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"Joe Mays" Man in the Middle, or Middle Man?

"Crack" ...is the sound the Bison fans remember most about LBer Joe Mays during his playing year there at North Dakota State University. During his first year Joe played more to the crowd, trying to make that big hit where the fans would ooh and aaw and it hurt his play more than it helped. The crowd noise would stir up inside him a desire to lay someone out rather than make a play for the team. Though his play was outstanding at times, he had his inconsistencies and his coaches would work with him and try to teach him technique, but all Joe Mays knew was to play physical like his dad, Charles Williams had taught him to do. "Last year I was looking for the pop where fans would notice me," Mays said. "This year I’m looking for good plays and to have more than just that one good hit."
"Joe Mays is a potential guy," NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said. "He’ll knock somebody off of their feet, but we were also getting the Joe Mays that wasn’t in the right spot or wouldn’t work through an injury." Those days of Joe Mays are over, says Joe Mays. NDSU linebacker Joe Mays "That’s one of the things we talked about," he said. "The coaches have shown that they trust me to be the starter and I have to prove them right."
And prove them right he did, starting 31 games out of 43 games during his college career, where he tallied 285 tackles (school-record 159 solo), 29.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and three interceptions... Mays was a three-time first-time All-Great West selection and received All-America honors in addition to the Great West Conference Defensive Player of the Year award as a senior... Led the Bisons with a career-high 90 tackles his senior season.
Joe Mays was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles at the 199th pick of the 6th round...
Relegated mostly to special teams play in his first year in the NFL, Joe Mays got his shot at a starting role in 2009 when injuries hampered the Eagles Linebacking corp. Joe made just 75 snaps during his playing time as veterans filtered back from injuries never really making his presence known on the field. That can be expected with a 6th round talent among veterans and in a defense (3/4 5/2/4) that he wasn't really familiar with. After a long off season in 2010 Joe was traded to the Denver Broncos in July for JJ Arrington or a 2012 conditional draft pick. Joe Mays Loved the Idea of Being Traded... When asked how he felt about former head coach Josh McDaniels' words about his play, joe had this to say; "Definitely. It definitely helps your confidence that a team would actually go out and trade for you. It was a little different in Philly. I wasn't sure where I sat on the totem pole. Here, the coaches like me, and I'm real good with my teammates. Everything is coming along." Joe understood his role on the Broncos roster as soon as he arrived stating, "Right now, I'm a special teams player that plays defense. I take my role, and I do what I can for the team. I do what best fits me, and that can help the team out." That role aould eventually turn out to be a starting role in Don Martindale's 3/4 5/2 defense where Joe patroled the right half of the back of the front 5 defense. He made his presence known with big hits and WOW plays, but not performing in a stellar way in a defense he wasn't accustom to. Martindale's defensive front was filled with player who played in different schemes all throughout their college careers. The shoe didn't fit and it showed. A New Beginning in Denver... This year rings in a whole new season and a whole new defense where Joe Mays will for the first time since his college days play the position he knows, MIKE (Middle Linebacker). The Mike position is one of if not the most important positions on the defense. Joe must possess a wide field of vision and recognize offensive formations, shout out alignments and giving plays sent in fromt the sidelines. A very important role and not only that, Joe's responsibility in the middle is to look for the runningback with the ball and make snap decisions of his route and plug any holes left open by the DTs. His responsibilities are huge and the defenses success depend a lot on his play. That's not counting that Joe has to cover the TEs coming over the middle and not get to hung up on the player who isn't going to get the ball. That's a Tall Order to Fill... It would be speaking lightly to say that Joe has his plate full in taking on such a tall task, is he up to it? Time will tell and I believe he will grow into his role with the help of DC Coach Allen and Linebackers Coach R Smith. He has to in coverage and against the run if we are to win ball games. Joe Mays was penciled in as the starting MLB at the beginning of this year and Coach Fox hasn't felt the need to swap ends and erase his name out...
Denver Broncos head coach John Fox singled out LB Joe Mays as one of the team's surprise players this summer. "He was a guy that had limited action a year ago and we had seen him a little, playing in Philadelphia, but playing in the 3-4 is a little different than the 4-3. I like the way he's gone about his business," Fox said.
Nate Irving and Mike Mohamed arrive on the scene... Murmurings following the draft that Nate Irving was going to be our starting MIKE have all but silently went about their way. That's not to say that Nate won't be our guy of the future, but like Joe mays seldom does a rookie come in a take a veterans role right away. Won't it be fun to have two outstanding Mikes on the team? How much does that mean? And then there Mike Mohamed who is a very smart player who plays all 3 linebacker positions and none with greatness. He's still learning to play with his instincts instead of his smarts. It will all come together and with DJ Williams on the right side, and Von Miller on the other, this linebacking corp could very well be one of the best if not the best in the league. Growing together in unselfishness as a 'team' will lead this team to success as EFX want it to be... Middle Man or Man in the Middle... Joe Mays will have to refine and define his role as the starting MIKE and that won't be easy. He got his shot at the new position in the light of National TV on Monday Night Football and wore the little 'green' dot that says he calls plays. For taking on a role in the middle it couldn't have been any easier for him facing one of the leagues most physical running backs in Darren McFadden. He struggled to stop him at very critical times and one was the 47 yard gallop to the one yard line that set up a Touch Down and an extended lead. It's plainly clear that Joe's learning curve is down on the bottom half yet, he knows that and after watching the game again on Tuesday morning, he can see the mistakes he made and rectify them for Cincinnati in week 2. Joes Mays has come a long way from the 6th round pick, latch-key boys who was told to learn the Eagle playbook and we'll call you if we need you situation in Philly...Let's just hope Mr. Mays get's it and get's it smartly, because if he doesn't it's going to be a long season for him and the rest of the team... For now all I want to hear is..."Crack"!

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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