New York Jets linebacker Calvin Pace was one of a handful of Jets defensive players that Rex Ryan inherited when his NFL head coaching career began in 2009. Heading into 2013, only Pace and David Harris remain.
Pace originally signed a six-year deal with the Jets in 2008, and played well for the most part over his first five seasons in New York. He was cut after the 2012 season and then re-signed to a more affordable one-year deal.
Now the question is, what will Pace’s role be on this 2013 Jets defense?
One of the reasons why Ryan wanted Pace back was because of his versatility. Ryan’s defensive schemes are often predicated on multiple looks, and even as an 11-year veteran, Pace may still have a role with the Jets.
In training camp, Pace will compete for the starting outside linebacker he used to call his own, and even if he’s not that player anymore, his ability to set the edge in the running game for one will definitely help his odds.
Pace can drop back into zone coverage and rush the passer when called upon, but unlike in previous years, the Jets do not have to solely rely on him to be the main guy who pressures the quarterback as an edge rusher.
Young linebackers Ricky Sapp and Garrett McIntyre will compete with Pace for playing time, and veteran Antwan Barnes will also be pushing for major snaps. Quinton Coples will be a primary edge rusher as well.
However, if Calvin Pace shows his coaches that he’s still got something left in the tank, Ryan will surely find a role for him on this defense. Training camp will essentially be Pace’s audition for a roster spot on this Jets team.
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