Coming out of practice on a sweltering Sunday morning, when temperatures shot up into the mid-90s, Jets linebacker Kenwin Cummings felt right at home.
"It felt a lot like North Carolina," said the Pembroke, N.C., native. "It brought back some memories — I don't know if they were good or bad."
Cummings, who came to the Jets as an undrafted free agent out of Wingate University in 2008, was one of the most active players on defense in the preseason opener against the Rams. He recorded five tackles to tie for the team lead and had one sack -- the second of his pro career -- a harsh one-handed takedown of third-string quarterback Brock Berlin.
"It was pretty amazing," said Cummings, "because when I got through there, he made a move and I just got one hand on him and it seemed like it took forever for him to come down. But when I went in and watched the film, it wasn't close to as long as it seemed. When I grabbed him, I was just screaming trying to pull him down."
Though the Jets defense played well for much of the game, they allowed some big plays that resulted in scores for the Rams. In reflecting upon the good and bad things the Jets did, Cummings expressed similar feelings as most players did about the play of the defense.
"The effort was good," he said. "It was just a few mental mistakes we need to correct, but as far as the effort and being physical, I feel like we did a pretty good job."
Returning to practice Sunday for the first time since the game, the issue on most players' minds was on fixing the problem areas quickly.
"I think the intensity was a little higher. Everybody came out and we had to do something different, we had to come out and work harder," Cummings said. "It was good to get back and make the corrections which we needed to get ready for the next game."
The 6'3" 250-pounder is heading into his second season with the Jets after spending last year on the practice squad. He expects to mature a lot this year working behind and alongside inside linebackers Bart Scott and David Harris.
"I'm trying to secure that second spot behind David," Cummings said. "He's doing a great job, him and Bart, and I'm just trying to make the 45-man squad. They give me tips as far as reading defenses, and they've helped me out a lot."
One aspect of defensive play that the Jets were effective in Friday was in implementing blitz packages and simulated pressures, which accounted for four sacks.
"It's annoying for a quarterback," said Cummings referring to the simulated pressures. "It lets him know that we're not going to sit back and let the offense make the decisions. We want to put pressure on them to make them make changes from what we bring, instead of them forcing us to make changes."