Remember the other day, when Rex Ryan took some criticism in Detroit for saying the NFL's best defense is coming to town on Sunday?
There was a reason why Ryan felt the need to make such a remark, one that specifically stems from an inquiry by a reporter during Ryan's conference call with Detroit-area media Wednesday.
"That was based on a comment that a reporter made," Ryan said, "talking about Vernon Gholston, like assuming, 'Oh, you’ve got Vernon Gholston, a top 10 player who’s been a disaster or whatever it is was.' And I’m like, 'Man, you have no idea. This guy is a good football player. He really is.' And that burned me a little bit. I’m like, 'Vernon is not that guy. Vernon is an excellent football player and he’s part of a great defense.
"So we’re happy he’s here and I’m telling you, he fits in with all those guys right now and he gives as much as he takes back. I know one thing: When you have guys saying I want to throw the quarterback, and I’m going to get him and throw him to Vernon just so he can get the sack, just to get it off his back, that’s what they think of him.
"Everybody just wants it bad for Vernon and he's playing well."
Still, Ryan stopped short of saying he would also have drafted Gholston out of Ohio State with the sixth overall pick like the Eric Mangini regime did. Gholston, a defensive end in college who was converted to a linebacker and now back to a defensive lineman, has yet to record a sack in 35 games.
"You know what? No, I wouldn't have taken him that high," Ryan said before adding, "Right now? Yeah, absolutely I’d take him.
"I don’t know if he’d be the sixth overall. It depends on what else is there. But right now, I like the way Vernon Gholston plays, I really do. I think when he came out, I thought there probably needed to be some sort of development there. But right now? I’m absolutely happy with Vernon Gholston. The sixth overall pick? I don’t know about that.
"Who was that this year?" Ryan asked. "Wasn’t that [Ndamukong] Suh?"
Told no, Ryan cracked: "I would’ve taken Suh. Just kiddin.' But I really like Vernon."