All told last season, Gholston did not play twice, being removed from the active roster in Weeks 10 and 11. Including the post-season, Gholston played in 17 games, accruing just 13 tackles. Seven of those stops came in the first four weeks of the season when Gholston was called on to carry a bigger role among the linebackers. Five times in the 2009 regular season, not including the two games he didn't suit up, Gholston failed to register a tackle.
Enter mini-camp, 2010, and Gholston seems to have a new lease on life. The player is looser and happier – often last year Gholston would quietly sit at his locker after practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center and watch the locker room antics unfold while he tidied his space and got changed. After home games last year, he was often one of the first players to duck out of the stadium, exiting without a stir. A move to defensive end has excited the soft-spoken player.
"It's the position I played in college, most people don't know that," Gholston told GreenAndWhiteReport.com. "They thought I was always a linebacker. I'm not. I think defensive end is really where I want to be. That's where I played in college and had the most success."
Mini-camp and OTA can be a tough gauge by which to tell how a player has adjusted, but Gholston looked fiery in sessions. He played with a renewed sense and vigor, buzzing around the backfield. Gholston said that he thinks his speed coming off the edge will be an asset to the defense. Working with the second unit, Gholston did have a special spark and showed a dynamic side Jets' fans have been waiting to see. He often drew a double-team, coming off the edge.
His bread and butter seems to be a speed rush, simply blowing by the guard on his way into the backfield. Gholston did struggle a bit when he had to cut inside, his size and strength still that of a linebacker and not a player in the trenches.
Gholston said that he's added size and strength this off-season to make the move to the line. He vows that the change is to his liking and that there will be an improvement to the tackle total from last year. Gholston's 12 tackle in the regular season placed him 20th on the Jets' tackle list last season.
"I think I'm made much more to be a defensive end. To get pressure, to get after the quarterback, to track down and read the run," Gholston said. "Everyone told me out of college that my best bet was to play linebacker in the NFL, and I did it. But defensive end – that's really where I see myself."
A quick Google search on Gholston is telling. Begin typing in his name, and the text recognition in the search box pops up options for possible searches. The first option that comes up is "Vernon Gholston Bust."
"I don't feel any pressure and I don't feel like I have anything to prove to anybody," Gholston said. "I need to go out there and perform. The past is the past. The coaches feel like I can help this team as a defensive end and that it's a position where I can see more of the field."
And that is what Gholston is hoping for the most.
"To just go out there and play and help the team, that is all I want to do," Gholston said. "Everything else, anything people are saying, just doesn't matter." Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for questions, comments and crude remarks at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012