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New York Jets Friday Spotlight: Calvin Pryor

Will the Lions' Pryor Engagements be the key to Sunday's game?

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the Friday Spotlight.  Here we spotlight one key player for each game of the season, hopefully putting a different player in the spotlight each week.  Today's player in the spotlight is Calvin Pryor.

Pryor, a 5' 11", 207 pound, 22 year old safety, was drafted by the Jets with the 18th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 draft.  Pryor came out of college with a reputation of being a fierce hitter at Louisville, and he has done nothing to dissuade Jets fans of that reputation in his short time in East Rutherford.  After teasing Jets fans with some short but sublime performances in the preseason in which he showcased a multitude of talents, Pryor has been mostly quiet in the first three games of his professional career.  Pryor has amassed eight tackles, six assists, two passes defended and zero sacks, forced fumbles and interceptions with the Jets.  He has also taken a couple of bad angles in pass defense situations that have hurt the Jets.

As a rookie there isn't much of a relevant pro stat sheet to see, so here are Pryor's college statistics at Louisville:






Passes Defended

Forced Fumbles



























Pryor was a playmaker in college, responsible for seven interceptions, nine forced fumbles and two sacks in his three years at Louisville.  We saw exciting glimpses of that player in the preseason, with Rex Ryan using Pryor in multiple roles, including as a very effective pass rusher.  However, once the real games arrived Rex has seemed content to limit Pryor's roles, utilizing him in a lot of single high safety alignments that seem to play against Pryor's strengths as a playmaker.  Now that Pryor has gotten his feet wet in the NFL perhaps Sunday's game would be a good time to let loose the Pryor we saw in the preseason.  Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford is among the more mistake prone signal callers in the NFL, and with the Lions' outstanding defense likely providing few opportunities for the Jets' offense, Sunday seems like a game where the Jets will need to get some game changing plays from the defense to have a fighting chance to win.

The problem is the Jets have few playmakers in the defensive back seven.  DeMario Davis has flashed some hitherto unseen pass rushing skills this year, and Quinton Coples has also done well in that regard, but among pass defenders who on the Jets can be looked to to make a game changing play?  Certainly not the subpar cornerbacks the Jets have been trotting out there, although Antonio Allen can occasionally surprise you.  Dawan Landry is sort of solid and dependable, but the farthest thing imaginable from a playmaker.  The linebackers struggle mightily in pass coverage.  So who's left?  That would be one Calvin Pryor, wreaker of havoc.  The Lions' quarterback is known to turn the ball over with interceptions and fumbles when pressured.  The Lions' backs and receivers also have often gotten in on the fun, with fumbles being a substantial problem for Joique Bell, Reggie Bush, Golden Tate, and even Calvin Johnson.  If the Jets are to win this game, Calvin Pryor may need to be unleashed and run amok.  We need to see some safety blitzes, something he did extremely well in the preseason.  We need to see some fierce Pryor Engagements in which he relieves a Lion of the burden of toting around that heavy football.  We need to maybe even see Pryor read the QB and step in to make a key interception.  In short, we need to see more of the player we saw in preseason and less of the boring single high safety we've been stuck with in the regular season.

This is a crucial game for the Jets, a home game they almost must win.  This is the time to unleash the beast.  Pryor is the one player in the Jets' back seven capable of being a playmaker.  The one player who has the potential to make game changing plays on a regular basis.  It's time to let Pryor be Pryor and see what he can do.  If Pryor can help the Jets generate a few turnovers against a turnover prone team the Jets should have a very good chance to win this game. If on the other hand Pryor and the Jets fail to capitalize on the Lions' propensity for giving the ball away Stafford, Megatron, Tate and company will likely make for a long and miserable Sunday for Jets fans.  This is Pryor's time in the spotlight.  Let's hope he shines come Sunday afternoon.