Veteran DT Sharing Knowledge on HC Robert Saleh and Talented Former TeammatesJohn Pullano
Having played with a variety of all-pros and having been coached by Robert Saleh in San Francisco from 2017-20, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas has learned a lot. Now in Jets camp after being signed as a free agent, he has taken the extra time after practice to pass that knowledge along to members of a d-line he believes has limitless potential.
"It is about just getting our timing and getting our rhythm down," he said. "It is different when it is live bullets and they are going full speed with their teammates, so it is just trying to get all the rust off from the offseason, trying to just make sure our timing is right, so we are ready for the season."
Before signing in March, Thomas spent one season with Las Vegas and the four in San Francisco, which selected him No. 3 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. A rotational defensive lineman with the Raiders last season, Thomas registered 3.5 sacks and 12 QB hits in 17 game appearances.
On both teams, he played with an assortment of All-Pro and Pro Bowl talents. Thomas lined up next to All-Pro selections DeForest Buckner and Gerald McCoy, Pro Bowl players Joey Bosa, Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue, and veterans Arik Armstead and Quinton Jefferson.
This summer, the Jets defensive line has displayed similar talents to those Solomon saw in his past teammates and felt they could benefit from what he has learned from them.
"I have been blessed in my days to be around good players and learn from good players in my days," he said. "But I think it is huge to be a part of this d-line, I think our ceiling, our potential is out of the ceiling, it is up in space.
"We have an unbelievably talented defensive line here. ... The energy in the room is high. ... You do not often get to be around this talent of a defensive line."
Solomon reached the Super Bowl in 2019 with Saleh when the latter was DC in San Francisco. And in the opinion of DT Sheldon Rankins, Thomas has been able to provide tips and tricks to help his new teammates understand the coach's scheme.
"He's a guy who has played in the system before and he's played under Saleh," Rankins said. "He is the kind of guy that understands little nuances within the defense to help the young guys come along as well as just understanding the overall arching theme of what Saleh wants."
Thomas has shared his experiences and technique not only during practices, but he stays on the field after the sessions to continue to work on technique with multiple players.
On Wednesday Thomas, dropping back in coverage, caught a tipped pass for an interception and the defense celebrated. But as soon as practice was over, he and the d-line went back to work.
"[Solomon] is the epitome of all gas," Saleh said. "He had an interception running out of the stack on a deflection today. He is awesome. ... He is just constantly trying to better himself, trying to better everyone around him."