In the Jets’ final practice before traveling to Atlanta for their second preseason game, defensive lineman Leonard Williams returned to the practice field.
“It felt great,” said Williams, who was nursing a hip injury. “I got back out there today, got some fresh legs now. I missed a few days, but I’m definitely feeling good.”
Head coach Adam Gase said the team was being cautious in regard to the Big Cat’s ailment that he suffered in the team’s scrimmage Aug. 3. Williams was sidelined for a little over a week and missed four practices as well as the Green & White’s preseason opener.
“I really didn’t want to miss too much time, but I was trying to do everything the doctors and trainers needed me to do to be on the safe side,” he said. “I just wanted to get back to practice as soon as possible, so I didn’t have any falloff. Today definitely felt good, it didn’t feel like I took too many steps back or anything like that.”
As if he didn’t miss any time, the fifth-year veteran lined up with the starters in team periods alongside Henry Anderson, Steve McLendon and Bronson Kaufusi. At full force, the Green & White have good depth up front, as shown Tuesday, between those guys as well as Quinnen Williams, Nathan Shepherd and Folorunso Fatukasi.
“Depth is very important, especially for bigger guys of size,” defensive line coach Andre Carter said. “Especially when you’re talking about extended drives, plays, you have to have depth and great rotation. We’re very blessed and fortunate to have guys that care and are very hands-on as far as the X’s and O’s of football. You can tell they’re studying, applying what they’re being taught. So, depth is always great.
See the Best Images from the Final Practice Before the Preseason Trip to Atlanta
On a gloomy day, practice started with a shot in the arm courtesy of Kaufusi. The 6’6”, 275-pounder broke down the team after the stretch period and led the Haka, a New Zealand ceremonial chant/dance.
“It does juice you up because when you think about it, this was done right before war,” said Kaufusi, who lived in New Zealand for two years on a church mission. “I envision it, back in the day, as I’m not coming home unless I win. It kind of brings those feelings of fight or flight. It’s a great thing and I love it. I do it not only to represent myself, but those people in New Zealand that I met.
“Today was the last day of camp, so I wanted to send us off right and bring that warrior mindset to the field.”
The 2016 third-round pick has received many first-team reps throughout training camp and played in 40% of defensive plays in the preseason opener and caused an errant throw by Giants QB Alex Tanney that was originally called a fumble.
“For me, personally, it’s the same thing with the team. I want to be fully ready for each snap, so when my name gets called, I’m going in,” he said. “I felt like for me, I’ve taken a lot of steps forward this camp.”
Kaufusi, Anderson and LB Neville Hewitt all had would-be sacks in team periods and C.J. Mosley registered his first interception in training camp off a Sam Darnold pass intended for Quincy Enunwa. … Harvey Langi was in pads for the first time since suffering a knee injury, but worked to the side with a trainer. … Kelechi Osemele (pectoral), Brian Winters (shoulder), Trumaine Johnson (hamstring), Kyron Brown (hamstring) and Blake Cashman (calf/hamstring) did not practice. … K Taylor Bertolet nailed all of his field goal attempts, including 43- and 40-yard boots at the end of a situational period that cut the defense’s lead to 21-17 before halftime. … TE Dan Brown did a nice job corralling a ball tipped by LB James Burgess. … LB Jamey Mosley almost intercepted a Trevor Siemian pass intended for Ty Montgomery down the sideline. ... Marcus Maye partook in some team drills in a red non-contact jersey.