Calvin Pryor has never lacked confidence. As a rookie he walked into the Jets locker room for the first time with his chest pushed out from all the confidence emanating from his body. As he struggled, playing out of position, during his rookie year his confidence never wavered and you could see and feel that confidence had grown after he met Todd Bowles. As the rest of the football world starts to become familiar with Pryor his confidence just continues to grow.
There is no ceiling on Pryor's confidence, it's a snowball rolling down hill that can only grow bigger and stronger. Week after week Pryor's play stands out on the field as he makes one big play after another. Brandon Marshall dubbed him the tone-setter, opponents have taken notice and his energy has been infectious. And week after week you can see his confidence, somehow, continue to grow. Which has to be encouraging to the Jets and their fans but down right terrifying to everyone else.
Pryor gave up one big play yesterday, the touchdown pass to Marcus Mariota from the Wildcat but that was just a simple slip of the feet that caused that, but for the rest of the day Pryor was out there making plays. The Titans nearly had another touchdown in the game, they ran a rub-route and picked Antonio Cromartie, who went down with an injury, leaving Harry Douglas wide open. Mariota hit Douglas and he looked to be off to as easy a touchdown as you'll ever see but out of nowhere, somehow, Pryor was able to chase him down and make the tackle.
"That's great. Cro got picked and went down," Bowles said after the game. "Calvin hustled and stopped a potential touchdown, which helped us out a lot. The guys believe in each other and are playing hard."
It's easy to believe in each other when you see guys hustling hard and making plays all over the field. Whether it's another sack from Muhammad Wilkerson, inside pressure from Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams or devastating hits or chasing down receivers from Pryor.
"I just seen that, we were in man-coverage, and I think they ran a pick route on the other side. And I had man (coverage), but I just tried to go make a play. I didn't want them to score," Pryor said. "So, I just put my head down and try to go make the play. The old Harry Douglas probably would have scored on that play but, you know, he's got a couple of years on him now (joking). But it's all good though because he went to Louisville."
The Jets frustrated and pressured Mariota the entire game, sacking him five times. Wilkerson had three, Williams had one, where he destroyed the poor unfortunate souls who got in his way, and DeMario Davis had one. Pryor didn't get credited for any but he deserved to get an assist on two of the sacks. And what's better is he knows it.
"I definitely made it happen, huh?" Pryor said with a giant smile glowing with confidence. "The one Mo got, they was holding me, and the other I jumped in the air and made Mariota try to scramble out of the pocket. But credit those guys, they're doing their job, I'm doing my job, we're just playing good defensive football."
Yes, yes. Credit them indeed. But also credit Pryor for being such an impressive and entertaining player and just as entertaining to cover. Calvin Pryor has never been shy about expressing his confidence and it's a treat to watch that confidence continue to grow.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (email@example.com)