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ESPN: Jets prospect Gholston better equipped for '09


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Vernon Gholston is more patient than you are.

Fans already popped the bust label on him faster than a Deacon Jones head slap.

Never mind that Gholston was only 22 years old. The New York Jets drafted him sixth overall last year to harangue quarterbacks, and he finished with zero sacks. He made one solo tackle. He was deactivated for an important Week 15 game.

"I don't know why people think my rookie year was upsetting or whatever," Gholston said recently at teammate David Clowney's youth football camp in Delray Beach, Fla.

"For me, my expectations are high, but at the same time I know coming to the NFL is going to be a challenge. You can't expect anything to be given to you."

But plenty was given to Gholston: $21 million guaranteed in his five-year contract.

That was his reward for looking like something off a comic-book illustrator's sketch pad and playing like a superhero at Ohio State. He was the Big Ten's defensive player of the year as a junior and decided to forego his senior year. He dazzled scouts at the NFL combine and was even more impressive at his pro day in Columbus.

As a Jet, however, his special power was invisibility.

"We all know he's fast. We all know he's strong. He's all that kind of stuff," new Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. "Now let's see it on the field."

Ryan intends to incorporate Gholston more into a team concept rather than count on him to be a star -- something sixth overall picks are supposed to be. Getting Gholston regularly on the field would be a significant step over last year.

Gholston's biggest opportunity could come as a defensive end in the nickel package. He won't line up as an every-down 3-4 outside linebacker. Not yet anyway.

"The tough thing is, I know where Vernon was drafted," Ryan said. "There's expectations for him individually. We're wrong by doing that.

"We just need to place our expectations on that unit. If we do that, sometimes in the stats, he may not show up individually or this player might not show up, but he might play a great game.

"Again, I know you guys are going to be, 'Well, he only had three tackles or one sack,' whatever it is. That's fine, but let's see how this group does. Let's see how we perform collectively. I know we'll be happy with Vernon."

Gholston laughs when he considers where he is now compared to this time last year. He missed so many offseason workouts that it curbed his development.

He was supposed to be learning a new position, but NFL rules designed to keep kids in class prohibited him from attending organized team activities because Ohio State's quarterly academic schedule runs late. Then he stayed away from the team until signing that gargantuan contract and missed the first two training camp practices.

Gholston struggled to pick up former head coach Eric Mangini's defense.

"Getting into pads is the easy part for me," Gholston said. "The hard part is the mental part of learning where you need to be and what's going on. That's what I missed out on.

"Last year, I came into training camp and had to start there, when everybody else was off and running."

About seven months later he was studying another system, but he already can tell a difference in comprehension because he was there from the beginning of Ryan's instruction.

"OTAs are huge. The installs are going in and at a pace you can handle," Gholston said. "Everything is done at a teaching tempo. Having these practices to iron out the kinks -- what you need to do, where you need to be -- is critical.

"My personal goal right now is just to learn the system in and out, learn the calls. That's the hardest thing. Once you grasp all that, the football part's pretty easy."

Ryan spent 10 years, the last four as defensive coordinator, with the perennially devastating Baltimore Ravens. He has been quick to praise Gholston and has gone so far as to compare him to Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, a three-time Pro Bowler.

Perhaps Ryan is going overboard in news conferences to help build Gholston's confidence, but it must sound more encouraging than Mangini's curt words -- and catcalls from the stands -- during an awful rookie campaign.

"It's hard not to enjoy watching him play," Ryan said. "I see him as a starter. It may not be in every package, but it's going to be in some packages. I think Vernon will definitely be able to help us this year. We're expecting him to."

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Gholston was known to be a guy that played slow while he was learning and needed to understand what he was doing to flourish while at Ohio State. That's why his numbers improved each year in College. He missed OTA's last year because of the quartile system at Ohio State and the late graduation date for the school and he held out from mini camp. Last year was basically a wasted year for him.

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Gholston was known to be a guy that played slow while he was learning and needed to understand what he was doing to flourish while at Ohio State. That's why his numbers improved each year in College. He missed OTA's last year because of the quartile system at Ohio State and the late graduation date for the school and he held out from mini camp. Last year was basically a wasted year for him.

Exactly. Also, a lot of people forget about the complexities of Mangini's defense and having missed all of the OTA's last year that put him even farther behind. I'm just glad that we will be moving into an attacking style defense rather than a read and react. This should make things much easier for Gholston.

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I expect this season to be like his rookie season where he'll obtain around 5 sacks and he'll contribute mostly in passing situations. 2010 should be the year that we see if he's going to take off or not. Then again, lets hope he can at least start contributing first in 2009. On defense. Not Special Teams.

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Gholston was known to be a guy that played slow while he was learning and needed to understand what he was doing to flourish while at Ohio State. That's why his numbers improved each year in College. He missed OTA's last year because of the quartile system at Ohio State and the late graduation date for the school and he held out from mini camp. Last year was basically a wasted year for him.

Nice bit of revisionary history there.

So it is your contention now that the Jets drafted him at #6, and gave him a $21 million guaranteed contract with the expectation that for 20% of his 5 year contract he would do little more that occupy a roster spot. Surely the Jets scouting department knew of his year by year perforance at Ohio and how much of the OTAs he would attend or miss before the draft.

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Nice bit of revisionary history there.

So it is your contention now that the Jets drafted him at #6, and gave him a $21 million guaranteed contract with the expectation that for 20% of his 5 year contract he would do little more that occupy a roster spot. Surely the Jets scouting department knew of his year by year perforance at Ohio and how much of the OTAs he would attend or miss before the draft.

:hand:

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My issue with vg is that he seems a bit too accepting of his earlier ineptitude, whatever the reasons might have been. He has no swagger, no fire, no bragadocious edge. It seems his expectations are middle of the road and he's in no hurry to play at the top level--which is what he and his team should expect of him. His being satisfied with taking the long way round the learning curve bothers me.

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Perhaps Ryan is going overboard in news conferences to help build Gholston's confidence, but it must sound more encouraging than Mangini's curt words -- and catcalls from the stands -- during an awful rookie campaign.

"It's hard not to enjoy watching him play," Ryan said. "I see him as a starter. It may not be in every package, but it's going to be in some packages. I think Vernon will definitely be able to help us this year. We're expecting him to."

I too would prefer this type of postive reinforcment/encouragement then Magnini's dumb ass.

**** I hate the POS that is Eric Mangini.

I wouldnt be surprised to see an improvement, but the sad part is, 1 sack and 20 tackles would be a significant rise in production. :bag:

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Learning the OLB position from DE generally takes 3-5 on the average. That may make you all very angry but it is the norm. Everyone wants to look at Merriman or Ware but the realistic expectations should be more like Adalius Thomas, Harrison or Vrable. Pitt does a very good job prepping their OLBs to contribute early (see Porter/Woodley), but there is no magic formula. You invest in the players and hope they pan out, but you have to commit to training them and taking your lumps with them.

FWIW I expect a pretty good year from VG. My over under is about 6 sacks, 50 tackles, 8 "starts" with 16 games of noticable playing time rotating in with BT and Pace. I also bet he has one or 2 multi sack game.

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Learning the OLB position from DE generally takes 3-5 on the average. That may make you all very angry but it is the norm. Everyone wants to look at Merriman or Ware but the realistic expectations should be more like Adalius Thomas, Harrison or Vrable. Pitt does a very good job prepping their OLBs to contribute early (see Porter/Woodley), but there is no magic formula. You invest in the players and hope they pan out, but you have to commit to training them and taking your lumps with them.

FWIW I expect a pretty good year from VG. My over under is about 6 sacks, 50 tackles, 8 "starts" with 16 games of noticable playing time rotating in with BT and Pace. I also bet he has one or 2 multi sack game.

But the Jets really only have him for 5 years. After that he is a FA.

Lets assume year 2 & 3 he contributes in rotation but is nothing more than a JAG and year and 4 and 5 (and years 6 thru 10) he is a significant player at pro-bowl caliber. It is still a busted draft pick for the Jets. Year 6-10 after he learns the postition he might be on another team or the Jets have to pay him market rates to keep him.

Whether he was a good pick or a bust isn't measured by what type of carrear he has but what he does for the team during his rookie contract.

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Exactly. Also, a lot of people forget about the complexities of Mangini's defense and having missed all of the OTA's last year that put him even farther behind. I'm just glad that we will be moving into an attacking style defense rather than a read and react. This should make things much easier for Gholston.

This what still gives me a shimmer of hope. Mangini's chess nerd defensive tactics where annoying. I hope Rex makes it simple and just has this kid going in and out of QB's nightmares like Freddy Kruger in a football helmet.

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But the Jets really only have him for 5 years. After that he is a FA.

Lets assume year 2 & 3 he contributes in rotation but is nothing more than a JAG and year and 4 and 5 (and years 6 thru 10) he is a significant player at pro-bowl caliber. It is still a busted draft pick for the Jets. Year 6-10 after he learns the postition he might be on another team or the Jets have to pay him market rates to keep him.

Whether he was a good pick or a bust isn't measured by what type of carrear he has but what he does for the team during his rookie contract.

Actually they "have him" for as long as they want him. There are way's you know to hold on to players. Renegotiating, franchise tags and whatnot. The system favors the teams holding onto players they can not afford to lose. Drafting players gives you that right. Which is the reason you can take high upside picks like this one and then develop them and then after year 4 and 5 you get to hold onto that pro-bowl player.

Also calling someone a bust is relative to

Oh jeez, i just looked up and realized who I was responding to. F-off troll.

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Dude was drafted based on potential and was basically a project pick. Mangini did not have any idea how to bring a guy like that along. Gholston can still have an impact and not be a bust. Have to have some patience. We are going to have a strong d without him. Anything hew adds is like icing on the cake.

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Let's see how he is used, if all they do is make him rush the passer he will produce better numbers. BTW I think Mangini's approach would have been very good for VG longer term. If you want him as a true LBer, he needs to be developed as such. VG wasn't ready to play NFL ball as we all knew at draft day - he was a very raw player with huge upside. Let's not rewrite history because we are upset that the high 1st round pick didn't become an all pro in his rookie year. Before he was drafted by the Jets absolutely nobody expected him to. RAW TALENT was the disclaimer all over this kid on every draft site, scouting report and espn coverage. Mangini for all of his warts, lack of balls, inability to adjust in games to the opposition, did things the right way from a management prospective, he was unpopular as a result, but he followed a strong system that has been proven as a good way to manage a program.

Yes he absolutely got what was coming to him. As evidenced by the collapse, he lacked any real toughness, the balls to do what was needed as a coach when he saw something wasn't going according to plan, no ability to call the game by gut instinct but rather relied on stats and coaching by the book and the numbers, and proved too inflexible to adjust away from his finely crafted game plans. He thought his gameplans were so good there was no way they needed to adjust them whent he other teams figured them out. If he was able to fix just one of those flaws in himself I think we make the playoffs last year and he is still our coach. Sit Favre down, adjust to a bad team overcompensating, call out your underperforming dogs because they were playing down to lesser opponents, make a few ballsy calls to keep the ball in play on offense and stop punting and playing prevent to sell yardage for time. Anyway I am getting off tangent on that god damned Mangini.

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