A key special teams performer for the Jets last season, Josh Martin started the club's first three games this season at OLB across from Jordan Jenkins. After injuring his ankle in a Week 3 win over the Dolphins and being amongst the inactives in Weeks 4-5, Martin is nearing a return.
"I'm excited for this week," he said. "I think it will be a fun challenge and a good opportunity to get back at it for myself, personally, and continue what the work the team has been doing."
The versatile Martin recorded nine defensive tackles in the season's early going including a four tackles for loss performance in Buffalo. He could be back in the lineup Sunday against a Tom Brady-led offense that is first in the NFL in total yards (419.4 yards per game) and third in scoring (29.6 points per contest).
"Dude's been playing a long time. He has a lot of experience and has played at a high level for a long time," Martin said of Brady. "He does a lot of things well. I can't think of anything he does poorly, so it's just one of those things where you have to bring your best game."
Brady, who returned to practice Thursday after resting a minor left shoulder injury, has been sacked 16 times after taking 15 the entire 2016 season.
"It happens, it's something you think about. You see it for sure," Martin said of the sacks. "You try to study the film to see what other guys are doing to get around the edge or beat them up inside and try to replicate that."
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In order to beat the Patriots, the Jets will have to play well in all three phases. Despite missing the 6'3", 245-pound Martin the past two games, Brant Boyer's special teams have continued to thrive.
"I think we're doing a lot better than what we were doing last year and that's a start," said Martin, one of Boyer's most dependable performers. "But that being said, there's always more that we can be doing. We've had some good kickoff returns and we've been able to get after it a little bit in kickoff coverage. The field position has really been a really strong point for us this year. It would be nice to get the punt return game going. I think everyone would agree with that, but there's always work that we can be doing."
In Boyer's second season, Martin and the core special teamers are in a comfort zone with the system.
"The familiarity with Boyer and his scheme and the techniques and the fundamentals that he's been coaching," he said when asked about the difference thus far. "I think it's because we're more familiar. We've been doing it for longer, so we're performing at a higher level."
Martin and the Jets defense will face their greatest challenge to date on Sunday. They'll need on hands on deck and Martin, who was replaced in the lineup by David Bass, is eager to rejoin the action for a club searching its fourth consecutive victory.
"Obviously we're 2-0 at home," he said. "It's still early in the season, but I think it will be an exciting atmosphere to play in."