A brutal New York Jets season has overshadowed a strong year from linebacker Neville Hewitt, who led the team with 10 tackles on Sunday.
It’s hard to relish the fleeting silver linings in a 0-4 stretch that has been rife with one-sided losses. A special case on the New York Jets could be something that’s cherished on both a team and personal level in both the present and future.
For the second consecutive season, linebacker Neville Hewitt has been forced to take a larger role in the team’s defense after prominent names ahead of him were wiped out. In the midst of the Jets’ struggles, Hewitt has responded to the challenge.
Hewitt leads the Jets with 30 tackles and a pair of sacks in 2019, earning 10 alone in the last register to the Jets’ loss tally. New York fell to the Philadelphia Eagles 31-6 on Sunday afternoon.
The fifth-year pro out of Marshall also has one of the Jets’ four interceptions this season. He inserted himself into the New York football conversation by taking over for the suspended Darron Lee over the final month of 2018. His biggest contribution came in the penultimate game of the season against Green Bay. Hewitt played all 90 defensive snaps and earned nine tackles and a sack of Aaron Rodgers in the overtime tilt.
Jamal Adams would call Hewitt’s participation “phenomenal” in picking up the pieces of Lee’s departure.
Hewitt was re-signed to a one-year deal this offseason, given an opportunity to establish a true football home after joining the league as an undrafted free agent in Miami in 2015. After a hard-fought offseason battle to make the roster, Hewitt has been called into a similar role with early injuries to Avery Williamson and CJ Mosley.
Though the Jets have faltered, it’s safe to say Hewitt is taking advantage of this rebirth.
His 2019 rise has been marked with a transition from the Will to the Mike after the Mosley affliction. Hewitt spoke to Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com about the move earlier this week.
“It’s been interesting, but it’s an opportunity that I prayed for a long time ago and it ended up happening,” he said. “Now it’s here, so I’m going to make the most of it.”
Hewitt briefly partook in the role while playing with the Thundering Herd, but relished a chance to reprise it to a bigger extent in New York.
“I know at the Mike you have to be very vocal and it’s pretty natural for me,” Hewitt said. “I don’t really speak much throughout the day, so when people see me start making calls and talking a lot, it kind of surprises them at first.”
Hewitt knows what it’s like to keep his head up in the midst of struggles. He, in fact, recovered from a 1-4 start alongside head coach Adam Gase as a member of the Dolphins in 2016. In that year, Hewitt, foreshadowing his Jets fate, took over for yet another injured starter.
A return trip to the playoffs is probably unlikely for the hapless Jets, but Hewitt, having seen this story play out, is confident that Gase can rally the troops for a respectable result.
“We’re going to be all right,” Hewitt told Greenberg. “Some of the injuries that we’ve had, you wouldn’t even imagine. You might think a few guys may get hurt, but the injuries and some of the stuff that we’ve had to deal with, you wouldn’t imagine having to go through that. I’ve played for Coach Gase before and this isn’t new to him. We’re going to flip it around. We’re going to get our pieces back.”