Jets safety Marcus Maye has a lot he'd like to accomplish in the offseason after finishing the season with a clean bill of health for the first time in his three-year career.
"Just hit the ground running with skill development, continue where I left off at the end of the year and work on new things that I watched that I need to improve on," Maye said. "It's big not to have any surgeries or anything like that, any setbacks. The main thing is to continue to develop as a player.
"Right now, just continue to work on speed work to get faster. The game gets faster every year. Guys that stay in the league start slowing down, so just work on speed development, continue to hit the weights, mobility, stuff like that."
Maye, a 2017 second-round pick, hurt his ankle in the season finale at the Patriots his rookie year and was limited to six games in 2018 because of shoulder and thumb injuries. His start to Year 3 was delayed because of nerve issues in his surgically-repaired shoulder. Maye, ironically, was the only opening-day starter in the secondary to play all 16 games in 2019. The Jets started eight cornerbacks this season and three safeties including Maye.
"Each week we had new pieces in, so I just had to get the guys comfortable," he said. "That's the main thing. Get guys on the same page, know what the assignment is, know what the playcall is and where they need to be. It was definitely tough when Jamal [Adams] went out. I had to switch roles and different guys had to play in different spots. It was definitely difficult, but we managed and found a way to get through because everyone communicated and made sure everyone was on the same page."
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Maye, for the most part, lined up at free safety away from the line of scrimmage to prevent any deep throws. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams refers to him as the "angel in the outfield" who covers up for everyone else's mistakes.
"I think it's a big part in our defense," Maye said. "It's a huge role just being the last line of defense. You have the Mike 'backer, but to be the quarterback of the back end, you have to get everyone lined up in the right spot, cover up for guys, make plays down the field and just be where I'm needed."
He finished fourth on the team with 65 tackles and totaled 6 pass defenses and 1 interception. Maye said he played "all right" and that he was a step behind after he was cleared for contact in late August. According to PFF, Maye had the second most coverage snaps in the NFL with 644 (Kevin Byard — 651). The Jets finished No. 7 in total defense (No. 2 vs. run, No. 17 vs. pass) and Maye believes the group will improve in 2020.
"It's definitely going to be big next year because we've been through a year with Gregg and we know his play-calling style," he said. "We know the feel of his game and he now has a feel of us. He knows he has type of players that can do a lot of different things. Next year could be even better than this year and I expect that."