Aaron Maybin #51 of the New York Jets celebrates his...

Aaron Maybin #51 of the New York Jets celebrates his sack against the San Diego Chargers at MetLife Stadium. (Oct. 23, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Aaron Maybin's nickname evolved in the strangest of ways, yet it's something that can be appreciated by anyone who's ever played a team sport.

His coach got his name wrong.

In Maybin's case, though, it just so happened to be Joe Paterno who fouled up his name.

"I think it was my freshman or sophomore year at Penn State," Maybin said. "Joe during practice or a team meeting or something like that, he had said 'Mayhem' by mistake when I was a really young guy. My teammates never -- like never -- let me forget it."

Neither would some of the people in the stands at Beaver Stadium.

"One of the great things I remember about State College," the linebacker said, "we would have fans that would make certain sections and cheer for us. We had a group of people that would make a 'Maybin's Mayhem' sign, and they would be there every week."

Maybin even incorporated the nickname into the official title of his foundation once he left Penn State in 2009 after the Bills drafted him No. 11 overall. He dubbed it Project Mayhem, a nonprofit organization he established to help underprivileged and at-risk youths.

But Maybin did little to live up to that label in two seasons in Buffalo. He failed to get a sack and was slapped with the Vernon Gholstonesque "bust" tag, leading to his August release. The Jets signed Maybin during training camp, but he was released after making the initial 53-man roster because the Jets were shuffling numbers and wanted to improve their offensive-line depth.

However, he was re-signed Sept. 28 and has been an impact player when he's been in the game, sparking the pass rush by creating havoc with his burst off the line. In his four games, he's tied with Calvin Pace for the team lead in sacks with three. He also has forced three fumbles, which is tied for the league lead.

Rex Ryan isn't convinced Maybin is an every-down player, but believes he can flourish in his current role as a designated pass rusher.

"We need to get him on the field more," Ryan said. "There have been 40-some snaps he's been out there and he's had three sacks and three caused fumbles, made a lot of tackles."

Maybin's voice, already naturally loud to begin with, went up a decibel or two when Ryan's words were relayed to him.

"That's exciting for me," he said. "Yet again, that just ties back into the fact that it makes you want to go out there and work harder -- that they have confidence in you to go out there and produce. The fact that he wants me in the game in situations where he needs a big play from me means a lot.

"That means he has the faith that when he needs the big play, that I can deliver for him."

Maybin doesn't think the Bills' coaches and hierarchy felt the same way about him. But he also admits he's been focusing a lot more on preparation with the Jets, taking extra time to check out game tape.

"I'm always working," he said. "Any time you see me, I've got my iPad -- and there isn't any music on it. Watching film has probably been the biggest difference now."

And he's eager to show the Bills how much he's improved when the Jets visit them Nov. 6.

"I definitely want to go out there and play a great game, and do everything that I can do to make sure that we get a win," he said. "It's a game that I've been eyeing for some time, so I'm going to do my best to make sure I'm prepared."