A Bigger Mayhem


Dec 04, 2011; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin (51) celebrates a sack of Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman (8) during the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. the Jets defeated the Redskins 34-19. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Mayhem is looking to increase his role.

Well, right now, it’s to increase his size, as Aaron Maybin is eating 5,000-6,000 calories per day in order to put on enough weight to make himself an every down player. He’s up to 243 in only 3 months, a 13 pound increase.

His first two seasons in the league were not what he expected, to put it mildly.

Maybin, drafted 11th overall by the Buffalo Bills in 2009, was a colossal disappointment. His emergence last season with the Jets was one of the bright spots on the team — the inspiring, second-chance story of a player who appeared to be on the fast track to Vernon Gholston-ville.

Now Aaron Maybin is on the right track, and “Mayhem”, as the late Joe Paterno dubbed him, excelled last year, and wants to get even better.

“I should’ve easily had double-digit sacks last year,” said Maybin, who produced a team-high six sacks despite limited playing time. “That’s disappointing, but it’s also encouraging because I know how much better I can be if I didn’t leave those plays on the field.”

He missed the first 3 games last year as he was cut and then resigned. He was worked slowly back into the defense as a pass rush specialist, but he was quite efficient at it. With only 197 pass-rushing attempts, fifth on the team, he registered the six sacks and 16 quarterback hurries. Imagine what he could do with twice as many opportunities.

Maybin brought the dimension of speed to the Jets defense. What the coaches did was took his repertoire of moves, whatever he felt he was best at, and simplified them, so his impact could be magnified.

He has to be careful about being a guy with only one move. Obviously, having only one move will make him easy to stop.

“You need an over-under move, kind of like a crossover dribble in basketball,” Pettine said. “If you put that fear in a tackle, making him think, ‘This guy might try a crossover on me,’ you become that much more effective.”

So Maybin has been working on his footwork, planting one foot and dipping his shoulder. The Jets haven’t added any speed rushers in the offseason — No. 1 pick Quinton Coples is more power than speed — so Maybin will be the focal point in their third-down package.

To aid in the confusion designed to make Maybin even more effective, he has lined up all over the formation during OTAs, so the offense will have no idea where he is coming from.

“Now the goal is, it’s not good enough anymore to be a role player,” he said. “Now we have to make ourselves an impact player. We have to change the momentum of games.”

Aaron wants to be opn the field every down, which is the motivation for him to bulk up. The Bills had very high expectations for him as a first round pick. The Jets, on the other hand, have recognized what Maybin is good at, and carved out a specific niche for him in the defense.

“Those years when I was struggling in Buffalo, I was really struggling,” he said. “I was mad and pissed off, too. I was mad every single day. They wanted me to be something I wasn’t. “Rex and the coaches here have embraced me for who I am and what I am, and they put me in a position to be exactly that. I can’t even put into words how good that feels.”

It’s a testament to the quality of the Jets coaching that they could find the diamond in the rough. Players too often get put into specific roles and expectations, solely based on their draft pick, and it causes uncomfortable, and unfavorable situations, as it did in Maybin’s case in Buffalo. You have to be able to see what a guy can do, and harness that. Hopefully, we can see more havoc being reaked on the field in 2012.