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Kony Ealy's Fitting In Well with the Jets

Former Panther and Patriot, Acquired on Waivers in August, Leads NFL D-Linemen with 5 PDs


This is an interesting week for an interesting new member of the Jets' defensive line.

Kony Ealy came away from the win over Jacksonville with those four behind-the-line pass defenses but also with one bruised shoulder. The injury kept him out of the victory in Cleveland and it's not clear yet that he'll be ready to roll for New England.

But if he does play, he'll be trying to harass Tom Brady. The same Brady who, at least for this offseason and preseason, was Ealy's Patriots teammate.

"I'm not going to hype the situation," Ealy told me this week about possibly going up against the team that traded for him in March, then waived him in August. "We're playing a great opponent. Obviously, they're known for winning. We want to go out there and show them that we're here. It gives us an opportunity to see where we're really at."

The Jets defense would get a boost with Kony's return. The sacks have been slow to come for the Green & White so far, but there are other ways to make quarterbacks uncomfortable, such as PDs, hits and hurries. And while Ealy isn't going to get four PDs every week, he was a one-man swat team in the first four games.

"He's still adjusting," head coach Todd Bowles said, "but he finds a way to make his plays and understand the defense with the little things he does. He has some nuances that, from an intelligence standpoint playing football, you just can't teach that he already had. ... And he's fitting in quite well with all the guys."

Top Snapshots from Thursday's Practice at 1 Jets Drive

Ealy said his rejections of Blake Bortles' passes — one of which produced his third pro interception — was "just a natural reaction. It's nothing that I normally practice on. We talk about it, but I think that's really what a defensive player is. You're just able to go out there naturally and react to things."

He seemed pleased to learn that he leads all NFL defensive lineman with five PDs after five weeks (he also deflected a pass at Buffalo).

"It's a great thing to know. I didn't know. It would be great to continue to lead the league," he said. "But at the end of the day, you don't sit here and think about it as an athlete. You just try to go out there and do the best you can."

So far as a Jet, so good. And it will be interesting to see, when Ealy does return to action, what other tricks he has up his sleeve.

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