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Jets DE Maybin finds unlikely bond with coaching intern

One of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season has been defensive end Aaron Maybin's resurgence from draft-day bust to defensive playmaker in his first season with the New York Jets.

Maybin is on the short list of contenders for the league's Comeback Player of the Year award, leading the Jets with six sacks and four forced fumbles in nine games -- a shocking rise in production for those who followed his two-year stint in Buffalo where he failed to record a sack in 27 games.

The secret to Maybin's success? An unlikely bond with a Jets coaching intern, the New York Daily News explains in a lengthy profile.

Mike Smith, whose name the newspaper reported does not appear on the team's official roster or on the team's website, has become Maybin's personal coach in New York, devoting himself to helping the third-year pro turn around his career.

"Without him, I'd probably be a fish without fins in the open sea," Maybin told the Daily News this week. "He understands me better than any of my coaches since I was in college. He's one of the biggest reasons I'm doing what I'm doing now."

Smith, who played linebacker for two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens before a shoulder injury ended his career, bridges the gap between Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and Maybin and provides one-on-one tutoring sessions. The extra attention has paid off in a big way, Maybin has become a fan favorite at MetLife Stadium, ranking ninth in the league bringing pressure every 6.45 pass-rushing snaps.

"He trusts me," Maybin said. "He respects me just like I respect him. He understands how much I put into it, just like I understand how much he puts into it. He's one of the hardest working coaches we have. He expects big plays from me, just like I'm beginning to expect from myself. I really feel as though we are taking a lot of these steps together."

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