Sione Pouha in action at camp.
Sione Pouha is not one to get ahead of himself. He is, after all, a little older at 28 than the average third-year NFL player.
"I'm focusing on one thing at a time," the Jets defensive tackle said this week. "One practice at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time. As long as I keep focused on the task at hand, I'll be all right."
But even Pouha had to smile at the next task at hand, which is the Green & White's preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons tonight in the Meadowlands (7 p.m. kickoff).
The last time he played in a game was as a rookie on New Year's Day 2006, the last game of the Jets' 2005 season. He was hurt the first week of last year's training camp and spent the season on injured reserve.
"I'm just excited to get out there in a live situation," Pouha said. "The reason you play football and practice is to play the game ... and this is my first game in a while."
Jets fans, many concerned with the size and depth at NT and DT, are eager to see how Pouha's 6'3", 325-pound frame controls and fills the A-gaps playing behind Dewayne Robertson. And they won't be the only ones. Head coach Eric Mangini has noticed some favorable changes in the Pouha package.
"Sione has done a lot of work in the weightroom," Mangini has said. "If you look at his body now versus, say, 12 months ago, you'll see the transition he's made in terms of strength and overall body weight distribution. Those things have helped him now as he goes out and works at his position. He's a lot stronger, he's a lot leaner, and I think that's translated well onto the practice field.
"He's got good size and good strength at the point of attack, and he's improved his hand placement, which is so important for that position. When you combine his strength, his leverage and his size with good hand placement, he's a tough guy to move."
Pouha is one of, oh, 80-plus players who will be on display against the Falcons. Click here for a look at the Jets media relations department's release on the game.