The Jets' new linebackers coach, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, is looking to instill more aggression and power in his players, especially LB Lorenzo Mauldin.
The 25-year-old has shown spurts of potential in two seasons with the Jets, but his 2.5 sacks last season isn't the production they had expected. Greene intends to change that, and he told NJ.com's Darryl Slater why he uses this specific approach to his coaching.
"Everybody at this level has skill, correct?" Greene said. "They'rea ll athletic, and agility and dexterity and all that stuff. Well, what separates people initially is their physical level of play. That's always our first step, is we have to play more physical than whoever is in front of us, because we're all athletic."
Mauldin is embracing Greene's mindset as he realizes his game needs more physicality.
"I was a finesse player," Mauldin said. "I think I'm going to throw that into the trash can this year. I think I'm going to go with more power this year."
In 11 games last season, Mauldin totaled only 16 combined tackles while notching one interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery. Greene thinks his lack of production could be due to his expanded role in the NFL.
"It's the hardest thing to do, going from a three-point stance up into a staggered, two-point stance," Greene said. "And now expanding your vision [to see possible pass catches in the formation] and understanding how that can change you job, depending on formation, motion, or any number of factors. So that's where the growing pain comes."
Mauldin, along with the rest of the linebacker corps, will aim to replicate the intensity Greene had in his playing days. It won't be an easy process, but Greene is encouraged in his players' want to learn.
"They're going to have some growing pains with some of the technique and fundamentals that I'm teaching," he said. "But they want to learn. Play free. I try to encourage my kids to let the love flow. Let it flow. If you make a good play, let a little passion flow. And havve some passion for your teammates when they make a big-time play. Nothing wrong with that."
As for Mauldin, he will also have to battle off-the-field issues. He faces a lawsuit for allegedly punching a man at a New York nightclub back in April. He turned himself into authorities last Wednesday, however, his attorney claims he is innocent. He has a court date set for Aug. 16.