Link: Pace on his success rushing the passer in 2013

The youth movement on the defensive line is allowing outside linebacker Calvin Pace a revival of sorts, totaling eight sacks so far with three games left to play.  Darryl Slater of the Star-Ledger caught up with Pace this week to ask him about his play this year compared to 2012.

“I’m man enough to realize that last year wasn’t my best work,” Pace said. “I had some deficiencies in my game I needed to strengthen, and that’s pass rushing. It’s the type of league it is – pass, pass, pass. You’ve got to have guys who can put pressure on quarterbacks. So it’s a situation where I had to go get better. I’m not great at it, but I feel more comfortable.”

The numbers show it. Pace has eight sacks this season, tied for his career-high and second on the team, behind Muhammad Wilkerson’s 10. Pace had seven in his first year with the Jets and eight in his second. Pace, 33, is the Jets’ third-oldest player, behind two midseason acquisitions: quarterback David Garrard and safety Ed Reed. Pace is the Jets’ fourth-longest tenured player, among current members. But the Jets’ prodigious defensive front this season has helped reinvigorate Pace’s pass rush.

With budding stars such as the third-year end Wilkerson, second-year rush outside linebacker Quinton Coples and rookie tackle Sheldon Richardson, the Jets have often been able to get away with rushing just the four linemen. That bodes well for Pace, an outside linebacker.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

When the Jets signed Pace back in 2008 the hope was that he would be the edge rusher that the team sorely needed after the departure of John Abraham.  Back them, Pace was never a sack machine but mostly acquired sacks through his motor and the team’s solid coverage, but not his pure speed.  Where Pace was always best was as the team’s edge-setter, a role he might have been one of the league’s best between 2008-2011.  Last year Pace’s play in that regard dropped off and when the team brought him back on his one-year deal, it was as a depth option.

Pace still isn’t the edge-setter he once was against the run, but with the incredible defensive line he’s been able to thrive in his outside linebacking role, specifically as a pass rusher.  When the team lost Antwan Barnes, Pace already had 2.5 sacks  but has stepped in ably as a pass rusher.  Based on how he has played, the Jets might consider bringing Pace back next year, but maybe more than anything his success this season is a testament to the power of the Jets defensive line.

As the article notes, with players like Wilkerson, Richardson and Coples up front, it has given Pace more freedom to rush the passer in isolated matchups.  It is hard not to think about what this group could potentially do with a young edge-rusher.  That player doesn’t necessarily need to be a first-round talent either, but a OLB with some lateral speed and situational awareness could go a long way with the players that will be playing on the line for the next five plus years.




24 comments
juunit
juunit

Trevor Reilly?


I could see it happening too. We finally do draft an OLB, but don't do it until like the 3rd round.

Bent
Bent

Although he initially signed a six year, 42m deal, Pace will end up having been here for 5 years at a cost of about 31m.  I don't think he's been as dramatically overpaid as was thought.  If he stays another year and ends up costing 32m for six years, that's actually not bad value.

davem
davem

It's why Jon Paxton was always wide open for the 3point attempt... cause u were worrying about guarding Jordan and Pippen.

NYCPEinGermany
NYCPEinGermany

just getting Barnes back should help if he recovers adequately

a57se
a57se

Interesting prospect. Seems like a bit of a hit or miss type of guy. 

Most have him as a late first rounder-to mid-second round type of guy.

You seem to put a lot of stock in Rob Rang's opinion and he doesn't seem too high on the guy.

a57se
a57se

and he has been a good Jet!

Anthony Capp
Anthony Capp

@jetfuel especially bc Walls and Lankster are both FA's...To me, Lankster has to stay. In his limited time as a CB this year, he holds his own coupled with the fact that he is one of the leagues best "gunners" and tacklers on special teams.  As for Walls situation, it's a little trickier. Walls had a nice year last year and saw a fair amount of playing time when Revis went down for the year. This makes it all the more confusing that he has not seen really ANY time this year when clearly Revis is gone and the secondary has been struggling mightily. I'm afraid they will let him go and he will latch on to another squad as a successful number 2 or 3 corner for years to come. Lastly, the man that always seems forgotten in a career riddled with injuries is Aaron Berry. Berry, when healthy, is a quality corner. Yes, you could label him as a bust pick for the Lions, but the man has a nose for the football and I would love to see him in a Jets uniform for a full season in full health

a57se
a57se

think I like NYC Penguins better!

Marty Luc
Marty Luc

@me i'd be really disappointed if the jets didn't spend their 1st 3-5 draft picks on offense. we need help at every skill position. Our defense is good enough to win in this league. but offensively we're at the bottom of the league. we need more balance if we're going to make it to, and then make some noise in the playoffs. 

juunit
juunit

Eh. I think Rang is one of the better guys out there, but that's not really saying too much since I think most of them are awful. 


That's a little surprising that he's apparently that highly regarded. I was hoping he'd be one of those under the radar kind of guys. 


He'd fit the defense well since I think he could play OLB in both the 3-4 and 4-3 alignments we run. And he's not just a pass rusher so he'd be able to replace Pace.

Anthony Capp
Anthony Capp

@jetfuel @NYCPEinGermany barnes really had the left shoulder "dip" move down to a science, was truly fascinating to watch. With Barnes back next year, and Richardson and Coples with another year under their belts coupled with of course, the beastly Big Mo, I don't see a better defensive line in all of football

a57se
a57se

With Barnes coming back next season it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a guy to groom for that role.

There was plenty of buzz around Breslin coming into this season. I don't think scouts have completely forgotten about the guy but he is definitely a roll the dice type of player.

juunit
juunit

If everyone knows about Reilly, then my sneaky steal at OLB is Morgan Breslin. JUCO transfer that's been hurt basically all of his senior season. 


Not sure if any of those three guys are truly Pace replacements though. They might just be predominantly pass rushers.

a57se
a57se

This draft has some depth at DE/OLB.......Jackson Jeffcoat and Michael Sam are guys who could be around in the third.

Jeffcoat has the size to play both OLB and DE while Sam would definitely add to the speed at LB.

a57se
a57se

This draft doesn't seem to be real deep at Safety compared to last year. I'm not sure how much talent will be there in the third or fourth rounds as you suggest.

SackDance99
SackDance99

We're forgetting about Josh Bush, who is pretty talented but has been overshadowed because of Allen's awesome athleticism.  We all like to complain about safety play, but add a young OLB that is a better pass rusher than Pace and our safety play will look a lot better.

Anthony Capp
Anthony Capp

@jetfuel @Anthony Capp Yes and Landry is not the greatest in coverage to say the least. Gotta love Allen, great story, 7th round pick who plays with so much heart and hustle and has been such a pleasant surprise covering the tight ends, which have been consistently killing us for years. I always think back to I believe two off seasons ago when we were so close to signing Reggie Nelson. Imagine if Nelson was leading our defensive backfield? The guys a gamer. But that being said, I could easily seeing them using one of their two third round picks or their fourth round pick on a talented SS. They could do so via draft, or maybe bring back a familiar face in James Ihedigbo who seems to have found his game given some playing time for the Ravens, or a journeyman such as Ryan Mundy who currently is on the Giants. A mid level draft pick along with a vet. to compete during camp would be the perfect scenario 

Anthony Capp
Anthony Capp

@jetfuel @Anthony Capp While we are discussing the secondary I'd like to ask you, what do you think the Jets should do at the safety positions for next year?

Anthony Capp
Anthony Capp

@SackDance99 could not agree more except with replacing "we could" see a leap in production from Dee, to "we should". I'm all for being patient with young players and the offseason that wasn't is a great point, but being the 9th pick overall in the draft and Idziks first career Jets draft choice, we better see results starting early next year or else we will be hearing some loud and heavy criticism of Dee and our new GM

SackDance99
SackDance99

No player was more affected by not being in camp healthy (and signed) than Milliner.  If he can stay healthy, work out in the off-season (maybe with Cro, whose off-season workouts are legendary) and be in camp on day 1, we could see a big leap in production from Dee next season.

Anthony Capp
Anthony Capp

@jetfuel @Anthony Capp @NYCPEinGermany

Agreed! so much potential. I just hope the secondary is improved thru free agency rather thru the draft, even though we do possess a fair amount of picks. Call me crazy but Milliner looked very solid against Oakland. Yes, it was Oakland, but his technique and body position and speed all looked like a top tier corners and that potential is nice to see finally. Milliner, paired with a nice FA signing of either the Bears Tillman or Jennings (granted they let one go) or someone along the lines of a Mike Jenkins/Deangelo Hall type veteran, could vastly improve that secondary right away