Given Second Chance, Jets Linebacker Maybin Thrives

“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.”

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With Sanchez, Jets Weigh Momentum Against Rest

Knowing the pain in his injured right shoulder, knowing the Jets have already clinched a playoff berth, knowing they need Pittsburgh to lose and Baltimore to win in order to improve their postseason standing, Sanchez said only, “I’m glad I’m not a head coach.”

Instead, the decision falls to the man who holds that title, , who reiterated Wednesday what he said Monday, that he had not made a decision regarding Sanchez, and that he might not until shortly before Sunday when Buffalo comes to town for the regular-season finale. Ryan labeled it unlikely that Sanchez would play the entire game, but he also did not dismiss the possibility that Sanchez would sit out.

Ryan said he told all of his players except safety James Ihedigbo to prepare as if they would play Sunday. “And as the week goes on,” Ryan continued, “we’re going to do what’s in the best interest of our team.”

Sanchez’s health, of course, remains the Jets’ primary concern. But Ryan also continued to point to his quarterback’s last two performances, both against stout defenses and Chicago, both on the road, both solid. Ryan also knows that three of Sanchez’s worst performances came after extended downtime: in the season opener against Baltimore, against Green Bay after the bye week and more than one week after the Jets played Thanksgiving night.

What Ryan called Sanchez’s “hot hand” on Wednesday, Sanchez described as rhythm and following the same routine. He compared it to a shooter in basketball who continues to fire away, who does not want a rest. He noted that extra repetitions, especially in real games, would not hurt.

“You don’t want to disrupt it,” he said. “You want to keep everything in stride.”

Sanchez also said his shoulder felt better, more healthy, than at this time last week.

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Jets’ Sanchez Will Start Against the Bills

Coach announced that Sanchez would start in the team’s regular-season finale against Buffalo, but Ryan was uncertain how long he would stay in the game. It is possible Sanchez could play a few series or a few quarters before giving way to and Kellen Clemens.

“We’ll go ahead and start Mark this game,” Ryan said. “How long he plays, we’ll determine that as the game goes.”

Ryan said Sanchez, dealing with a sore right shoulder, showed some zip on his passes in practice and looked good enough to make Ryan feel comfortable about starting him for the playoff-bound Jets (10-5).

Ryan was unsure Wednesday whether Sanchez would play Sunday, saying he was leaning toward playing him “some,” but wanted to see how he threw Thursday before making a decision.

“Last week at this time, I had my concerns,” Ryan said. “Right now, he is zipping it pretty good. I don’t want to put him out there if we don’t think he’s healthy, but I believe he is healthy now.”

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