Kris Jenkins was in fine form this morning, the best he's been in since the First of August.
He's not fully cleared to return from the calf pull he suffered that second day of training camp at SUNY Cortland, but he basically said he was going to suit up and work today, and that's what he did, working in individual drills before taking to the stationary bike under strength coach Sal Alosi's guidance during team drills at this morning's camp practice.
"It felt good, it felt good," Big Jenk said about wearing his green No. 77 jersey, white pants and full pads again. "I've still got some work, you know? It just felt good to be out there to move around and just not be doing calisthenics."
That led Jenkins on a riff about Alosi, who, head coach Rex Ryan has already noted, works his charges so hard that they want to return to practice.
"Pads aren't that bad — seriously. There are things that are worse than pads and his name is Sal," Jenkins said. "Sal has a way of bringing anything in your stomach up and out. He has a way of working on the best nerves in your body and making them just the worst ones.
"That's how Sal does it. He's going to pound you and pound you because that's how he is as a strength coach. He's going to get the best out of you and he's going to do it by force every single time."
Naturally, the most important questions from a media and fan standpoint are game-related:
Can Jenkins be ready for Baltimore a week from tonight?
"I don't know. That's based on what the trainers think," he said. "I'm going to listen to the experts and make sure I do the right thing. The big focus is making sure when the games count, when it's regular season, that I'm ready to do it the right way."
And how effective can he be in the Jets' new defensive scheme once he is fully healthy?
"The attack style has been more my thing," he said. "That's just what I've done since I've been in the league, it's what I did in college, it's what I did in high school. I understand this defense. And last year it was fun to know that I could do the 3-4 because there was one other year I had a shot at the read-and-react type of defense and that was my rookie year and it just didn't go too well.
"So to get out there and play that position and be able to excel at it was really like a confidence boost to me. I feel more comfortable being able to come off the ball."
And whether it's the Ravens, Giants, Eagles or the Texans on opening day, Jenkins will be coming off the ball and wreaking havoc soon.
Morning Practice Notes
It's another hot morning under a bright sun on the SUNY Cortland grass field. Kellen Clemens won't be starting at Baltimore in a week, but he's still working with the first offense every other practice, so he's with the ones today.
And KC clicks on a couple of pretty pass plays. On one throw to Jerricho Cotchery, J-Co tips the ball in the air to himself for the long completion. On another, Clemens hits a crisp out-route to Chansi Stuckey, just past the fingertips of LB Bart Scott, and Stuck turns it upfield for some YAC. On a third, the QB converts a third-and-8 with a 20-yarder to TE Dustin Keller.
Mark Sanchez throws one interception, a forced fourth-down throw that S James Ihedigbo is all over for the "touchdown" return.
But Sanchez also strikes on the last offensive play of practice, a 45-yard TD strike to David Clowney, 40 in the air over CB Lito Sheppard. Clowney gathers it in and kicks the pylon for the score. Pretty.
In red zone work, the threes get into the act as recently signed WR Aundrae Allison gathers in an Erik Ainge toss for the 5-yard TD.
And in an 11-on-11 running play with the third offense, RB Shonn Greene cuts once, twice, then plows into CB Marquice Cole. It's a violent play showing Greene's explosiveness, but Cole, while absorbing the hit, brings Greene down. Fine football play.
Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, Damien Woody and Jehuu Caulcrick remain sidelined for the offense, Darrelle Revis for the defense, but all are being put through their paces by Alosi.