“He’s definitely a loud guy,” Josh Mauga, another Jets reserve linebacker, said with a smile Friday. “I don’t think he has a whisper.”
The Jets picked up Maybin on Aug. 17 after he was waived by the , who took him in the first round of the 2009 N.F.L. draft with the 11th overall pick. Maybin, referred to as Maybe by disappointed Bills fans, could not squeeze onto the Jets’ roster, either.
Three games into the season, was looking to improve his team’s pass rush, so he took one more chance on Maybin. Maybin has made Ryan look smart. In 32 total defensive snaps in the last three games, Maybin has two sacks and three forced fumbles, tied for the league lead.
Maybin forced two fumbles Monday in the Jets’ 24-6 victory over Miami. He said he had not changed anything about the way he was playing from either Buffalo or his first time with the Jets, but he looks different to the coaches.
“He’s a passionate guy, and his motor is running,” Ryan said Friday. “He made a great play a couple of weeks ago. He’s on the ground, gets back up, forces the fumble about 15 yards downfield. He’s playing with a relentless motor, and he’s playing fast. Sometimes, you know, it just clicks.”
The defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said this week that Maybin may understand the Jets’ defense — and his role in it — better than he did in training camp. He may be more committed to learning the defense this time around.
Maybin weighs 228 pounds, relatively light for a linebacker, and his job, for now, is to rush the quarterback. Against the Dolphins, he played just 19 defensive snaps.
“I can’t really speak on what happened in Buffalo, but he’s a guy I think may have matured some,” Pettine said. “And I think just putting him into certain roles and not exposing him to too much, I think, will be good for us early on. Then, as I think he becomes more and more comfortable, we’ll see him on the field more.”
Jamaal Westerman has replaced Bryan Thomas, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon, as one of the starting outside linebackers. Ryan said Friday that he would like to use several players at the position, “almost like a platoon situation in the outfield.”
Maybin is just happy to have another opportunity to play. Even after the Bills and the Jets cut him in less than a month, he thought he would get a chance to play somewhere.
“I’m attacking this opportunity very hard,” he said. “But that’s always just been the way I’ve played. Anybody who’s ever watched me play, whether it’s high school, college or now, they’d be able to say the exact same stuff. I’ve always been a extra-hype guy, a high-energy guy, a high-motor guy.”
When told Pettine’s comment that he seemed like a different player, Maybin said, “Maybe it’s an indication that they think I’m a little more focused, but that’s something I’ve always done.”
He, too, is disappointed with how his two years in Buffalo turned out. After signing a five-year, $25 million contract with the Bills ($14 million of it guaranteed), Maybin, from Penn State, had only 24 tackles and no sacks in 27 regular-season games.
Maybin was referred to as a bust. Asked if the experience might have been the best thing that could have happened to him, Maybin frowned and said, “That would be the easy thing for me to say, but it would be a lie.”
He added: “It was a humbling experience; it was an experience that after I had gone through with it, I was stronger for having gone through it. But was it something that needed to happen, or something I felt was necessary? I couldn’t say that.”
After playing the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, the Jets will have a bye, then will play Maybin’s former team twice in three weeks. Maybin said he would also be lying if he said he was not looking forward to those games.
But he added: “I don’t hold contempt for the Buffalo Bills, you know what I mean? At the end of the day, my time was a learning experience, and it taught me a lot about myself and the adversity I’ve had to fight back from.”