Florham Park, N.J.– Sione Pouha (pronounced ‘See-oh-nee Bo-oo-ha’), also nicknamed ‘Big Bo’, finds himself in an extremely odd position. Rarely will you see someone being introduced six years after they have arrived somewhere, but that’s exactly the situation Pouha has found himself in.
Pouha might be in his sixth season with the Jets (Pouha played college ball at Utah), but many fans were first introduced to him on Monday night because of his great play, including his two fumble recoveries. Problem is he did this for a large part of last year as well.
After the game Rex Ryan was asked about Pouha’s play and Ryan said, “The guy plays great. That’s the first question I’ve had on him in two years.” Proving that while he has been here for six years, and he was one of the biggest reasons the Jets didn’t suffer a drop-off after Jenkins got hurt last season, most people still don’t know who he is.
Defensive Coordinator, Mike Pettine, thinks that’s just how Pouha likes it. Pettine said, “These are guys (Pouha, Mike Devito and Howard Green) that are kind of nameless, faceless guys and when you look at the rest of the room defensively, I think that’s the way they like it. I think some of them got referred to as journeymen a couple years ago and I think that really chapped them a little bit. To the point where I think they might have hung it up in the meeting room, but I think they take pride in that, hey their just going to go out and do their jobs.”
After the Ravens game Ryan didn’t waste anytime explaining why he and everyone else should have confidence in Pouha. Ryan said, “He does a tremendous job for us. Last year when Kris Jenkins went down, the defense challenged themselves to get better at stopping the run because we lost our big man in there, and we did get better. We improved by like 20 yards a game. Sione is a huge reason for that. Today, Baltimore rushed 34 times for 50 yards. That’s a great rushing football team. They can run the ball against anybody. A lot of credit goes to Sione. He’s probably one of the best unknown players in this league.”
When Pouha was asked why he thinks he is still such an unknown, Pouha said, “I don’t know. I have no idea. Someone mentioned that Rex mentioned that and stuff, I’m just a do your job type of guy, you know what I mean. If I’m not doing it right than I’ll work at it as hard as I can and I don’t know, I guess I haven’t really had too many requests for interviews (laughing). So I guess that’s why people can say that.”
Just a do your job type of guy huh? That has to be music to Pettine’s ears. Pettine said, “Our theme defensively, our mantra, is really do your job (and) good things will happen. Those guys are perfect examples of that. Their going to do their job, it’s not going to show up in the stat sheet, but their out there steady as a rock and your not going to see spectacular plays from them, but their doing their jobs. Both those guys (Pouha and Devito) I thought played lights-out on Monday night.”
Pouha is getting more attention now than he was last year and at any other point in his life, but whether fans know about him is irrelevant. One of the most common sayings in football is that, the big men inside do all the work and get none of the credit. So goes the life of an NFL lineman.
The fans don’t need to know about him, though they soon will, but rest-assured the Patriots, and every other team that has the Jets on their schedule, know exactly who he is and what he brings to this defense.
Shaun Ellis thinks Pouha will soon get the attention and credit he deserves. When asked about how Pouha can help fill the void left by Jenkins, Ellis said, “Bo did a successful job last year, you know coming in and you know, (now) a lot of people are turning on the tapes and he’s on of the best of the best nose guards in the league. It’s just one of those things where a lot of people aren’t giving him his credit. I think a lot of people need to start to focus in on him and see how good he really is.”
One of the other people who will have an increased role with the absence of Jenkins is Mike Devito. When asked what makes Pouha such a disruptive force Devito said, “Oh, he’s an awesome, awesome player. Just a really, really powerful player (and he) reads blocks really well. I mean (he’s a) quick reactor, light on his feet and he gets good pressure in the pass game. He’s somebody that I really look up to and I try to study my game prepared with his game.”
Pouha knows his teammates and coaches, especially Ryan, have a tremendous amount of confidence in him. Pouha said, “I’ve been knowing that. That’s not a surprise that’s no secret. When Rex puts you on the squad you know he believes in you. Since he got here, you know that’s something I knew already. I mean it wasn’t just a surprise to hear it this past Monday, that he had confidence in all of us as a whole, we all knew that from the get go.”
The running theme should be obvious by now. These guys, especially Pouha, stepped in and replaced Jenkins for the last 13 games last year (counting the playoffs) and no one in this organization is expecting anything less. Having the experience of last year can only help as Pouha said being familiar with the entire defense is the key.
Pouha has improved as a player because he has become more familiar with everything around him. Pouha said, “I think I’m more familiar with the scheme, I‘m more familiar with my role, I’m more familiar with what goes on around me and I think the relationship with the brotherhood we have with Shaun (Ellis) and Devito in there, we all know how to work as a trio. When Jenks was in there we all learned how to work as quads, but I think we are all familiar with each other we all know what this individual is going to do, so I think overall just being more familiar with each other.”
Also back with the Jets to help replace Jenkins is Howard Green and Pouha is happy to have his friend back. Obviously for what he can contribute on the field, but it’s also good if he needs someone to make a late-night run to McDonald’s for him.
When Pouha was asked about how it feels to have Green back he said, “We’re all familiar with each other, how we all joke. You know he’s familiar with what I would order if I went to McDonald’s or Burger King (laughing), so it’s good to have one of the fellas back… If I go to Mcdonald’s I’ll probably get like four Big Macs. The special sauce don’t really hit your taste buds until after three, so you got to get four.”
Maybe the way fans experience Pouha’s play is analogous to the way he feels about his Big Macs. Sure those first couple taste pretty good, but it’s not until the third that the full brunt of the impact is felt.
Last year Pouha was good enough to earn the respect and confidence of his coaches and teammates. Fans never complained about him or anything, but maybe this will be the year that his play makes Jet fans salivate over his impact like he salivates over that third Big Mac.
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