The New York Jets have missed outside linebacker Bryan Thomas since his season ending injury in week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens. It has been clear the impact Aaron Maybin has provided to the Jets. Yet, he isn’t a traditional outside linebacker and is used specifically as a pass rusher, primarily out of a sprinter’s stance on the defensive line. The carousel of players attempting to replace Thomas began with Jamaal Westerman, then moved to Josh Mauga, and most recently to Garrett McIntyre.
After failing to lock down the job in his first attempt, Westerman replaced a benched McIntyre in the base defense starting in the second half against Washington. He responded with 5 tackles, a sack, and 2 tackles for a loss. It wasn’t his first batch of impact plays in the 2011 season, as he has 3.5 sacks so far and forced a safety against New England a few weeks back.
Despite lacking size, Westerman provides much needed speed to a painfully slow linebacker group. He also looked much improved against the run in the second half versus Washington. Perhaps he realizes that if he doesn’t make an impact in these final stretch of games, he may never get the chance again to be an impact player on this defense.
Prior to the year, Ryan dubbed Westerman his DPR or “Designated Pass Rusher” but it has been Maybin who has taken over that title, literally. He was announced in the starting line-up at the Jets/Pats game as it. With likely another shot at the starting outside linebacker spot, Westerman has a chance to still develop into the impact player the coaching staff envisioned him as.