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Ryan keeps banging Gholston's drum

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan continues to campaign for sophomore pass-rusher Vernon Gholston.

Based on Ryan's unsolicited analysis, Gholston is on his way to proving the Jets didn't commit a major gaffe by drafting him sixth overall last year. Gholston made one solo tackle and was a healthy scratch late in his rookie season.

Nobody asked, but Ryan went out of his way to praise Gholston after Monday morning's workout at SUNY Cortland.

"Is it me, or is it just amazing how it happens," Ryan said, "but is Vernon Gholston looking better to anybody in this room? Like, everybody? That's a positive. That's a real positive.

"This guy is getting better and he's more confident. He's one of the guys, and he's physical. He's doing everything that we have hoped for at this point. We'll see how he does moving forward.

"I'm really encouraged by him and pleased with him. He's playing physical, more productive on the pass rush, setting up games, communicating with his teammates, just everything. He's really coming on. You expect a player to make a jump from his first to second year, and he definitely is doing that. He's looking great."

While Ryan might be trying to pump up Gholston through the press, the time is coming for Gholston to demonstrate his development. The Jets' will open their preseason schedule Friday against the St. Louis Rams at the Meadowlands.

Moreover, Gholston will have his chance to make amends on his awful rookie season by earning the snaps outside linebacker Calvin Pace forfeited by violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. The league suspended Pace for the first four games of the regular season.