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Lorenzo Mauldin is the kind of young man that Jets fans can really get behind. As a second-year linebacker who won’t turn 24 until October, he still has a great enthusiasm for the game and no challenge is too big for him.
After a bittersweet ending to the Jets season, OLB Lorenzo Mauldin is preparing to start his offseason regimen in hopes of becoming an every-down player for the Green & White.
The 6’4″, 259-pounder is planning to take two to three weeks off to recuperate from the demands of his NFL season before heading back to the University of Louisville to begin training for 2016.
“Have a great offseason,” said Mauldin when asked what’s next for him. “My biggest thing is being able to learn how to drop in coverage and being able to play against the run. It takes a lot of skill and practice, just being able to go out there during the offseason and train as hard as I can and much as I can and come back and show the coaches that I am an every-down player.”
Early this week, Mauldin took time to reflect back on his rookie season and all of the lessons learned from the veterans that helped him along the way.
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OLB Lorenzo Mauldin jersey is seizing his opportunity with more playing time and continued to do so in the Jets’ 9-6 loss to the Rams Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Midway through the second quarter, Mauldin and DT Steve McLendon found their way into the backfield, splitting a sack on third down to force the Rams to punt. The second-year player busted through the middle of the line, beating Rams RG Cody Wichmann before making his way to Rams QB Case Keenum.
“As much time as I play, I’m going to produce,” Mauldin told me following the game. “It’s just a factor of me getting on the field, into the game and getting my motor going. I don’t give up on plays. I got a half sack today and that’s just the outcome of me getting my motor going.”
Coming into this year, the coaching staff said they expected Mauldin to take a leap in his sophomore campaign. After a rather quiet first half of the season, Mauldin has been given more responsibility over the last three weeks, playing an average of 74% of defensive snaps. In that span, he’s racked up eight total tackles, seven QBH, 2.0 sacks and two passes defended. He also recorded his first career interception in Week 8 against the Browns, which led to the decisive points of the game in a 31-28 Jets victory.
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The Jets’ next-man-up mentality has weaved its way through the roster over the course of 2016. Against the Dolphins Saturday, rookie RT Brandon Shell made his first NFL start.
“It’s preparation just like anything else,” Shell told Eric Allen and Larry Hardesty on Inside the Jets. “You watch film, study film, watch a guy. You go through practice and do everything the best way you can, building a plan to block your guy. You just try to do everything the right way, do it perfect like sleep on time. The small stuff, things like that. And then just get ready to play on Saturday.”
Shell’s introduction to the league was rather daunting on paper as he was often matched up with defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Mario Williams. Following Saturday’s 34-13 loss, head coach Todd Bowles assessed Shell’s performance.
As head coach Todd Bowles said about the injuries, “We have to see how bad the injuries are going forward and how nagging they are. But the big thing is the young guys had a chance to play and establish themselves, so, there is hope there.” One of those young guys was rookie Brandon Shell, who was throw into the fray with RT starts over the last three games, acquitted himself well, and Bowles said, “I’m encouraged by him going forward.”
Austin Seferian-Jenkins thinks a breakout is around the corner. The 6’5”, 262-pound tight end, who was acquired off waivers from the Buccaneers in September, is staying in a positive frame of mind as December football commences.
“We’ve been doing a lot at practice. It takes time. I think people think it happens overnight and it’s not overnight,” he told me this week. “It’s been worked on for months and months and years and years sometimes, and then all of a sudden it’s an overnight thing. It takes time and I’m sure before the end of the season we’re going to have a big game and it’s going to be fun.”