Jets LB Jamien Sherwood has a knack for chess


One of Jamien Sherwood’s off-the-field talents may help him see the entire field when he’s playing linebacker for the Jets.

Sherwood, on an episode of “Meet the Fleet” with team reporter Olivia Landis, recently revealed that chess is one of his hidden talents. The Auburn product went as far as saying he was “pretty good” at the game, which could be a modest take considering chess is not an easy craft to master.

A chess player’s success hinges on his ability to read the board and see one step ahead of his opponent. Strategy and approach are the driving forces behind a player’s ability to win. NFL linebackers often rely on their natural athleticism and sure tackling skills to make plays. While Sherwood is well off in that regard, he showcased traits throughout the spring that mirrored the detail-oriented approach of a chess player.

“I’ve been around a lot of rookies as a player and coach and he’s unique in the way that he has absolutely like, picked up the finite details of this defense already,” Jeff Ulbrich said of Sherwood in June. “His ability to command the defense, run the huddle, make the adjustments, make the checks, the calls, the whole thing, [it’s] very exciting.”

Sherwood shined throughout his first spring with the Jets and is competing for the starting weak-side linebacker spot with Blake Cashman and fellow rookie Hamsah Nasirildeen. Sherwood can also play in coverage against running backs and tight ends when needed, making him a versatile chess piece Ulbrich and Robert Saleh can deploy in a multitude of ways.

New York does not need Sherwood taking complete command of its defense as a rookie with veteran C.J. Mosley at middle linebacker, but his ability to do so in his first couple of practices with the team bodes well for his future. With a little more seasoning and some in-game experience and production, Sherwood could be a leader of Saleh and Ulbrich’s defense sooner than expected.

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