Following a "frustrating" sophomore campaign in 2018 in which he missed 10 games, Marcus Maye is eager to fully participate in training camp after the team took a cautious approach with the second-year safety this spring.
"You just have to be smart and practice like a professional, know the situations, play the game between your ears more," Maye said in June. "But once I get out there and get the green light, I'm definitely going to go."
After being placed on injured reserve with shoulder and thumb ailments in December, the Florida product didn't participate in team periods throughout OTAs and minicamps. Maye did partake in 7-on-7 drills while wearing a red non-contact jersey and the expectation is that he'll be turned loose at the start of camp.
"It's definitely frustrating watching on the sideline because I know I could be out there right now, just running around with the team, getting reps," he said. "Other than learning a new defense, I'm just getting mental reps and seeing everything from the sideline, just watching how the guys react and stuff like that. I'm learning as I'm watching."
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The Jets defense will welcome Maye back with open arms, especially fellow third-year safety Jamal Adams, who is ready to have his "rib" back next to him.
"He's a playmaker, man. There's no forgetting about Marcus Maye," Adams said. "He's a guy that can make plays on the ball. He's the best, if not one of the best free safeties in the league. And I'm definitely humbled to share the field with him and call him a friend, call him a brother. He's going to be fine and he's going to make plays."
As a rookie in 2017, Maye finished fourth on the team with 76 tackles and added a pair of interceptions. In limited action last year, the 6'0", 207-pounder tacked up 33 tackles, 0.5 sacks, one interception and two pass defenses.
An intelligent player with range, Maye will be featured in a Gregg Williams' system where the safeties are interchangeable. Speaking from experience, Gase said it will be difficult for opposing offenses to gameplan against Adams and Maye.
"They don't want to be, "Hey, I'm just a down guy," or, "Hey, I'm just a middle-field safety," or, "Hey, we're always playing split," he said. "Whatever it is. They want to be interchangeable, I love that about those guys.
"I know Marcus does have the ability to both play in the post, down, he could go and play nickel if you asked him to. His flexibility is great, and that's what you're looking for in a position like that."