It’s about that time for Vernon Gholston. The second-year outside linebacker out of Ohio State is beginning to hear the word “bust” mentioned far too frequently. With Calvin Pace suspended the first four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, Gholston is going to get his chance to justify the Jets taking him with the sixth overall pick last season. You’d think under the circumstances that a player would drive himself crazy trying to live up to the hype. Not Gholston. The former Buckeye hasn’t changed his approach to the game, nor has he succumbed to the pressure of the fans or media.
“For me, it’s about going out there and playing,” said Gholston. “I have the same mindset I had as if I was coming off the bench.”
Gholston has yet to establish himself in the pre-season, as he had just one tackle in Saturday’s 27-25 win over the Giants. He has just three tackles through three pre-season games. Last year was not a good one for Gholston, who finished with just 13 stops.
But the lack of production has done nothing to diminish his confidence.
“I know I can play. The coaches know I can play,” he said during training camp. “It’s just all about, like I said, getting in the defense, knowing what I’m in, knowing what I play, what I got going on and stepping up and doing it.”
Gholston is going to get another chance to show he can get the job done tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m. when the Jets take on the Eagles at the Meadowlands. It should be a stern test for Gholston and the rest of the defense to stop Michael Vick, who is expected to see significant action. If Gholston can make the plays against an athlete as dynamic as Vick, he should be able to succeed against any quarterback in the NFL.
As for any pressure he’s feeling, Gholston said it’s nothing more than anything else he’s faced.
“The pressure is nothing more than everyday NFL pressure,” Gholston said. “It’s just going to take a little time.”