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Meet Calvin 'the tone-setter' Pryor

Calvin Pryor, who had seven tackles on Sunday, said he's trying to bring increased energy and leadership to the Jets' defense. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In what was pretty much a do-or-die divisional game, the New York Jets needed some big plays early.

The Jets’ defense believes it got one almost right away from Calvin Pryor.

The big-hitting safety delivered a punishing blow to Miami Dolphins receiver Rishard Matthews on a short pass to force an incomplete pass and a three-and-out on the Dolphins’ first drive of the game.

Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill took exception to the Jets' celebrating the play, which saw Matthews suffer rib and chest injuries that forced him out of the game.

Several Jets, though, referred to the hit as a tone-setter in their 38-20 win over the Dolphins.

“Hits like that ... it was infectious, contagious,” defensive end Sheldon Richardson said. “Guys fed off of that.”

Pryor, who recently admitted he has a more mature approach than he did last year, when he missed some team meetings during his rookie season, tied for the team lead in tackles with seven on Sunday. He had a tackle for a loss and knocked down a pass.

But the big hit on the Dolphins’ first drive was what jump-started the Jets.

“That is what people are saying,” Pryor said of his hit being a tone-setter. “I would hope so. I am trying to bring that energy to our defense. Just try to be a leader.”

As he walked by Pryor in the locker room, Brandon Marshall had an even better compliment for the safety.

“That’s the tone-setter right there,” Marshall shouted. “He’s Troy Polamalu.”