Kony Ealy is only 25, but he speaks with the assurance of someone who's been to the pinnacle and knows he belongs somewhere in the vicinity.
For instance, Ealy has been a Jet less than a week after being acquired on waivers from New England and added to the crowded defensive line.
Does he have any doubt he'll still be here when the final cuts are made?
"No," he said matter-of-factly. "Wherever I am, that's what it is. At the end of the day, I put what I needed to put on film, so they kind of understand where I'm coming from and I know where they're coming from."
Where Ealy, one of the defensive stars for Carolina in Super Bowl 50, was coming from against the Eagles on Thursday night was out of a large slingshot. On his 30 defensive plays, he had a strip sack of QB Matt McGloin (recovered by Patrick Gamble to start a field goal drive), a red zone tackle for loss and another tackle.
"I definitely was trying to send a message, trying to rush my butt off every play," he said. "It felt really good to get back to what I know, what I do best, and that's get after the quarterback and, for the offense, make it a living nightmare for them."
Head coach Todd Bowles, asked after the Jets' 16-10 win what he saw from Ealy, said, "Nothing I didn't know. He was in shape and ready to play. He made a play or two here and there. He's a smart football player."
Is that good enough to make the Jets' final 53? We'll find that out at Saturday 4 p.m. ET or shortly after, when all NFL final cuts must be made.
Sack 'Em UpEaly was joined by Frank Beltre, Mike Pennel, Claude Pelon (half-sack) and Gamble (half-sack) as Jets defenders with sacks against Philadelphia on Thursday.
For the preseason, Josh Martin's two sacks led the list of 16 players who each had at least 0.5 sacks. And the defense totaled 17 sacks for the preseason. The only Jets teams with more sacks in a summer since 1967 were the '68 defense (five games), just starting out on its Super season, and the 2009 team.
Top Photos from the Final Game of the 2017 Preseason
Play CountsThese are the Jets' leaders in play counts for the entire preseason:
Offense — QB Christian Hackenberg, 155; G Dakota Dozier, 155; T Brandon Shell, 137.
Defense — DL Claude Pelon, 126; LB Freddie Bishop, 113; LB Spencer Paysinger, 112.
Special Teams — Spencer Paysinger, 62; Josh Martin, 50; Lawrence Thomas, 50.
Total Plays — LB Spencer Paysinger, 174; G Dakota Dozier, 160; OL Brent Qvale, 157.