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Gholston's Role

To say that Vernon Gholston has been a disappointment would be an understatement. The Jets had to expect more than 12 tackles in 12 games from a top ten pick. Even worse, Gholston has no sacks. This is a bad sign considering his pass rushing skills made him such a high pick. The closest he came was on a play in the third quarter on Sunday when he had Jay Cutler in his sights. Vernon looked like he had cement blocks for shoes as Cutler somehow got off a pass and completed it for a big game.

Yesterday we discussed how the Jets need to upgrade their pass rush. Their use of Gholston should play a small role. Vernon has been used primarily in passing downs. The Jets have often used him as a rush linebacker, blitzing off the edge while either Bryan Thomas or Calvin Pace has put a hand on the ground. The Jets might as well admit to themselves that Gholston is not going to give them anything as an outside linebacker this year. Their best hope is that Vernon's play has a big jump from his first to his second year and that his struggles are due to missing rookie camp as a result of an anachronistic rule that does not allow underclassmen to participate because they are technically still students. If Gholston plays, it should be at defensive end, a position at which he has more experience and had much more success in college. This would make him a one down player since a player that small would be thrown around as a 3-4 end on running plays.

Gholston should get only a short leash in this new role. These games upcoming are too important for him to show no progress. Since David Harris is on the way back, David Bowens would be free to move back outside for a bit to spell Thomas and Pace in addition to his duties backing up Harris and Eric Barton. Bowens moving to inside linebacker this season has turned him into a homeless man's Adalius Thomas. He is versatile enough to play outside, inside, and line up at end on passing downs. The Jets could give him Gholston's time while keeping him as the primary sub at inside linebacker.