Friday, August 27, 2010
Updated: August 30, 10:14 AM ET
Jets OLB Calvin Pace injures foot
By Kieran Darcy
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Jets have lost another key member of their defense.
Starting outside linebacker Calvin Pace injured his right foot in the third quarter of the Jets' 16-11 preseason loss to the Washington Redskins on Friday night and did not return.
"He's got something with his foot," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "I would expect him to be out a few weeks."
Ryan did not know the exact nature of Pace's injury when he met with reporters after the game. Pace was seen walking around the Jets' locker room wearing a walking boot, but through a team spokesman declined to speak with the media, saying he would address reporters later this week.
Pace is the Jets' best pass-rusher. In 2009, he recorded eight sacks in 12 regular season games -- he missed the first four games of the season after being suspended for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substance policy. (Pace said he used an over-the-counter dietary supplement, unaware that it contained a substance that violated the policy.)
"It's a big loss, there's no doubt," Ryan said. "But we're fortunate. We have a lot of depth at that position."
With Pace out, Ryan said Jason Taylor -- signed as a free agent this offseason to be a situational player -- will take Pace's place in the starting lineup.
"Jason Taylor, his M.O. is gonna change from 75 percent of the plays to 100 percent until Calvin gets back," Ryan said.
Taylor, the former Miami Dolphin and Washington Redskin, was once one of the NFL's elite pass-rushers -- in fact, he's the NFL's active leader with 127½ career sacks. But Taylor turns 36 on Wednesday and hasn't done much in the Jets' first three preseason games.
Nevertheless, Taylor said he's growing more and more comfortable in the Jets' defensive scheme, and sounded up for this challenge.
"As a player, you wanna play," Taylor said. "Whatever the case is, whatever the team needs you to do, you go do. Does it take a toll on you? Sure, it takes a little bit of a toll. It's a very physical game. But you can take care of yourself throughout the week and have plenty of gas in the tank come Sunday.
"I've been doing it for a long time. It won't be my first rodeo."
The Jets survived Pace's absence well a year ago -- they went 3-1 in their first four games while Pace was suspended. But this year, it appears the Jets will also begin the season without holdout cornerback Darrelle Revis, the team's best defensive player overall and arguably the best defensive player in the NFL.
Playing without Revis and Pace is a very tall order.
Pace's injury will no doubt renew the speculation that the Jets could sign free-agent linebacker Adalius Thomas. Thomas, the former Baltimore Raven and New England Patriot, played for Rex Ryan when Ryan was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore. Ryan has downplayed the Jets' interest in Thomas in the past, but Thomas does play outside linebacker and would be a natural replacement for Pace.
But in the meantime, it's Taylor's job. There will be many doubters as to whether Taylor can get the job done, but he said he is used to that.
"I've always had that kind of chip on my shoulder throughout my career," Taylor said. "People always said I couldn't do things. They said I couldn't play defensive end at 240 [pounds] and I've been going on 14 years now. So I've got my little box of motivation that I have in the back of my head, and that won't change regardless of the situation. It's incumbent on me now to go out and help this team any way I can."
Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.
More from ESPNNewYork.com »