Updated, 6:05 p.m. ET
Chris Ivory is inching ever closer to taking snaps with the Jets offense.
In fact, the running back told reporters after this morning's training camp practice at SUNY Cortland that he expects to play in the Jets' next game, their home preseason opener on Saturday night against Jacksonville.
But as Chad Pennington would say, it's still a process. Ivory was in full pads today and got to carry the ball a bit in air drills, but he and his hamstring still weren't cleared for a full-go yet.
"I'm staying in my playbook," he said, "hearing the calls, watching the plays. Just getting mental reps."
"I'm over that right now," said Ivory, who's been sidelined and working with the Jets trainers since the start of camp. "Right now I'm just thinking about getting healthy and, once I get back, just remaining healthy for the rest of the games."
He did say he hasn't felt tightness in his hamstring for two days, which is a good sign and a prerequisite to taking a full load in the offensive backfield again.
"I feel like the coaches know what I'm capable of," he said, "but I'm not going to say I feel like my spot on the team is secure."
So he'll continue to stay with the program, but from the sounds of it, the new No. 33 in green and white will make his debut for the Jets and their fans at MetLife Stadium in August, either Saturday vs. the Jaguars, the following Saturday "on the road" at the Giants, or Thursday, Aug. 29, vs. the Eagles.
Add in Joe McKnight, who stayed out of today's practice with his head injury, and rookie QB Geno Smith said that bodes well for the Green & White.
"Yes, we love those guys and we hope they can contribute," Smith said. "We expect a lot out of those guys. To get Joe back, to get Chris back, along with other guys who have been nicked up, is going to really help us out as an offense."
"It's gradual, I'll just see where I am. I'll continue to make these steps and then go have a full practice," Ivory said, adding optimistically, "I'm feeling better."
Smith, two days after injuring his ankle on a third-quarter scramble, was back taking full reps at today's practice. He and head coach Rex Ryan said he was cleared to practice by the trainers. "Of course I was slower. My ankle isn't back to full strength yet," Geno said. "But I was pushing it, I pushed through it and I had a pretty good day of practice." Click here for a transcript of Smith's news conference after today's practice.
In 11-on-11 goal line passing drills, Smith hit Jeff Cumberland twice past Calvin Pace for touchdowns. Mark Sanchez responded with a TD strike to rookie free agent TE Chris Pantale, who made a leaping sideline snare for perhaps his most impressive catch of camp. ... Free agent CB Mike Edwards jumped a Matt Simms pass for an interception in 7-on-7 drills. ... Ryan, impressed with Jaiquawn Jarrett's play at safety on Friday night, said of a start for him vs. Jacksonville on Saturday: "Yeah, that's a possibility, we'll see, but that's a possibility."
The Jets announced late this afternoon that they have released RB John Griffin with an injury and have signed RB Kahlil Bell and WR Rahsaan Vaughn. Bell (6'0", 219) was the two-year Bear who played three games with the Jets last year. He had no carries, one catch for 2 yards, and one lost fumble against the Cards. Coincidentally, the Jets were 3-0 in the games he played. Vaughn (6'2", 198) is an undrafted free agent out of Oregon.