Second-year linebacker Vernon Gholston will begin the Jets camp with plenty of confidence as Jets skipper Rex Ryan plugged him as the team's starting outside 'backer in place of the suspended Calvin Pace.
"Guys have got to step up and we talked about Vernon Gholston," Ryan told the New York Post. "Hey, here it is. We said he's going to be a big part of what we do. Now, he's in the starting rotation."
Pace has been suspended for four games without pay by the NFL after the veteran violated the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.
In 15 games last season for the Jets, Gholston notched just 13 total tackles (five solo). Pace had 80 total tackles — third most among Jets defenders — in 16 games for the Jets a year ago.
With Jets camp set to start Friday in Cortland, N.Y., the first-year coach is ready to get going and prove the critics of his Jets wrong.
"It's on, especially now," Ryan said Wednesday. "Do I have a chip on my shoulder and things like that? Always. I'm going into this season no different. I have something to prove as a head coach. When we're predicted last by almost all the major publications in our division, I don't care."
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