Tonight will be the first big test for second-year linebacker Joe Mays. Ever since Stew went down with a torn ACL, the questions about Mays’ ability to man the middle of the Eagles defense started. Does he know the scheme? Can he call the proper formations? Is he capable of covering backs and tight ends? He gets his chance to prove the naysayers wrong against Golden Boy Tom and the Patriots.
We might not know how Mays will react in an actual game, but one thing is certain: Joe Mays does not lack confidence. He attacks negativity like he does running backs. This doesn’t appear to be a newfound trait, either. I get the feeling Joe has been counted out a time or two in his life.
Undersized and deemed too slow, Mays slipped into the 6th round after a promising career at North Dakota State. He’s been compared to other small-in-stature backers like Zach Thomas and London Fletcher. If he can do half the things they can do, then the Birds D should be fine.
Of interest to me, is how often Reid and McDermott leave him in on passing downs, if they do at all. Listen, we know what Gaither brings to the table; he has experience, but tends to disappear and get dominated. It’s preseason, so I hope Mays is offered the chance to work as a three-down backer. If he gets torched repeatedly, then tap #96 on the shoulder. But Mays deserves his shot, Andy. Please give it to him.
Here’s a profile of Mays prior to the 2008 draft. He sounds like the same dude we’ve been hearing in interviews the last ten days. Confident and ready.
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