The most action Matt Forte has been getting the first four days of Jets training camp has been with the JUGS machine. Today it was seven low fastballs to one side, two getting away, then seven more to the other side, all of them thunking solidly into his gloved hands.
Then the featured back with the cranky hammy came over to talk with reporters in the Atlantic Health Training Center fieldhouse not about what he's been doing but what he's been seeing.
"I love it, just going through it in OTAs, seeing the leeway and the versatility you are able to have," Forté said of coordinator Chan Gailey's scheme. "Chan likes to motion running backs out of the backfield, run routes from the backfield, and that's what I'm used to. I think it'll be fun to see it when I practice."
It should be fun for Jets fans too. Besides averaging more than 1,000 rush yards a season over his career, he's also just two years removed from his 102-catch 2014 campaign with Chicago, which set the NFL season record for most catches by a running back. And in the past 12 seasons among Jets backs, only LaDainian Tomlinson (10.7 yards/catch in 2011) has a better season per-catch average than Forté's career 8.5-yard average.
He agreed his pass-catching should mesh well with the rest of the strengths of the Green & White offense.
"Obviously, having Brandon and Eric out there, they draw a lot of attention," he said. "They can't double-cover everybody. There's a lot of real estate to be made, a lot of ground to be made underneath and I think it'll happen."
But first things first. Forté said he tweaked his hamstring while running on his own right before the start of camp and now he's feeling better "every day" but waiting for the green light from the Jets' trainers.
"I've been fortunate in that aspect," he said. "This is my ninth [NFL] training camp. Preseason is a time to get ready for the season. You want to peak getting into the season and not wear yourself out. I've been afforded the luxury to be able to heal this injury so I can be at my best."