It’s been three years in the making, but for Jets defensive end Aaron Maybin, his fourth quarter sack of Cincinnati’s Dan LeFevour was just what he needed.
Maybin was signed by the Jets last week after his unceremonious release from Buffalo. His once promising career started just two years ago after the Bills made him the No. 11 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft. Maybin registered less than stellar numbers in his two seasons in Buffalo as the Penn State product failed to produce a sack. Among the nicer names Maybin was called by Bills fans was being labeled a “bust.”
But in his first game with the Jets, Maybin came off the edge and produced a fumble and a sack. It may have come in the fourth quarter against the Bengals’ third team offense, but a sack is a sack.
“It was great to get that monkey off my back. It felt good,” Maybin said. “Just to have that done and now over is good. I was close a few times before but never seemed to get it. Now I can move on.”
The Jets weren’t the only other team after Maybin upon his release. His suitors remember a player who, during his college days in Happy Valley, played so well his senior year that he was a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player. The hope for the former first-round pick is that the Jets’ highly-rated defense will be the place where he can finally excel, coming off the edge with his long arms and speed and get some pressure on the quarterback.
“I think that I just wanted to come to a place where I can play and showcase what I want to do, and this defense and this team is that place,” Maybin said. “So the pressure isn’t there for me to do anything but play.”
» It was the Jets’ first game in the newly-named MetLife Stadium. The naming rights for the facility formerly known as the New Meadowlands Stadium were finalized last week.
» Much like last year’s preseason opener, heavy rain and a torrential downpour dominated the night. Last year, the Jets and Giants opened the NFL seal on the stadium in a preseason game which was delayed due to lightning.
» The “Ground & Pound” offense, predicated on the rushing game, proved not to be so sound against the Bengals. The Jets’ rushing game was powered by LaDainian Tomlison, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight for much of the game’s first three quarters. The three in the backfield accounted for a combined 74 yards on 25 carries, an average of just slightly under three yards per rush.
“We had some tough sledding out there, that’s for sure,” head coach Rex Ryan said.
The Bengals seemed content to stack the box and dare the Jets to beat them in the air on the rainy night.
“They definitely came after us aggressively for a preseason game,” right tackle Wayne Hunter said.
The one bright spot of the ground game was rookie Chris Jennings who had 81 yards on four carries, all in the fourth quarter. Jennings broke a 69-yard run during his spell on the field.
» In his return to football after a suffering a broken tibia prior to Week 13 last year, safety Jim Leonhard had an interception and 35-yard return to set up a Jets field goal.
“It was good to see Jim out there making plays,” cornerback Darrelle Revis said. “I think it will probably build some more confidence in him that he can still play and he is one of the leaders on this team.”
Follow Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for in-depth coverage of the Jets all season long.