Jets RB Ivory hopes to make debut vs. Jags
CORTLAND, N.Y. (AP) — Chris Ivory took the handoff from Mark Sanchez and powered forward, past the defensive line and into the end zone.
It’s the kind of play the New York Jets plan on seeing quite a bit this season. For now, they’re just happy Ivory is on the field practicing.
The running back fully participated for the second straight day after being limited by a hamstring injury all of training camp, and hopes to play Saturday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I don’t know that just yet,” Ivory said, “but it’s a possibility.”
Ivory, acquired from New Orleans in April, is expected to be the Jets’ No. 1 running back this season, replacing Shonn Greene, who signed with Tennessee as a free agent. But the team has made sure to not rush Ivory back from his nagging injury.
“We finally get him out there and he looks good,” coach Rex Ryan said. “He looks like what we always thought we were getting. Just a big back that’s physical. Good vision. I really like his running style.”
The 6-foot, 222-pound Ivory is an intriguing mix of power and speed, who was buried on the depth chart in New Orleans by Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles. In his limited opportunities in three seasons with the Saints, Ivory rushed for 1,307 yards and averaged 5.1 yards on 256 carries.
Despite having just three career receptions, Ivory believes he’s much more than just a bulldozing-type running back.
“I think that’s something you’ll have to judge for yourself once you see me in live action,” Ivory said. “A lot of people try to put you in a category. I’m not just a power back. I can do everything, but you’ll just have to see when the time comes.”
Ivory spent all of training camp working with trainers, riding the stationary bike and waiting patiently until he could fully participate in team drills. That moment finally came Monday, and the hamstring held up so he could take the field again Tuesday.
He acknowledged that he had some concern going into Monday’s practice, but that all “faded away” after a few plays. The injury also took a bit longer to heal than Ivory anticipated.
“But I’m back now,” he said, “so that’s behind me.”
Ivory’s return has been a boost to the backfield, which is without Joe McKnight, out with a head injury, and Mike Goodson, who’s away from the team for personal reasons.
“I like what I’ve seen in his past history, I like what I saw just a little bit in the offseason, and I certainly like what I’ve seen in the past couple of days, so we’ll see,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. “That’s a little fluid. The only thing I can say right now is I think he’s feeling pretty good.”
Meanwhile, McKnight missed practice a day after needing to be carted to the locker room wearing an oxygen mask. Ryan confirmed that McKnight is suffering from a “head injury,” but declined to go into specifics.
“That’s what it is,” Ryan said. “Anything other than that, that’s the official stance that we have.”
McKnight, who has a history of migraine headaches, has been recovering from a head injury and dealing with dehydration during training camp. Heading to the field at the start of practice Monday, he dropped to a knee three times and was examined by trainers. Wearing a red no-contact jersey, he was participating in a drill 45 minutes into practice when he went down again after diving for a pass.
About an hour after being escorted to the locker room, he walked to the field to watch the end of practice in a T-shirt and shorts while wearing dark sunglasses. McKnight was not available to the media, but angrily responded on Twitter to a fan who he first thought was a reporter, asking “are you outside.”
When asked if McKnight had suffered a new injury Monday, Ryan was coy: “Again, I think that’s what we’re issuing right now and that’s where we’re at.”
Goodson has been out all of camp, away from the team and dealing with personal issues that the Jets have not commented on. He was arrested on drug and weapons possession charges in May along with a friend in New Jersey, but his absence is not believed to be related to his legal troubles.
NOTES: The Jets released T Dennis Landolt, who injured a knee in the preseason opener at Detroit. RB John Griffin, who broke his left leg in the game, was placed on injured reserve. The team also signed offensive lineman Patrick Ford. ... P Robert Malone and NT Kenrick Ellis both didn’t practice with back issues. TE Kellen Winslow Jr. and WR Braylon Edwards got the practice off as a “rest day.”