The New York Jets defense was dealt a devastating blow this morning when they learned that OLB Calvin Pace will be sidelined for six weeks with a broken foot. Pace injured the foot against the Redskins on Friday. It was originally thought to be just a sprain, but it proved to be much worse.
With Pace out, Jason Taylor steps into the starting lineup. The soon to be 36 year old Taylor, will now get a chance to show how much he has left in the tank. It will be a tall task for Taylor. Pace was the Jets best pure pass rusher, while also being stout against the run.
This now marks the second season in a row, that the Jets will be without Pace for the opening of the season. Last year, Pace missed the first four games after being suspended for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
With the team now shallow at outside linebacker they have a few options. They could move Vernon Gholston back to outside linebacker, who was mostly ineffective filling in for Pace last season, but I doubt they do that. Gholston is now fully entrenched at defensive end and is showing some promise there, so I don’t see them moving him back. Another option could be to sign free agent OLB Adalius Thomas. Thomas has a great relationship with Rex Ryan going back to their days in Baltimore. He had his best season with Ryan, notching 11 sacks in 2006. However, he was in the doghouse last year in New England and no team has shown interest in him since he was released. That could change now with the Jets suddenly thin at outside linebacker.