Earlier today we talked about some possible redemption stories, but one guy that probably deserved to be on the list is Jamar Chaney. He had a surprisingly good rookie season, but like pretty much everyone in the LB corps really struggled last year.
However, so far at Lehigh he appears to be tightening his grip on a roster spot, evidenced by his recent move to the first team nickel defense. Chaney says he's feeling healthy and eyeing a starting job, which would mean unseating 2nd year man Brian Rolle.
"It's been a good battle. Brian Rolle is a really good player. My goal out here, like I've said from the beginning, is to be a starter. I had a little bit of a setback with the first day coming out here hurting my hamstring, but I just had to do what I've been doing. My main goal was to make it hard for the coaches not to keep me on the field, and I don't plan on missing that first preseason game so I don't plan on being out too long."
One of the things he attributes to his learning process this year is something the linebackers really didn't have last season, a veteran leader like DeMeco Ryans.
"His presence has been felt [already]. You can tell he was a leader with the Texans and when he was in college in Alabama. With a guy like that who has all that experience and accolades - he's not a guy who is just coming in here because he has Pro Bowls and all stuff like that. You listen to him a little more than you listen to another guy. He's helping us out a lot, and he's teaching us a lot, too. When you're young, you might be learning things a little bit too fast and he's really slowed down for us and that's even helped me."
While Rolle is technically still penciled in to start at WILL, that's really a pretty open competition that's probably not going to be decided in camp. If Chaney outplays Rolle in preseason, don't be surprised to see him as your opening day starter. WILL and SS are really the two jobs on the defense totally up for grabs right now.