Anchoring the Jets' experienced offensive line and in the midst of working on his role in the "ground and pound" offense, D'Brickashaw Ferguson has big plans for this season.
"I'm definitely going to make the Pro Bowl this year," Ferguson told newyorkjets.com after this morning's training camp practice at SUNY Cortland. "It's a personal goal of mine and I think it will definitely help the team."
Don't forget that last year Ferguson was an alternate for the AFC Pro Bowl team. And Brick, who has played in all 48 Jets regular-season games in his first three seasons, seems to improve each year.
He's ready for this year more than ever, appearing to have put on muscle mass since last season. He credits his hard work and strength and conditioning training in the off-season.
"After having a couple of years of experience, I knew what worked and I tried to apply that even more this off-season," he said. "The first couple of years you just try to see what's going on, but I've been through the process now a couple times so I have a little more familiarity with the situation and how to really put on size and mass."
Jets head coach Rex Ryan made sure to acknowledge Ferguson at today's news conference for his individual effort after the O-line's most physical practice of camp this morning.
"Everybody is doing well, you know, Faneca, all of them," said Ryan, "but Ferguson is the guy you look at and say, 'Wow, what an athlete.' He's got the great feet. He's smart, tough, a great pass blocker. He gets on you so quick."
Brick and his fellow offensive linemen don't always get a lot of credit for the hard work they put in at training camp. But after the first four days, confidence is the universal theme.
"This could be the best O-line in the league," said Ryan.
Veteran offensive lineman Damien Woody had parallel sentiments.
"I feel like we've got the best line in the league," he said. "We want all the pressure on our shoulders. We feel like we're the engine into the offense."
A few short melees ensued during today's practice with both lines getting in the middle to break things up. Ferguson said it's all a result of the hard work that players are putting in.
"Whenever you get the heat going and you have guys eager to play, sparks fly," said Ferguson after today's practice. "We had a little sparks today, but we're all teammates so we kept it all in context."
The O-line has been working very hard during training camp under coach Bill Callahan. Sunday night they learned how hard work pays off.
"Coach was impressed with the team's tempo — we got after it he said so we had a day off from night meetings," Ferguson said. "He was impressed how we came back and responded to the call. We didn't take a lackadaisical attitude towards it and the tempo was pretty nice."
Brick said it's important for the line and the backs to have a successful year if the Jets are to realize all their high hopes and goals.
"Everyone has their flashes, whether it is Thomas [Jones], Leon [Washington] or Shonn [Greene], and even [Danny] Woodhead," he said. "I think they'll all do a great job of giving out good effort and showing their great talent."
Ryan said he recognized Ferguson's talent while he was defensive coordinator with Baltimore. He's awed now that he's seen him play up close.
"He's an athlete, he can jump on you. As a run blocker he has great technique," said the coach. "You can tell the kind of teacher Callahan is. His hands are inside, everything you don't want as a defensive line coach — you don't want to see a guy that has that kind of movement, who uses his hands the way Brick does.
"The sky is the limit for him. I knew he was an excellent player but now when you see it up close its like 'Oh, man, he can be special.' He's a worker so he's trying to get better each day. That's when you know you have something."