jets summer Q&A with defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson
William Perlman/The Star-LedgerMuhammad Wilkerson, the Jets' first-round pick in 2011, is looking to have more of a "pass-rush presence" this season.
By Jenny Vrentas and Conor Orr/The Star-Ledger
Coach Rex Ryan has gushed about the growth he's seen from Muhammad Wilkerson, the 2011 first-round pick who has made the most of his first offseason with the Jets. Before a practice this spring, Ryan told Wilkerson he's liked what he's seen and encouraged him to work to be great every day, like cornerback Darrelle Revis. Wilkerson suffered minor injuries when he flipped his car on the Garden State Parkway early Saturday morning but is expected to be fine for training camp. We previously talked to Wilkerson about his outlook for the season before the end of mini-camp earlier this month:
What did you learn from your rookie season as a starter?
I felt that I did pretty good. I had an overall good season, I improved every game, Rex told me. But I just want to build from there. Just pretty much improve everything I did last year. Make myself more noticeable and have a better presence.
You and your defensive line teammates have raved about new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. What has he worked on with you?
I feel like I need to improve on my pass-rush presence. He’s teaching us -- not just me, but the whole defensive line -- new pass-rush moves and what we need to look at when we pass rush, so it was just great. He’s a great fit for us, Coach Dunbar. He’s definitely going to excel our game, and (Mike) DeVito, Sione (Pouha), all of us on the defensive line, he’s going to help us.
With this defense being together for so long, what are your expectations for this season?
We could be in three-man fronts or four-man fronts, we’re still going to wreak havoc on the quarterback. I heard we’re supposed to run a little bit more four-man down fronts, and that just shows the great coaches we have. Rex and (Mike) Pettine, they’re using all the athletic ability we have with the defense, just putting everybody out there so we can fly around and make plays.
What's something that has surprised you this offseason?
I’m just happy to see the offseason program going well. I feel more prepared out there in practice; I feel like I have a more physical presence. My weight is good, I feel better-conditioned, so it definitely helps to have the offseason. I’m actually back at my weight I was at Temple, 305, so I feel lighter and quicker but still strong at the same time.
Have any of your teammates stood out to you?
Quinton (Coples). We both went to prep school together. I’ve seen him a couple of times play at UNC, but to see him here now with me to go play at this level is great. I’m glad to have him here.
Your daughter, Heaven, was born in March. What's it like being a new dad?
It’s great. I’m happy to have a child, something I created. I have a smile every day because I have a little one.