I just wanted to take a moment to share with the Jets community a little more insight as to Dwight Lowery the Football Player, as well as the person. Let me start by saying, though, Dwight is SO stoked to go and play for the NY Jets, and for all of you, the fans!!! He is already rocking NY Jets gear (he already had NY Jets apparel before he was drafted). He takes Football very seriously. He is a true student of the game and of the DB positions. He will do everything he can to contribute to the success of the NY Jets team and franchise. He won’t let you down.
For those concerned, I assure you, he will not be a “bust”. Have faith in your FO. Your team has done more research than most. While most of you know that Dwight played Safety in JUCO, ...when the New England Patriots Defensive Coach and the General Manager for the Atlanta Falcons flew out here to visit with him, neither of them had any idea that Dwight played Safety during his time at the JC level. A couple so-called “local” teams here in CA didn’t even know he played Safety. He is a very versatile player and has had many interceptions at both the CB and Safety positions. ...Keep in mind he played Safety at the JC level and Corner at the D-1 level, ...not the other way around. It is a much more difficult transition to go from Safety to Corner than it is Corner to Safety. Not only did he make this transition successfully, he did so while simultaneously making the jump to a higher level of game play (JUCO to D1). When he first went to SJ State, he wasn’t given any respect and was looked at like a third stringer. That’s what everyone thought of him, even the coaching staff, ...until they started practicing. Dwight tore it up in practice and scrimmages and not only earned his starting position, but did well enough to co-lead the nation in interceptions his first year at that level and at that position, as well as earning his First Team All-American status. Keep in mind that while he had 13 picks in 25 games, ...he had 49, I believe, in his last 60 games. That’s just a sick stat. So savage. In one game he had 42 of his teams 52 points. That would even be savage in Basketball, but he did this in a Football game, 7 touchdowns.
Dwight has been working exceptionally hard since the season ended. He only took about 7-10 days before we were back at it, training hard in preparation for the NFL season, and working on his “weaknesses”. He is a better player now than he was even during last season, and he will continue to get better. As I said, he is a true student of the game and of the DB positions. I’m sure under the tutelage of Mangini and the Jets defensive staff, he will continue to flourish as a player and he will definitely contribute to the success of of the NY Jets team and franchise. He wants to *dominate* every player he plays against, and he is willing to work his ass off to make it happen.
He isn’t “tiny” as some people in this thread have said. He was the biggest defensive back at the East/West Shrine game, bigger than some of the linebackers. He’s 6’ and a very lean and solid 202 lbs. (All natural) The men in his family, father, uncles, etc, have traditionally put on a little more size in their early to mid twenties. He will likely get up to 210, maybe even 215, naturally, WITHOUT losing any speed, especially with the way we train.
As for the whole “speed” issue. He went into the Combine having not been able to train much for 11 days due to a hamstring pull. It was somewhat a “lose/lose” situation for him as he would have been looked down upon had he not competed and yet was not anywhere near full capacity. Also, when he ran his drills on the first day, he was coming off of 2 hours sleep due to flight delays, missed flight, being left at the airport by the NFL, (seriously, that was lame), and being woken up early in the am for mandatory drug testing (all players were woken up for drug testing). By the time he actually was able to check-in and walked into his hotel room it was 11:00 pm Pacific, 2:00 am your time. He was woken up at 4:00 am your time for the mandatory drug testing, and after that it was to medical exams, etc. There was no time to sleep before he had to perform. ...During sprint training with his sprinting coach, Aaron Thigpenn, he ran a 4.34, 4.35, 4.31, and a 4.33. And as someone had mentioned, “straight line speed does not translate to football speed”. His “football speed”, though, is fast and explosive. His mentality is, “there is no way in hell anyone else is going to get that ball.”
I don’t think either speed nor size will be an issue.
As I mentioned, he studies a LOT of film. During a meeting with the San Diego Chargers, Dwight ended up in a film room watching some game tape with the Head Coach, Norve Turner, and the Offensive Coaching staff. The footage was of Chargers games played last season against various opponents. He recognized a play they had run and knew right away that Norve Turner ran the EXACT same play against Deion Sanders and the Dallas Cowboys in 94’ when he was with the San Francisco 49’ers. (He showed me the play from the SF/Dallas game.) He almost belted it out, but held back at the last moment because, as he said, he didn’t want them to know just how much he knows and studies the game, because he may well be playing against them. ...I don’t think his study habits will be a problem.
As far as his “numbers” falling off somewhat his Senior year compared to his Junior year, part of that was he missed several games during the season. But another component that played a major factor was that teams quit throwing to him. (Hence, the nickname “ECLIPSE”). What is a CB to do when the team only throws to him twice in the whole game, or even 5 times in the whole game? Any corner, I don’t care who they are, would have a tough time putting up high interception numbers if they only get challenged by the other team 2 to 5 times a game. During one game (please forgive me as I can not remember exactly which game it was) they did not throw to him the entire first half, ...until late within the last 2-minutes of the half because they wanted to try to score before half-time. The ONE pass they finally threw to the man he was covering, Dwight intercepted. It was so sick!
He has never really been “taught” how to tackle, either in high-school, Cabrillo, or SJ State. Just as he had never had any coaching in sprinting mechanics before working with Aaron Thigpenn shortly before the Combine, yet when he is taught something, he works it on his own repeatedly until he has it down. ...Then he’ll work it some more. He WANTS to tackle and lay people out. He has such a savage mentality of wanting to dominate every player he plays against. I love it! Again, under the tutelage of Mangini and the NY Jets defensive coaching staff, I’m sure he will improve in his tackling if this is an area that he needs to work on.
“Character issues” will not be a problem as he is just not the type of person to end up in situations that would be bad for him or for the team. He is devoted to his sport, his craft and his family. Football, Family and his Faith are the most important things to him. (He often would drive back home from SJ--an hours commute--to watch his little sister while his mom was at work). He doesn’t really drink at all, either. He has a strong sense of Honor and Loyalty and is one of the greater people I know. Over the years of getting to know Dwight, he has not only become one of my best friends, but is one of the very few people I can say I truly trust. I do NOT say that lightly. My trusting him completely speaks directly to his character and to who he is as a person. ...He will not end up in situations that would hurt the team.
I’m not only his friend, but I happen to be his Strength-&-Conditioning Coach as well. I’ve had the opportunity to work with him for over two years now. I’ve worked with athletes on all levels from virtually all sports over my 11 years of Coaching thus far, many who have dominated in their sport. Dwight is by far one of the most disciplined athletes I have had an opportunity to work with. He has developed an unparalleled work ethic. He studies film on average, 5 times a week. He works on some aspect of his “footwork” and field drills 5 or 6 days a week. He trains with me about 5 days a week. He works sprinting mechanics and runs sprints several days a week. He stretches every day and works on his IT-Bands and other trigger points almost every day, sometimes twice a day. He watches his diet closely, often times weighing and measuring his food. He VERY rarely ever drinks. When he hits the gym, it’s always some aspect of the Olympic-Lifts (Clean-&-Jerk, Snatch, Split-Jerk, Power-Clean, Snatch-Balance, etc), the foundational lifts (Overhead-Squat, Back-Squat, Front-Squat, RDL’s, Thrusters, etc), gymnastics elements (Iron-cross, weighted pull-ups, handstand-pushups, front-levers, back-levers, muscle-ups, etc), as well as various medicine-ball drills, plyometrics, core-work, etc, often while wearing a weighted vest and weighted compression shorts. We will often hit these movements after an all out sprint, so he is getting exposure to a violent and explosive movement while at max heart-rate. He is training not only to be strong, fast and explosive, but to be strong, fast and explosive while at max heart-rates, as well as maximizeing his recovery time. ...Remember the Monday Night Football game back in 2000, the “Miracle at the Meadowlands”? ...The Jets comeback over the Dolphins, where, after being “hopelessly” down 30-7 at the end of the third quarter, the NY Jets didn’t take a single huddle in the fourth quarter and came back to win, 40-37. (I believe it was the biggest comeback in Monday Night Football History.) ...Dwight is preparing himself for such events. (That was one of my favorite games of all time, btw.)
I am not trying to talk up our strength-&-conditioning program, nor am I trying to “inflate” Dwight’s image. I’m trying to let you, the fans, know just how serious this kid is about football, and that when he is training, he is busting his ass working on elements that are going to directly transfer to his ability to perform. He wants to learn and he wants to improve, and he he’s willing to work hard for it. He wants to dominate the DB posistions. ...Ultimately though, none of what I say matters. I’m not trying to “convince” you or prove to you Dwight’s worth. That will be up to Dwight to do. He will prove his worth. He will earn your trust and respect, not only by what he does on the field, but by how he carries himself off the field.
Sorry for the length of this post, and thank you for your time. ...There is a huge evolution of Jets fans here in the Bay Area. I can’t wait till the season starts!!!
Jason “J-Dogg” Highbarger