A new era has begun for the New York Jets. While Rex Ryan will still be the head coach in New York, there has been a major roster overhaul recently. Many past contributors on defense are gone, and others must step up. One player who will be expected to do so is outside linebacker Garrett McIntyre. McIntyre embarked on quite a journey to the NFL. As an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State, it was a struggle just to get noticed.
After being cut by the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, and Tennessee Titans, McIntyre’s voyage led him to the Arena Football League, then to Canada. McIntyre signed with the Jets prior to the 2011 season and quickly earned a reputation as a special teams standout. Gradually he was given more time in the linebacker rotation. When starter Bryan Thomas missed a game early this past season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, McIntire had seven tackles and two sacks. He should expect to get much more playing time in 2013.
Calvin Pace, who had been a starting outside linebacker since 2008, left as a free agent, and it doesn’t appear the team has any interest in bringing him back. Thomas, the longest active Jet on the roster, is considering retirement as age and injuries have caught up with him. These factors make McIntyre’s emergence even more important.
McIntyre has a decent ability to rush the passer, but could use work against the run. He needs to take advantage of this chance and solidify himself as a reliable starter.