By Glenn Naughton
While players, fans and media continue to debate just how meaningful or necessary it is for the NFL to put four pre-season games on the schedule, one thing that can’t be argued is the importance these games have for those players who are trying to prove themselves worth of a starting job, a roster spot or even just a place on the practice squad.
One player hoping to secure a roster spot with Gang Green while perhaps carving out a role as a situational pass-rusher is Jets second-year linebacker Trevor Reilly.
Chosen in the seventh round of last year’s draft, Reilly, like many other Jets youngsters, fell victim to an unfortunate set of circumstances during what was a long rookie season that saw the Jets finish at 4-13.
Once mathematically eliminated, former head coach Rex Ryan said it was time to give the youngsters on his roster a chance to show what they could do in game action. As it turned out, Ryan didn’t follow through and continued playing his veterans down the stretch.
Very few promising young players saw any significant increase in playing time and players such as Quincy Enunwa, Dakota Dozier, then-Jet IK Enemkpali, and Reilly watched from the sidelines and waited for what would be a fresh start with a new regime this season.
Thus far, it would appear Reilly has made one of the stronger impressions on the Jets’ brass as his name seemed to surface on a daily basis through the early stages of training camp for his efforts at getting to the quarterback. Those efforts have not gone unnoticed as Todd Bowles and company have made an effort to get an extended look at Reilly. Thus far, Reilly has been on the field for 81 total plays through the first two weeks of the pre-season, second only to safety Rontez Miles (96) for the Jets.
According to PFF.com Reilly has tallied two quarterback hits to go along with a pair of hurries, but he has yet to carry over his practice performances to the field on game day, but that could all change on Saturday night against the Giants.
With injuries to starting outside linebacker Calvin Pace and rookie Lorenzo Mauldin, it would appear Reilly should expect another heavy workload against the Jets’ MetLife co-tenants who have surrendered just two QB sacks through the first two games of the pre-season, but have also allowed their quarterbacks to be hurried or hit a combined 28 times.
As a player with a reputation for having a high motor who is fighting to earn a role on what many are predicting will be one of the top defenses in the NFL, Reilly should see a few opportunities to rush the quarterback, and hope the results have the Jets in a rush to get him on the field on Sundays.