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Jets Linebacker Reilly Ready to Push for More Playing Time?


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Trevor Reilly

By Glenn Naughton

 

Hard to believe as it may be, but a look up and down the New York Jets depth chart at the outside linebacker position reveals third-year pro Trevor Reilly as being the elder statesman in the group, given the departure of long-time outside ‘backer Calvin Pace and the in-season dumping of Quinton Coples who started opposite Pace for each of the past few seasons.

By saying goodbye to Pace and Coples while choosing Jordan Jenkins in this year’s NFL draft and Lornezo Mauldin last year, this may be Reilly’s best chance to get on the field for Gang Green in an expanded role.

The team has made it clear that they expect big things from Mauldin this season, and Jenkins is viewed by many as  a “plug and play” starter from day one.  However, expectations are often trumped by reality, and the reality for the Jets at the outside linebacker position is that there are no entrenched starters at this point, so Reilly will hope to play well enough in camp to either earn a starting spot, or to play more than the 79 snaps he saw last season.

The former Utah product was enjoying a strong training camp last season and picked up a sack in the Jets opening week 31-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns when he was on the field for 19 defensive plays.  That, however, would be his highest snap count for the season, hitting double digits only once after week three when he played 10 snaps in the team’s 30-8 vicotory over the Tennessee Titans.

In fact, Reilly saw zero snaps on defense more times (6) than he saw double-digit reps (4) but he was a mainstay on special teams, tying linebacker Erin Henderson for the team lead with 13 tackles on coverage units.

As a player with little in-game experience who was chosen by the Jets previous regime, Reilly is the underdog in this scenario, but that’s not an unfamiliar position for the 6’ 5” 245 pounder who walked on at Utah as a defensive end before shifting to linebacker.  By the time he wrapped up his collegiate career, Reilly had amassed 235 tackles, 20 sacks, 37.5 tackles for loss and a spot on the All Pac-12 team as a defensive end during is senior campaign.

A high-energy player who contributes on special teams and can chip in along the defensive line in sub-packages, betting against Reilly to find himself starting for the Jets at some point this season may not be  a wise move.

 

 

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Reilly is a great story. He're a guy that was drafted in the 7th round out of Utah at 26 having just recovered from knee surgery! I mean the odds were stacked against him from the start of his NFL career. He's still here and still a Jet. He earned a spot through special teams. He's obviously a hard worker. He looked good with the few opportunities he got to play last year.

He has potential to be a good pass rushing OLB for the Jets. He has the measurables. I'm rooting for him and I hope he stays on the team and gets more opportunities.  

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1 hour ago, PepPep said:

Reilly is a great story. He're a guy that was drafted in the 7th round out of Utah at 26 having just recovered from knee surgery! I mean the odds were stacked against him from the start of his NFL career. He's still here and still a Jet. He earned a spot through special teams. He's obviously a hard worker. He looked good with the few opportunities he got to play last year.

He has potential to be a good pass rushing OLB for the Jets. He has the measurables. I'm rooting for him and I hope he stays on the team and gets more opportunities.  

Funny, I'm actually kind of upset by his story rather than seeing it as a great one. IIRC he was projected to go at least a few rounds higher (and supposedly would have been a lock to go a few rounds higher if not for his age). As such, he was supposed to be this great steal in the 7th round, and I (like many) hoped we found one of those late round studs that everyone else "seems" to find. That Bowles kept him solidly on the bench behind Coples, then even behind Richardson where he preferred, at times, having a DT drop into coverage, was not encouraging at all. He had a lot of PT in week 1 against the Clowns, and after that it's as though Bowles had already seen enough. Almost like Reilly only stuck on the roster because we pretty much had like no other OLBers (Coples, Sheldon, Pace, Mauldin; and before you knew it Coples was cut and Richardson was put almost exclusively back on the line). Also because he played specials on a team that was already a comparatively poor ST unit.

That said, even if he was taken earlier (where initially expected), he still wasn't a sure thing day 1 starter, and a lot can change from one season to the next with young (ok, in his case, inexperienced) players. If there's one position on the team (other than QB) where there's a wide open opportunity for someone to start if he steps up big this summer, it's OLB. Seemed like a nice kid as I recall, anyway.

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5 minutes ago, Sperm Edwards said:

Funny, I'm actually kind of upset by his story rather than seeing it as a great one. IIRC he was projected to go at least a few rounds higher (and supposedly would have been a lock to go a few rounds higher if not for his age). As such, he was supposed to be this great steal in the 7th round, and I (like many) hoped we found one of those late round studs that everyone else "seems" to find. That Bowles kept him solidly on the bench behind Coples, then even behind Richardson where he preferred, at times, having a DT drop into coverage, was not encouraging at all. He had a lot of PT in week 1 against the Clowns, and after that it's as though Bowles had already seen enough. Almost like Reilly only stuck on the roster because we pretty much had like no other OLBers (Coples, Sheldon, Pace, Mauldin; and before you knew it Coples was cut and Richardson was put almost exclusively back on the line). Also because he played specials on a team that was already a comparatively poor ST unit.

That said, even if he was taken earlier (where initially expected), he still wasn't a sure thing day 1 starter, and a lot can change from one season to the next with young (ok, in his case, inexperienced) players. If there's one position on the team (other than QB) where there's a wide open opportunity for someone to start if he steps up big this summer, it's OLB. Seemed like a nice kid as I recall, anyway.

And it seems like in OTAs that Jenkins and Mauldin are going to be starters on the outside and Lee is the nickle guy. Not sure where Reilly fits, but he should be solid depth and continue to be a force on specials.

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30 minutes ago, CrazyCarl40 said:

And it seems like in OTAs that Jenkins and Mauldin are going to be starters on the outside and Lee is the nickle guy. Not sure where Reilly fits, but he should be solid depth and continue to be a force on specials.

I understand and don't disagree. My point is more that a "great" story would have involved him grabbing an obviously-available starting OLB spot (and keeping it, particularly against generally/comparatively easy competition). 

We'll see where they all settle in. Honestly I want them all to do well. It would be a good problem to have.

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20 hours ago, Sperm Edwards said:

Funny, I'm actually kind of upset by his story rather than seeing it as a great one. IIRC he was projected to go at least a few rounds higher (and supposedly would have been a lock to go a few rounds higher if not for his age). As such, he was supposed to be this great steal in the 7th round, and I (like many) hoped we found one of those late round studs that everyone else "seems" to find. That Bowles kept him solidly on the bench behind Coples, then even behind Richardson where he preferred, at times, having a DT drop into coverage, was not encouraging at all. He had a lot of PT in week 1 against the Clowns, and after that it's as though Bowles had already seen enough. Almost like Reilly only stuck on the roster because we pretty much had like no other OLBers (Coples, Sheldon, Pace, Mauldin; and before you knew it Coples was cut and Richardson was put almost exclusively back on the line). Also because he played specials on a team that was already a comparatively poor ST unit.

That said, even if he was taken earlier (where initially expected), he still wasn't a sure thing day 1 starter, and a lot can change from one season to the next with young (ok, in his case, inexperienced) players. If there's one position on the team (other than QB) where there's a wide open opportunity for someone to start if he steps up big this summer, it's OLB. Seemed like a nice kid as I recall, anyway.

Nice post and a good insight on where Reilly seems to be right now, and last year.  When he first arrived I thought he had a good motor and as the OP did liked his story.  But as you say despite the I would use the word turmoil at OLB last year, he didn't do much, and the CS does not seem high on him.  And yeah I don't recall him having an impact on ST, either.

Should be a make or break year for him.  I tend to think it makes sense not to expect much from him.

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On June 8, 2016 at 11:50 AM, 77DRAFT said:

Surprised he didn't get more snaps last season, look forward to seeing this guy on the field more.

Yeah that was Bowles being stubborn and sticking with his "vets" too long. 

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23 hours ago, CrazyCarl40 said:

And it seems like in OTAs that Jenkins and Mauldin are going to be starters on the outside and Lee is the nickle guy. Not sure where Reilly fits, but he should be solid depth and continue to be a force on specials.

It is OTAs I would not make that any assumptions at this point. Although Mauldin is expected to win one Olb position, he still has to perform on the field.  The other position is wide open.

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20 hours ago, JetBlue said:

Yeah that was Bowles being stubborn and sticking with his "vets" too long. 

Yeah, like Coples.

Oh wait!  They cut him mid-season.  And when Mauldin came back from injury, they played him. How do those facts fit with the Bowles sticking with vets too long theory?

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5 minutes ago, Mainejet said:

 sould be able to push for playing time. Our linebackers suck except for David Harris. This unit will be EXPOSED this season for how bad they suck.

Is that you Rex? Welcome to the 21st century where LBs need to be able to run and cover. The main difference between Bowles system, and Rex' is that the LBers read and react instead of just filling gaps, and the DL attack instead of reading and reacting. This is why I think Wilk was more valuable to Rex. 

Our LBers have sucked for a long time. At least they're trying to do something about it now.

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23 minutes ago, Big Blocker said:

Yeah, like Coples.

Oh wait!  They cut him mid-season.  And when Mauldin came back from injury, they played him. How do those facts fit with the Bowles sticking with vets too long theory?

They cut Coples for economic reasons.  Bowles absolutely stuck with vets too long.  Cromartie being a very good example.

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13 minutes ago, FidelioJet said:

They cut Coples for economic reasons.  Bowles absolutely stuck with vets too long.  Cromartie being a very good example.

Cromartie was a specific case, not an example of a widespread problem, and I don't get why a player cut in mid-season is PRIMARILY an economic decision.

Bowles had Cro in AZ and saw him play well.  The Jets had also signed Buster, but obviously wanted him to stay at nickel.  Behind Cro it was not obvious to me who should have been out there all season long, and please don't say M. Williams.  I think the CS doubted how much they want to have Williams out there in man coverage.

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18 minutes ago, FidelioJet said:

They cut Coples for economic reasons.  Bowles absolutely stuck with vets too long.  Cromartie being a very good example.

No they didn't. He was never going to see that money. You don't cut a guy mid-season for economic reasons.

Cro was not very good last season, but he did get better are the season went on. I still think he was injured early on and didn't get healthy. Cro is one example, but not a very good one. Do you have any others?

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4 minutes ago, Big Blocker said:

Cromartie was a specific case, not an example of a widespread problem, and I don't get why a player cut in mid-season is PRIMARILY an economic decision.

Bowles had Cro in AZ and saw him play well.  The Jets had also signed Buster, but obviously wanted him to stay at nickel.  Behind Cro it was not obvious to me who should have been out there all season long, and please don't say M. Williams.  I think the CS doubted how much they want to have Williams out there in man coverage.

Coples was cut for economic reasons.  Yes, he wasn't producing but if he got hurt they would have been guaranteed $7mm (or something like that) next year...so they got rid of him in order to avoid a huge potential cap hit for the upcoming season.

It wasn't just Cromartie (Williams was very good in coverage- IMO he'll start this year) Mauldin didn't get nearly enough snaps as he should have.

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3 minutes ago, CrazyCarl40 said:

No they didn't. He was never going to see that money. You don't cut a guy mid-season for economic reasons.

Cro was not very good last season, but he did get better are the season went on. I still think he was injured early on and didn't get healthy. Cro is one example, but not a very good one. Do you have any others?

If he got hurt he would have....they weren't going to risk that.

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3 hours ago, CrazyCarl40 said:

Hard to get hurt when you don't play. I'm sure money had something to do with it, but it was more to send a message about performance.

Yep, I totally do not get the idea that you cut a player mid-season for economic reasons.  You don't even cut a player at any time if they are living up to their contract, of course.  But the cap was not an issue, and I don't know that the Jets saved any money by cutting him at the time they did.  He was clearly cut because he did not improve as hoped, the CS had seen enough, but mostly on the timing to send a message as you said. 

So far all that has been mentioned here is Cromartie, which I think was a special case.  As for Marcus Williams, I don't think the CS has great faith in using him in man coverage.  WIlliams DID start 3 games in mid-season, but sat out against the Giants and Titans due to an MCL sprain.  Obiously the CS was not going to play him when he was not able to. 

In short the Cromartie situation was hardly proof that Bowles as a general pattern sticks with vets too long.  You have to have more proof than merely saying Cromartie.

 

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5 hours ago, Big Blocker said:

Yeah, like Coples.

Oh wait!  They cut him mid-season.  And when Mauldin came back from injury, they played him. How do those facts fit with the Bowles sticking with vets too long theory?

I would have played Reilly over Coples much earlier and even given him some of Pace reps to be honest.  When Mauldin came back they didn't play him that many reps; they kept worrying about his coverage abilities as if he didn't see Pace out there running in cement.  He also played Demario Davis WAY TOO LONG.   Any other wise ass questions?  

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5 hours ago, FidelioJet said:

Coples was cut for economic reasons.  Yes, he wasn't producing but if he got hurt they would have been guaranteed $7mm (or something like that) next year...so they got rid of him in order to avoid a huge potential cap hit for the upcoming season.

It wasn't just Cromartie (Williams was very good in coverage- IMO he'll start this year) Mauldin didn't get nearly enough snaps as he should have.

100% correct. Coples was outright handed a starting job that he didn't earn, sucked at it, and when balanced against the several million dollars it would cost the team if he got injured, was cut. They put him out there until Richardson was back from suspension, not because of Mauldin. Then Richardson was tried/played out at OLB, where he was likewise ill fit to say the least. Mauldin's snap count didn't get up to the 40-50% range until game 11 against Miami. Coples was mostly benched while Mauldin was himself also mostly benched and - like Coples - was playing special teams as much or more than defense.

Coples was on the field for 20 snaps in the 3 games prior to getting cut and prior to Mauldin really seeing the field more. There was none of this made-up nonsense that Coples' playing time decreased as Mauldin took his place, or anything of the sort. Where do people get these ideas? 

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1 hour ago, Big Blocker said:

Yep, I totally do not get the idea that you cut a player mid-season for economic reasons.  You don't even cut a player at any time if they are living up to their contract, of course.  But the cap was not an issue, and I don't know that the Jets saved any money by cutting him at the time they did.  He was clearly cut because he did not improve as hoped, the CS had seen enough, but mostly on the timing to send a message as you said. 

So far all that has been mentioned here is Cromartie, which I think was a special case.  As for Marcus Williams, I don't think the CS has great faith in using him in man coverage.  WIlliams DID start 3 games in mid-season, but sat out against the Giants and Titans due to an MCL sprain.  Obiously the CS was not going to play him when he was not able to. 

In short the Cromartie situation was hardly proof that Bowles as a general pattern sticks with vets too long.  You have to have more proof than merely saying Cromartie.

 

The cap was a huge issue for the next year. That is why they cut him. If he got injured, his 5th year option of $7M would become guaranteed. It's not like he was playing well anyway. So because he wasn't playing well, he wasn't worth the money -- the risk of paying him.

Washington did a very similar thing with RGIII last year (though they didn't play him at all). They kept Griffin around, on the roster, in case of a catastrophe where they had literally nobody else (what if they lost 2 QBs while in the playoffs?). Other than that they wanted him mostly (actually in Washington/RGIII's case, completely) off the field so he wouldn't get injured. Had Griffin gotten injured on the field he'd have been guaranteed like $16M in 2016. So they kept him, but stashed him.

Bowles didn't bench Coples because of Mauldin getting better & seeing a bunch of playing time. They were both on the bench together, mostly, during that stretch. They did cut Coples once Mauldin looked like he could be out there more. Not only was Coples then cut for money reasons, but the Jets were right to do it. 

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40 minutes ago, Sperm Edwards said:

The cap was a huge issue for the next year. That is why they cut him. If he got injured, his 5th year option of $7M would become guaranteed. It's not like he was playing well anyway. So because he wasn't playing well, he wasn't worth the money -- the risk of paying him.

Washington did a very similar thing with RGIII last year (though they didn't play him at all). They kept Griffin around, on the roster, in case of a catastrophe where they had literally nobody else (what if they lost 2 QBs while in the playoffs?). Other than that they wanted him mostly (actually in Washington/RGIII's case, completely) off the field so he wouldn't get injured. Had Griffin gotten injured on the field he'd have been guaranteed like $16M in 2016. So they kept him, but stashed him.

Bowles didn't bench Coples because of Mauldin getting better & seeing a bunch of playing time. They were both on the bench together, mostly, during that stretch. They did cut Coples once Mauldin looked like he could be out there more. Not only was Coples then cut for money reasons, but the Jets were right to do it. 

I didn't say Coples got cut because of Mauldin.  In fact Mauldin missed the two games right after Coples was cut.

I remain of the opinion Coples was cut primarily because they hoped he would get it done, did not, and they made an example of him at a part of the season when he was cut.  He was cut the day after the Jets lost their second in a row, and after he was cut they went on a five game winning streak. 

Coples was also still on his rookie contract, and I don't see how they saved any money cutting him right when they did.  They could have waited, or in fact cut him earlier.  THE TIMING had nothing to do with the cap.

From Bowles's perspective he was dealing with a first round pick in his fourth season who to be honest had a decent season in 14 albeit one that was not up to his draft status.  So yeah, you want to see a certain amount of work from a guy like that before you cut him.  Point is I fail to see how Coples is a situation that shows Bowles sticking with his vets too long.

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1 hour ago, JetBlue said:

I would have played Reilly over Coples much earlier and even given him some of Pace reps to be honest.  When Mauldin came back they didn't play him that many reps; they kept worrying about his coverage abilities as if he didn't see Pace out there running in cement.  He also played Demario Davis WAY TOO LONG.   Any other wise ass questions?  

I have no idea what you mean by a wise ass question. 

To have played Reilly would require you have faith that Reilly would perform better.  There is no evidence that it was clear mid season last year that Reilly deserved to start at OLB.  I am not even sure he will stay on the team this year. 

As for D Davis, I think it was a common notion among the fanbase that he was expected to step up in his third year and be a force.  He was given that opportunity, and despite some decent plays failed for the most part to make enough of the opportunity.  At which point Henderson got more reps, and then Mauldin came back in the last 3 games.  In any event I would hardly call seeing whether a player with promise in their third season has it is a great example of sticking with older vets.

And saying Pace was running in cement is such an overstatement it shows how hard you are trying to make a point not worth making.

Your post reeks of hindsight and carping over playing time decisions among a group of mostly younger players.  You failed to make a valid argument.

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5 minutes ago, Big Blocker said:

I didn't say Coples got cut because of Mauldin.  In fact Mauldin missed the two games right after Coples was cut.

I remain of the opinion Coples was cut primarily because they hoped he would get it done, did not, and they made an example of him at a part of the season when he was cut.  He was cut the day after the Jets lost their second in a row, and after he was cut they went on a five game winning streak. 

Coples was also still on his rookie contract, and I don't see how they saved any money cutting him right when they did.  They could have waited, or in fact cut him earlier.  THE TIMING had nothing to do with the cap.

From Bowles's perspective he was dealing with a first round pick in his fourth season who to be honest had a decent season in 14 albeit one that was not up to his draft status.  So yeah, you want to see a certain amount of work from a guy like that before you cut him.  Point is I fail to see how Coples is a situation that shows Bowles sticking with his vets too long.

No that did not happen so it is no "fact" at all. 

Made what example of him? He was barely on the field. He was barely on the field the week before that, and the week before that as well. They kept him around and mostly stashed him on the bench until they felt Mauldin could be out there more. Reilly certainly didn't gobble up lots of the Coples snaps. The Jets even said so. Bowles said flat out this had nothing to do with his last game. They simply didn't need him, weren't playing him, and if he got injured he'd be guaranteed starter money the following season.

The "point" is Coples never should have been handed the no-competition starting job in the first place. Had Bowles gone to Maccagnan and said "This guy simply can't start for us. He's a liability out there. Please get me a stopgap right now," I have a hard time believing Maccagnan wouldn't comply. 

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On 6/10/2016 at 4:02 PM, Big Blocker said:

I have no idea what you mean by a wise ass question. 

To have played Reilly would require you have faith that Reilly would perform better.  There is no evidence that it was clear mid season last year that Reilly deserved to start at OLB.  I am not even sure he will stay on the team this year. 

As for D Davis, I think it was a common notion among the fanbase that he was expected to step up in his third year and be a force.  He was given that opportunity, and despite some decent plays failed for the most part to make enough of the opportunity.  At which point Henderson got more reps, and then Mauldin came back in the last 3 games.  In any event I would hardly call seeing whether a player with promise in their third season has it is a great example of sticking with older vets.

And saying Pace was running in cement is such an overstatement it shows how hard you are trying to make a point not worth making.

Your post reeks of hindsight and carping over playing time decisions among a group of mostly younger players.  You failed to make a valid argument.

Anyone with eyes could see that Pace, Coples and Davis were all average to mediocre to downright sucking.  Sorry if you missed it.   Again, I am sure it was obvious to most fans that it was time to make a change but Coaches are typically conservative and like to stick with their vets; Bowles eventually recognized changes need to be made and to his credit he made those changes.

if you think this is hindsight that is your opinion and it is wrong.    

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On ‎6‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 4:09 PM, Sperm Edwards said:

No that did not happen so it is no "fact" at all. 

Made what example of him? He was barely on the field. He was barely on the field the week before that, and the week before that as well. They kept him around and mostly stashed him on the bench until they felt Mauldin could be out there more. Reilly certainly didn't gobble up lots of the Coples snaps. The Jets even said so. Bowles said flat out this had nothing to do with his last game. They simply didn't need him, weren't playing him, and if he got injured he'd be guaranteed starter money the following season.

The "point" is Coples never should have been handed the no-competition starting job in the first place. Had Bowles gone to Maccagnan and said "This guy simply can't start for us. He's a liability out there. Please get me a stopgap right now," I have a hard time believing Maccagnan wouldn't comply. 

Sorry on the Mauldin issue.  Still Mauldin did not start the rest of the way, and made no plays in the Houston game.

In any event the issue I raised Coples about was regards to whether Bowles favors vets or not.  Coples had a decent year in 14, was a first round draft pick who was in his fourth season.  And cutting him was about him not being a good fit with the D Bowles wanted.  It was not a salary cap issue.  I simply do not see how the way Bowles handled Coples shows that he favored older vets.

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