After three weeks of gearing up toward full-season mode, the Jets' third training camp at SUNY Cortland concluded this morning when the team buses left to return to North Jersey.
Calvin Pace said he's well accustomed to the routine of preparing for another year.
"I try to work on something different every day, whether it just be some technical things or just going to the ball," the linebacker said. "You know, it's a grind. We're away from our homes, our families, and sometimes you get into a mindset of just trying to make it through the day and that's not the right way to do it. Try to get better at something."
That determined attitude has Pace optimistic about his upcoming 10th season in the NFL. Surely, experience is one item the Green & White's linebacking core will not be lacking. This fall will be the fourth year together for him, David Harris, Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas.
"I think we have great chemistry and we enjoy playing together," he said of the quartet. "Sometimes we don't like coming out here in training camp, but it's a joy to be able to play with them and be able to play off of each other. Everybody's doing their part."
Pace feels Scott is ready to respond from his 2011 season. Third-round rookie LB Demario Davis will strongly benefit learning from the veteran group, and in front of the linebackers, first-round DE Quinton Coples will aim to have his second straight strong performance when the Jets host the Giants at MetLife Stadium on Saturday night.
"The young guys we have, hopefully they understand they're not counted on to go out and put up these ridiculous numbers," Pace said. "Just kind of do your part, make your plays. I mean we've got enough guys, enough depth to where these guys aren't asked to be the savior, so to say."
While the linebacking unit struggled to cover tight ends at times last season, many believe the addition of Davis helps address that concern. He brings not just youth to the group but also his 4.5 speed in the 40. Pace however, doesn't view the TE topic as an issue.
"We have a plethora of tight ends in our league, but there's a number of different ways that you can cover them," he said. "You can cover them man-to-man. You can get to the quarterback so they don't have time. You can play some zone against them.
"That's not something that we worry about — somebody get out there and somebody cover them. It's just a matter of just knowing who's out there, who can affect you in certain situations. That's what we have to be better at, game situations and how they're trying to attack us."
Having held training camp in Cortland once again, the Green & White are confident they have what it takes to return back to their winning ways of 2009 and 2010. And as they continue prepping for the start of the regular season, tomorrow's matchup against the defending Super Bowl champion Giants appears to be an ideal measuring stick.
"We always play them, obviously, and it's always a good gauge," Pace said. "There's some times we've had good battles in the past. They're physical, well-coached, and obviously they had a great run last year for a reason. I think this is a good point in time for us to have that type of test, second [preseason] game. We're going to play the half, so I'm looking forward to hitting somebody other than ourselves. I think it will be a good test."
It hasn't been the most memorable three weeks for Jeremy Kerley during the Jets' stay in Cortland. The fifth-rounder from the 2011 draft is still recovering from a hamstring pull that he suffered during the first day of training camp.
"It's very tough," Kerley said following a recent practice. "Nobody wants to come in the first day of camp and hurt their hamstring. I'm just dealing with it right now. I'm trying to make the best out of the worst situation and come back and help my team in any way I can."
The former TCU standout impressed Jets Nation during his rookie campaign, catching 29 passes at 10.8 yards per reception and returning 29 punts for a 10.9 average in 14 games of action. He missed two games due to an MCL injury.
The 5'9", 188-pound wide receiver said he is excited for the upcoming season and that the team has plenty of inspiration coming off that disappointing 8-8 season.
"We want to set a higher goal and reach those goals," he said. "Our season last year wasn't the one we wanted. So we'll try to do our best to make this year, one that we can talk about."
No. 11 said he is uncertain whether he will be cleared for Saturday's home preseason opener against the Giants, although head coach Rex Ryan said Thursday Kerley won't play. But he knows his fellow Jets sticking behind him as he continues to return to full health.
"I just have to think about my teammates," Kerley said. "Those guys want me back on the field just as well as I want myself back, so it's kind of motivation for them and for myself."