NY Jets coach Rex Ryan looking for more aggression from linebacker Vernon Gholston
by Dave Hutchinson/The Star-Ledger
Monday September 14, 2009, 9:45 PM
While second-year linebacker Vernon Gholston had his moments against the Houston Texans in his first NFL start on Sunday, Jets coach Rex Ryan said he wants the former sixth pick overall to develop more of a mean streak.
Gholston, starting in place of the suspended Calvin Pace, was credited with three tackles (one for a loss) and put pressure on the quarterback. He has clearly taken a quantum leap from last season.
''It was up and down,'' said Ryan of Gholston's performance. ''He played well at times.
He helped cause a number of hits on the quarterback. He took two guys with him occasionally and then was able to push the pocket a little bit.
''Again, there were other times where I would've liked to see him jump on a pile -- not necessarily a pile, but before a guy goes down go at him. Get you a piece of him.
"That's something that I think he'll understand. That's what we want. We want to have some gang tackling and just swarming piles.''
RB Leon Washington, who had just 76 carries last season, had 15 attempts for 60 yards versus the Texans. He also caught four passes for 24 yards.
''Rex talked to me right before the game and said '20 touches,' '' said Washington. ''It felt good. It was hard sledding at first but if I can get that many touches every week and Thomas (Jones) and I can 'ground and pound' them, we're going to have some big plays.''
The Jets rushed for 190 yards, with 149 yards coming in the second half. Jones finished with 107 yards and two TDs.
''It was really physical,'' said Washington. ''We were hitting them in the mouth and they were coming back. But by the fourth quarter, we had more energy than they did.''
Ryan said that LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who has predicted a Pro Bowl berth for himself, had an outstanding game in holding Texans DE Mario Williams sackless.
''He was phenomenal,'' said Ryan. ''I know he got a personal foul. I guess he punched somebody (DE Antonio Smith) in the face. It's that mentality you're seeing from him. He's playing aggressive. He knows physically he can play with any of these guys in the league.''
CB Lito Sheppard, who was much-maligned in the preseason, had an interception and three tackles vs. the Texans.
''Preseason is exactly what it is, preseason,'' said Sheppard, who had three pass interference calls and two others that could've been called in the final two preseason games. ''I wasn't getting too excited over how the preseason was going. I've been in this league for eight years. I don't let what the media and people outside this organization say affect me.
''Granted, teams were so-called attacking me, but in the preseason you don't game-plan. You just run basic stuff. I know what I'm capable of doing.''
Veteran DE Shaun Ellis was reinstated Monday after serving his one-game suspension for his marijuana arrest and the Jets released CB Marquice Cole. Jones and QB Mark Sanchez (offense), LB David Harris and CB Darrelle Revis (defense) and LB Jason Trusnik (special teams) received game balls. DT Sione Pouha (ankle) was the only injury and it's not serious.