Scouting Report: Jet OB Vernon Gholston is struggling bigtime.
Jet OLB Vernon Gholston should star in the scheme of new Jet defense coordinator Mike Pettine Jr. but he is struggling bigtime. The question is why?
By Bill Smith
The new Jet D stresses penetration and speed to disrupt the O of the opponent. That should play into Gholston's strengths which are his speed and athleticism. It is not. Instead, way too often, Gholston is standing beside the pile rather than being in it.
In early July, I said the following about Gholston's play late last year:
It looks like he is thinking too much before he moves. Usually more tape work helps but he is not showing the football instincts that made him a college All American. The linebacker position is anything but natural for him. He still is a factor in rushing the passer. He can command a double team and help other defenders get the sack. He still rushes too upright. He has not mastered dropping the shoulder and using his speed to get under the tackle and get to the QB. He also spends too much time hand fighting with the lineman. If the lineman gets a hold on him, he struggles to get away and resume the rush.
All of those things are still a problem for him. Part of the problem might be the change of position last year and the change in the coaching staff and defensive systems this year. Ohio State has a lot more continuity than the teams in the NFL do. The change in both systems and terminology may be a factor. Something is preventing him from using his natural football instincts to full advantage.
He is now being blocked effectively by a TE or RB. He can not allow these guys to stop his blitz. When he was able to avoid the blocker and make a hit, he failed to get himself under control prior to the sack. He hit the QB helmet to helmet and forced a fumble but the play was negated due to a penalty on him for the illegal contact.
Another pass rush was negated by him taking a bad angle to the QB. He was unable to correct his rush because he was not under control. The opponent avoided him and ran for a first down. He was unable to regain control of his rush and ended up on the ground taking one of his fellow defenders down with him.
The progress against the run is no better. When he does analyze the play correctly and gets into the hole, he is not effective tackling the runner near the line of scrimmage. Too often when he gets the tackle, it is 5 or 6 yards down field. He is able to turn runs at his side in which redirects the runner to the middle of the field where the other Jet defenders can make a tackle. But that is not enough to keep him in the lineup after incumbent starter Calvin Pace returns from drug suspension in week 5.
The problem that Gholston and all the other high draft choices of the Jets face is that they were drafted by the previous administration. Coach Ryan and the new group has no investment in proving those previous choices were good. Gholston is going to have to step up his play. He is probably safe this year because of the Pace suspension. But someone is going to have to be cut when Pace returns. If Gholston doesn't prove he is a potential starter, with his salary, he may become the guy without a place to sit in the 53 seat game of musical chairs.
That's what I think. Tell me what you think.