It is truly “Go Time” for Calvin Pace.
After suffering a broken right foot in the Jets’ third preseason game, Pace will see his first regular-season action Monday night at New Meadowlands Stadium as the Vikings pay a visit.
“I’m just ready to go. To be honest with you, I’ve never looked forward to a week of practice compared to this week,” he said today. “I want to take as many reps as I can take.”
Telling reporters that he’s “91.5 percent,” Pace is feeling healthy and attempting to get his football rhythm back.
“It’s not necessarily the foot — it’s kind of the sense of just getting back into football,” he said. “It kind of has that feel of offseason when you come back and start OTAs. Kind of like ‘Man, I never played football before.’ ”
Friday will mark six weeks since Pace has appeared in a game. He practiced on a limited basis last week but the team concluded that it would be better if he got one more off before returning to action.
“I think the extra time and not playing Sunday helped me out and the good thing is we have a long week,” he said. “We don’t play until Monday, so every day I’m getting more treatment and practicing is going to help me, getting the feel of going against some other guys and running around.”
On the same day it was announced that the Vikings had secured a deal for WR Randy Moss, Pace reminded media types that RB Adrian Peterson, who’s averaging 131 yards a game on the ground, is a unique talent.
“He’s in a league of his own. It’s him and Chris Johnson right now. He has power and speed,” said Pace just days before he officially rejoins the Jets’ fourth- ranked rush defense (74.8 yards per game). “He is a guy you have to get everybody to the ball. Watching the Lions game, they stopped him and stopped him, and then he took one 80. He has that type of ability.
“It’s going to take a full game. It’s not necessarily you’re going to stop him for three quarters and think we’re good. And then in the fourth quarter, he might explode. We have to really key on him and get a lot of guys to the ball.”
The Jets have racked up eight sacks through four games, but their pass rush will get a boost from a performer who led the Green & White with 15 sacks combined in 2008-09. Vikings QB Brett Favre, who has been dumped behind the line six times, is not a threat to scramble and his line has had trouble protecting him at times.
“He’s going to stand there in the pocket and take a hit to make a big play,” Pace said. “When we get there, we have to make it count.”
Moss is the vertical threat the Vikings have sorely missed during their 1-2 start. Favre and company are averaging only 14.3 points a game and their passing game is ranked just 24th at 185 yards a contest.
“I wouldn’t doubt that the first play would be a bomb to Randy, but we’ve seen him before,” said Pace. “It’s not like he’s a guy we haven’t faced. He’s been in our division, we play him twice, so I think guys are pretty glued in on what Randy’s capable of.”
Jets Nation knows what Pace is capable of, too. An outstanding athlete, he’s a versatile outside linebacker who will rush the passer, drop in coverage and mix it up in the run game. And the wait to see No. 97 making plays once again is almost over.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre, Calvin Pace, Minnesota Vikings, Randy Moss
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