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The Effects of Loosing Pace...(not MY spelling error)


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The Effects of Loosing Pace...

By Ronnie Shumake

As of late last week, the NFL has suspended Calvin Pace for the first four games of this season without pay for violation of the NFL Policy on Performing Enhancing Substances. This is the chance for last year's number one pick Vernon Gholston to make a name and perhaps a career for himself.

Taken number six overall last year, Gholston played little and made even less of an impact. He missed most of the early team activities in June and many feel that hampered his development. He is a player with a tremendous upside and the entire staff feels that he will be a breakout star in the league.

This year, he has spent almost as much time around the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center as the very walls of the facility. He has shown an incredible amount of dedication to extra weight and film sessions while many others are away until training camp. This is the type of attitude off of the field that produces winners on the field. With David Harris, Bryan Thomas and Rex Ryan import Bart Scott alongside him providing the experience, he will surely have a chance to shine.

From the sound of the staff, they will put him in position to succeed with his natural abilities. "What we've done a good job of doing is identifying what a guy can do and let him do that," said defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. "Let's turn him loose and let him play to his strengths. At the same time we're working on what he might be deficient in. A guy like Vernon, we're going to find out early what he can do. I think a big part with him is getting him some confidence early." This is a far cry from the prior staff's mentality that the players must plug into the system rather than putting a system in that plays up to the players strengths.

I love the things that he has been saying so far this year. Earlier this spring, he said to reporters "It's been huge, just my growth as a player and within this defense, I've actually been able to go through the installs, be a part of the OTAs and kind of grasp all the things I missed last year." This is a sign of someone who is ready to grow and not only take on, but also handle increased responsibility. The schedule will not be easy for those first four games with the opener in Houston, home for two against New England and Tennessee and then down to New Orleans.

There are many question marks surrounding the team this year and this news of Pace's suspension makes it seem harder for them to have any success. I actually prefer that he is suspended for the first four games rather than the league allowing him to play and then serve the suspension after the season starts. This is far better for the team overall in my opinion. They will go into the pre-season with this knowledge and give increased reps to the players behind Pace, thus strengthening the depth overall at the linebacker position. This is going to have an even greater impact on Gholston who will now get all first team playing time in pre-season. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. The culture and mentality of this team under Rex Ryan will take this and treat it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

The fifth week of the season will be when Pace is eligible to return. Let's hope that at minimum, Gholston plays well and makes it a return that can be a slow one. If he plays "lights out", then I suspect that this team will shock many this year.

http://mvn.com/the****pit/2009/07/the-effects-of-loosing-pace.html

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Good read.

The one thing that makes me nervous about this situation is that from all accounts, Gholston hasnt been the most mentally prepared player out there. This Pace situation instantly puts a ton of a pressure on him. Some players rise to the occasion, while others fail. Usually its the mentally sound players that are able to come through in the end. Lets just hope some of the Veteran leadership is helping instill confidence in Gholston and he believes enough in himself to rise to the occasion.

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Pace suspension major setback for Jets

The New York Jets' dynamic defense just became less vibrant.

The NFL has suspended outside linebacker Calvin Pace the first four games of 2009 for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy.

Jets linebacker Calvin Pace has been suspended for the first four games of the season.

Pace can take part in training camp and preseason games, but he will be persona non grata at the Jets' facility beginning Sept. 5. He will miss games at the Houston Texans, against the New England Patriots, against the Tennessee Titans and at the New Orleans Saints.

He will be eligible to return to the active roster Oct. 5 and be able to play in Week 5 against the Miami Dolphins on "Monday Night Football."

Pace responded to the suspension through a statement released by the Jets:

"This is a situation that resulted from an over-the-counter dietary supplement that contained a substance that I did not know violated the league's policy. I am responsible for what I put into my body, and I should have paid closer attention to the league's guidelines.

"I regret that this has happened and apologize to my teammates, the entire Jets organization, as well as the fans. Hopefully, this does not distract from our ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl."

Pace's absence will be a blow to Rex Ryan's defense. The big-ticket free agent led the Jets last year with 12 tackles for losses, tied for fifth in the NFL with five forced fumbles and recovered a team-high four. He finished with seven sacks, second to Shaun Ellis' eight.

But Pace's suspension at least should give Vernon Gholston an early opportunity to prove himself. Gholston, the sixth overall draft pick last year, made zero impact at outside linebacker.

Another possibility to step up is Marques Murrell, who was listed as Pace's backup on last year's depth chart and is said to have had a fine offseason.

The Jets better hope somebody steps up because a fast start could prove necessary to winning the AFC East, a division that might send only one team to the playoffs. The Patriots won 11 games last year and didn't get in, losing a tiebreaker to the Miami Dolphins, while the AFC North and AFC South sent two teams apiece.

The AFC East faces a far more difficult schedule this year. Their cross-divisional games are against the AFC South and NFC South.

That gives AFC East clubs four of the seven toughest schedules in the leagues based on last year's records.

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Let's say Gholston does well in Pace's absence. What would be the most likely scenario?

Gholston and Pace starting at the OLB positions and Thomas demoted to being a backup or would Gholston go back to being a backup and Pace and Thomas start?

That depends on how Thomas plays as well.

If both Gholston and Thomas play well in Pace's absence. Let's just say finding playing time for Pace will be a nice problem for Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to have.

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