It was a dreary morning at SUNY Cortland, gray clouds shrouding any sunshine and rain hovering over the mountains in the distance. It was a fitting scene for the Jets' last practice before their preseason opener, a time that is always a little bit quieter and filled with a bit more angst than days prior.
For third-year linebacker Garrett McIntyre, the timing of the Jets' game at Detroit on Friday night could not be better.
"I think by the time the first game rolls around, it's at that point in training camp where guys are getting a little anxious," he said. "We're all ready to go and start playing for real. I think it comes at a perfect time for us."
McIntyre understands the value of performing well in preseason games, using them as a platform to display some of his abilities that can sometimes be suppressed in a more controlled environment during practice.
"Yeah, I'm definitely excited. We're all getting pretty tired of hitting our own guys and we're kind of chomping at the bit to get out there. Getting a chance to hit other people is going to be fun," he said. "Games are where you can show what you can do, put a good showing on film, for the coaches and for teams. What you do in practice is obviously important, but games are where you show the finished product."
As for any personal preference as to who he is looking forward to meeting head-to-head on the field, "Anybody with a different colored jersey" was his immediate response. That is exactly what the Jets have come to expect from Garrett McIntyre, a guy who is simply out there to do his job without the flair or bravado that is so common at his position.
After floating around in the Canadian Football League for a few years following a short stint in Arena Football, McIntyre was picked up by the Jets and has shown an innate ability to improve his game with each passing year. Even battling it out with the best players in the world did nothing to slow his development as he racked up Jets highs of 39 tackles and 3.5 sacks last year while playing in all 16 games.
Heading into this season, McIntyre has set his mind on transitioning from more of a pass-rusher and run-stopper into a more complete linebacker.
"Coverages, definitely, getting a feel of where to be and getting there at the right time," he said. "It's been a little bit of a transition into more of a dropback guy, so I've needed to develop that part of my game."
For the always motivated Fresno State alum, perfecting coverages is but the corkscrew in the Swiss Army knife that McIntyre would like to ultimately become. "This year has been more of a transition year for me," he said. "I've been molding my game from someone who mostly rushed the passer or broke up run plays to more of a complete player who can drop back a little more and be on the field for more plays. I think my main focus is to show that I can be a guy that does it all. I want to do a little bit of everything to help this team win."