The New York Jets defense is loaded with young talent, but the experience and wisdom of veteran defensive lineman Steve McClendon should be invaluable to entire group in 2019.
Heading into the 2019 season, there are plenty of reasons for Jets fans to be excited about their promising defense.
One reason is the amount of young playmakers at every level, led by star safety Jamal Adams, who earned his first Pro Bowl nod in just his second NFL season last year. The addition of Quinnen Williams, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, gives the Jets yet another dynamic defender who still has his best football ahead of him.
But with tons of young talent on the roster, there’s a need for veteran leadership and experience to help guide the promising youth. That role falls to players like Steve McClendon, who knows his teammates will learn best from him if he lets his actions do the talking (via team reporter Olivia Landis):
I come out here and lead by example. I try to put what I do to work first, before I speak to anyone. Actions speak louder than words and we all know that. So I just try to humble myself for another year and continue to work extremely hard, and help these guys in any way possible that I can.
McClendon isn’t alone as a veteran along the defensive line, but he is the elder statesman of the group, when compared to the likes of Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson. Both on the field and in the locker room, McClendon’s presence should be especially useful as the team goes through the transition of a new coaching staff.
While the addition of Quinnen should mean McClendon remains a rotational player for the Jets, his value in 2019 will go far beyond his own on-field impact.