Five years ago, Kwon Alexander made the Pro Bowl.
At the time, Alexander was on the rise, a third-year linebacker on the Buccaneers defense that was building on a career year in 2016 (leading the league with 108 solo tackles).
In 2017, the LSU product racked up 97 total tackles with three interceptions in 12 games, making seven tackles for loss with three quarterback hits.
Alexander hasn't gotten back to that level of production ever since, though. The linebacker has battled his fair share of injuries, bouncing around between three teams over the last four years.
Now, after signing with the Jets and making his presence felt in training camp, Alexander isn't shying away from high expectations and personal goals. Returning to a defense that he's familiar with—playing under head coach Robert Saleh, who was his defensive coordinator in San Francisco a few years ago—could be the key to a resurgent campaign.
"I want to be All-Pro," Alexander told reporters this week. "Pro Bowl is cool, but I'm trying to be All-Pro, change my whole game. Put it all together this year. That's what I've been working toward."
That confidence and charisma is contagious. Alexander was brought in as a depth piece in a linebacker room with C.J. Mosley, Quincy Williams, Marcell Harris and more, but the 28-year-old is using his experience and work ethic to make a strong impression leading into the preseason.
"I wasn’t expecting him to be in the shape he is. He’s in fantastic shape, and he’s ready to roll like I’ve said," Saleh said at camp recently. "He’s adding to the room. He’s definitely making it hard to keep him off the field."
Alexander added that while the defense with Gang Green has featured different terminology, it's very similar to what he is used to from his time with the 49ers. With more reps, he'll continue adjusting efficiently and effectively.
Asked about what he brings to the table as he jockeys for playing time, Alexander focused on his intangibles.
"Energy, leadership, I just like getting guys going," he said. "Our job is hard, I just want guys to go out there and have fun, feel like they're a kid again. We're starting to learn how to do that so everybody is picking it up, getting more energy and that's the best thing about it."
- The Case For Andre Dillard, Not Teven Jenkins, as Jets Trade Target at Right Tackle
- Jets' OT Mekhi Becton Likely Out For 2022 Season With Knee Injury
- 5 Things to Watch For in Jets’ Preseason Opener