Mar 10, 2014; New York, NY, USA; American football defensive endMuhammad Wilkerson
of the New York Jets sits court side at the game between the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
If anybody came into their own in 2013, it was Muhammad Wilkerson. Wilkerson became the best pass rusher the Jets’ have put out there since John Abraham, posting 10.5 sacks last season. Wilkerson was a guy that the Jets’ opponents had to game plan against.
One of the biggest reasons that Wilkerson has improved is from the strength and speed of his hands. Let’s take a look. This first sack we are going to look at is from week three against the Buffalo Bills:
E.J. Manuel is lined up in the shotgun. Muhammad Wilkerson is in the circle, and he is going to take on #71, Cyrus Kouandjio, one on one. Good luck with that Cyrus.
Wilkerson, shown here, is starting to make his move to the inside. However, if we move ahead, we will see that he is not going to go inside. Instead, Mo is going to use his hands to guide Kouandjio to the inside while he goes to the outside to get right to E.J. Manuel.
See Wilkerson’s left hand, in the square? He is guiding the guard to the inside, while he quickly gets to the outside and muscles his opponent out of the way.
As you can see from this frame, the guard has engaged with Mo once again, but Mo clearly has position on him now, and it is just a few seconds from now…..
…that Wilkerson has a straight line to the quarterback, and an eight yard sack.
Turn the page as we look at one more sack.
This second one is from the home battle against the New England Patriots. Specifically, from the third quarter of that game.
In this one, Wilkerson is lined up at right end, in the circle, and will be taking on Nate Solder one on one. Solder is a good tackle, maybe he can do it one on one, right? Wrong.
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Here, Wilkerson is engaged with Solder up high. Here come the hands now. See his feet first, however. See how the right foot is planted? Here again, Mo is making one move, this time to the outside, and about to use his hands to go the opposite way. Let’s move ahead and see how Mo gets to the inside, and therefore, to Tom Brady.
Here we go. Wilkerson has his hands pushing Solder to the outside, and already has inside position on him.
Wilkerson has a clear line to Brady, unless Stevan Ridley chips him at some point. It’s an interesting choice Stevan makes, as he is right next to Mo, but doesn’t lay a glove on him.
And down goes Brady!
Mo Wilkerson has fast, strong hands, and they will serve him well for many years.