"I think Vernon is having a real good offseason,'' said [defensive coordinator Mike] Pettine Thursday following an organized team activity session at Florham Park. "You can tell this is important to him. He's passionate about it.Also in that report is a recap of some of the other OTA's.
"The signs are there. He asks the right questions. If he makes a mistake, usually he knows it right away. I think progression-wise, he's right where he needs to be. ... I'm confident he'll be better once we have the pads on.''
Said Gholston: "The comfort comes from this being my second year. The biggest thing is that last year at this time I wasn't here. I was back at Ohio State. Now, you get the chance to go through the defensive installs. You can work on it and work on your technique and the different ins and outs of the defense. I didn't get the chance to do that last year. I think that's pretty big.''
Gholston's progression is vital to this year's defense. Rex Ryan can want his defense to be violent all he wants, and he's definitely going to be sending guys on a lot of blitzes. However, Bryan Thomas has been around long enough to show that he will never be an elite pass rusher. The same goes for Calvin Pace. Both are solid players, especially Pace, but Gholston has the potential to be much, much more, as he showed at Ohio State.
Remember, he was NOT a workout warrior, as some would like you to believe. Most pundits viewed him as a high pick before the combine, and his results there only confirmed his high status.
Don't believe me? Ask Jake Long.
Gholston was a beast at Ohio State, setting the single season Ohio State sack record with 14 his junior season in 2007. However, he struggled a lot to pick up the defense last season, and he made zero impact at the NFL level. This year, he has a full offseason with the team, and hopefully some better coaching.
Part of the problem with Gholston is that he tries to do what he did in that video: bowl over people. It may have worked in college, even against guys like #1 overall pick Jake Long, but in the NFL, he needs to develop more pass rushing moves. If Rex Ryan and Pettine can push him in the right direction, Gholston will provide a pass rushing element this defense sorely needs, and it can push the defense from top 10 in the league to top 5.
Still, temper your hopes for Gholston. He had one tackle last season. He's not going to be Terrell Suggs overnight, and he looked good in shorts at the combine last year, too.