Sunday, August 17, 2014
Rookie Pryor a big hit (or two) in debut
By Rich Cimini
CINCINNATI -- The Louisville Slugger came out slugging.
In his much-anticipated NFL debut, New York Jets safety Calvin Pryor lived up to the hype, making a handful of big plays in the 25-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday night at Paul Brown Stadium.
Pryor was credited with two pass break-ups, one tackle-for-loss and one fumble recovery. What didn't show up in the stat sheet were two jarring hits -- one on wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, the other on running back Rex Burkhead. Neither player returned to the game.
The Jets' No. 1 pick, who missed the preseason opener because of a concussion, came to prove a point.
"A lot of guys, they were questioning me because of the concussion thing," he said, referring to the media. "They felt I wasn't going to be aggressive when I came back, but that's the way I play football. I'm an aggressive player. I try to play lights-out and I try to put fear into my opponent. Tonight, that was only Step 1."
The former Louisville standout, drafted 18th overall, didn't play the first quarter, but he joined the starters in the second quarter. On his third play, he blitzed with linebacker Demario Davis, pouncing on Andy Dalton's fumble after the Davis strip sack. That set up the Jets' first touchdown.
A short time later, Pryor showed some pass-coverage ability, closing quickly from a Cover 2 look to blast Hamilton on an "out" route. It was ruled incomplete.
"I thought it should've been a forced fumble," he said.
Obviously, Pryor deserves to see more time with the starters. Look for that to happen next week against the New York Giants. Rex Ryan was impressed.
"He forced two fumbles and knocked some dudes out," he said. "I gues we were right on that [pick]."