Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Call Dwight Lowery 'The Closer'
By Jane McManus
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- He did it again this week.
Jets cornerback Dwight Lowery somehow found his way to the ball in the final minutes of a close game Sunday, killing a last-chance drive for another Jets opponent. Against the Vikings on Oct. 11, it was an interception returned for a touchdown. This time, his fumble recovery against Denver sealed the victory -- and earned him a new nickname.
"That's his nickname now, 'The Closer,'" said CB Darrelle Revis. "He closed out two games for us the past two weeks. He's stepping his game up, he's doing what he needs to do."
These weren't plays that came at the end of blowouts. The Jets needed to fight for their 5-1 record heading into the bye.
"Obviously, we all have the capability of making plays," Lowery said.
That should tell you something about Lowery, drafted by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. He's a West Coast kid who got zodiac tattoos with his mother before entering the NFL, and he can tell a story about the journey leading to each of the other images on his arms and back. He thinks a little differently, using words like visualization and meditation.
Lowery, 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, has seen his Q rating skyrocket with the hits, and will go so far as to avoid his hometown of Santa Cruz on the bye because he wants a little peace and quiet, preferring to spend time in Oregon with his girlfriend.
"I kind of want to just relax," Lowery said.
Against the Vikings, Lowery's reception killed a surging drive led by Brett Favre; Minnesota could've won the game on a last-minute field goal. Lowery wasn't in a lot of plays against the Broncos, but defensive coordinator Mike Pettine put Lowery in on a corner blitz. There were so many defensive backs on the field you could've called the play a quarter.
"Yeah, like a quarter," Lowery said with a laugh. "On that play they were really confused; we showed a look we hadn't shown all day, and they were rattled a little bit."
He may not have been on the field much, and Drew Coleman was picked to start at corner when rookie Kyle Wilson didn't live up to expectations, but Lowery's teammates can get used to his big-play ability.
"He probably would've had a sack, as well, so that would probably close the game out, too," Revis said.
Lowery got close to quarterback Kyle Orton, but went for the ball instead after a bad snap.
"We get creative and that one obviously worked out for us," safety Jim Leonhard said. "We felt even with a good snap, looking at film, it was going to be a successful play for our defense."
So far this season, Lowery has played in six games and has seven combined tackles and a sack. Now that he has made a habit of finding the ball in key situations, the team could be looking for more from him.
"Dwight's been great," Leonhard said. "Any time you're getting limited reps on defense it's kind of hard. You've got to stay in the game plan, and he's come up huge."
|Dwight Lowery's fumble recovery Sunday sealed a defeat of Denver.|
Jane McManus is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow her on Twitter.
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