With the uncertain status of veteran RBs Bilal Powell and Matt Forte for Sunday's Jets-Patriots clash, rookie RB Elijah McGuire is not changing his mindset.
"I'm not worried about starting, I'm not worried about playing a big role," he said. "If I worry about those things, I might not be able to do my job. I'm just focusing on doing my job and controlling what I can control and just helping my team out the best way I can."
Powell was forced out of last Sunday's win over the Browns with a calf injury while Forté was limited in practice Wednesday after missing Weeks 4-5 with turf toe. McGuire, who has impressed early in his career while averaging 5.2 yards a carry, could be the club's No. 1 backfield option when they look to push their win streak to four Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Green & White don't view McGuire as a typical rookie after he quickly grasped offensive coordinator John Morton's system.
"I try my best to be consistent, just go out there and show the coaches you know what you are doing," he said. "It all comes with everything outside of football like studying on your own, watching film on your own and relating all that to on the field."
McGuire credits both Powell and Forté, the NFL's only pair of RBs last season to reach record 1,000 scrimmage yards, for assisting him with his transition to the pros.
"They help me a lot, it's crazy. They just give me the little brother talk of how to win on a linebacker 1-on-1, how to press the hole and where to put my eyes at on certain plays to get the defense to flow and possibly have a cutback," he said. "Just the little things that can take you a long way in this league."
After amassing 4,301 yards on the ground and 42 touchdowns at Louisiana Lafayette, the 5'10", 214-pound McGuire went to the Jets with the 188th overall selection in last April's Draft. He showcased his explosion on his first-career touchdown, a 69-yarder vs. Jacksonville in Week 4 that was the longest run by a rookie in team history.
"The thing about it is I've been a 4.5 guy my whole life. I knew what I was going to run at the Combine. It wasn't a surprise," he said. "I do play faster than what the time shows, but I think I'm more quick than anything. I think I move side to side well and I have long speed."
While McGuire has only five receptions, he displayed his hands throughout training camp. A natural out of the backfield, he had 130 receptions at for the Ragin' Cajuns and 10 receiving scores.
Now with the Patriots looming and the Jets dealing with injuries in the backfield, McGuire won't change his preparation. The 23-year old talks like a wise veteran, one who will be ready no matter the workload ahead.
"I see what the safeties like to do," he said. "I see what the linebackers like to do and how they blitz. What is their favorite pass rush? I also look at the corners, how they come, how they blitz and where their eyes are at. Just the little things you have to see when you are watching film on the defense."