The second week of Jets training camp has wrapped up at SUNY Cortland, and as the preseason games approach the more hard-hitting the practices have gotten.
Kenwin Cummings is one player who anticipates the tough nature of "live" play. "It's been good," the second-year inside linebacker said after Saturday's morning practice. "We've definitely been getting after it in this second week. There have been very physical practices this week."
Cummings, 24, is looking to break through and make an impact with the Green & White this summer and into the fall. He went undrafted out of Division II Wingate University in North Carolina and was signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent in May 2008.
He spent most of 2008 and half of last season on the Jets' practice squad, then was a gameday deactivation for the final seven regular-season games. Then he made his Jets and NFL debut with a few special teams plays in the January AFC Wild Card victory at Cincinnati.
Getting an opportunity in this defense, the best in the league last year, will be no easy feat for Cummings. However, he enjoys every minute of being a part of this lineup.
"This is the greatest defense," he said. "Any defensive player would want to play in this defense. We get after it, and we bring the pressure."
Cummings has been getting pointers from linebackers coach Bob Sutton as well as the veterans in the defensive front to get a more hands-on approach to his position.
"Bart [Scott] and David [Harris] have been the biggest help," he said. "You also have Coach Bob. He gives me certain things but they are able to give me little things that Bob might not know by not being on the field. They play a big role in that."
While the Jets-Giants rivalry, which will be renewed on Monday night in the first football game to be played at New Meadowlands Stadium, might be exciting for many fans and players, Cummings is doing his best to look at it as just another preseason game in which to improve on his skills for the regular season.
But he is looking forward to seeing different-colored jerseys on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
"We're just tired of punishing our own guys," Cummings said. "It's time to put it on another team for a change. I can't wait for Monday night against the Giants."
Cummings will get plenty of opportunities to impress against the Giants. Head coach Rex Ryan said in Saturday's news conference that the starters, Scott and Harris, will play about a quarter. Then, with Josh Mauga (concussion) and Brashton Satele (ankle) on the sideline, Cummings and Lance Laury will likely play the final three quarters of the game.
"Usually in the preseason games everybody gets a lot of reps," Cummings said with a smile, "so I'm going to bring my oxygen tank with me."