Vernon Gholston is hard at work getting ready for his second year.
He was expected to immediately boost the Jets' pass rush last season, but finished with no sacks and saw limited time on the field.
"Did I do all I wanted to do? Probably not," said Gholston, who found himself mainly a special-teams player. "But the biggest thing for me, I never look back on the past. I always look forward."
And he certainly has something to look forward to. With starting outside linebacker Calvin Pace suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy, Ryan has already installed Gholston as the fill-in starter.
"We'll see," Ryan said. "It's all going to come out in the end. He's going to be our starter for the first four games, for sure, and let's evaluate him after those games."
There are absolutely no excuses for Gholston this year. He has a second coach to work with. He has a year of experience at a new position under his belt. Unlike last year, he got to participate in all OTA's (There are rules preventing drafted underclassmen from doing so).
Here's the real problem. None of his excuses for last year look all that great. Sure, he was learning how to play outside linebacker, but the biggest adjustment is usually playing pass coverage. He had coverage responsibilities at the defensive end position at Ohio State. He didn't need to pick things up quickly, though. Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace held down the starting spots. At worst, Gholston was supposed to be a factor as a situational pass rusher. He ended the season without a sack. Surely the difference between playing rush linebacker and defensive end can not be that great. Don't forget either that he did get to stick his hand in the dirt at times and was totally ineffective.
We are going to need to see a much different player this year. That means an inexplicable leap.