In the middle of the third quarter against the Dolphins, Dowtin was trying to record the first sack or pass deflection of his career. Instead he missed the ball, hit the quarterback late and drew his first penalty—a roughing the passer against Matt Moore.
That might sting for a short while, but Dowtin will continue to have the opportunity to earn snaps. The Jets' linebacking group—one of the oldest in the NFL—has been the weak link this season on an otherwise strong defense.
Dowtin and rookie Demario Davis have both been getting more action the last two weeks. Dowtin got into his first two NFL games and picked up some tackles. Davis got his first two starts.
After going undrafted out of college where he played at North Alabama, Dowtin was with the Jets in training camp and the again on the in-season practice squad. He was brought onto an active NFL roster for the first time on October 17th. Of that day he said:
My initial reaction was just excited and thankful. I mean, not everybody gets this opportunity. So many people I know back home are on the streets and doing stuff they’re not supposed to do or not even getting an opportunity like this. I’m definitely just happy and blessed and glad I got the shot.
As a young rookie, Dowtin will have to learn how to pull up when the quarterback throws the ball. Nonetheless, if he can continue to get quarterback pressures, he will have a job in New York and a lot of opportunity ahead of him. The Jets' starting linebackers have combined for only five sacks this season in eight games. That is an unacceptably low rate.
In the meantime, Dowtin will have to go without a game check for a week. But there are plenty more of those to be earned.