It’s enjoyable talking football with Dwight Lowery. He’s friendly and intelligent, yet he burns with an intensity on and off the field. This afternoon in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room, his brow was slightly furrowed and his gaze looking ahead to Miami.
What was on D-Lo’s mind? Safety.
“It’s the most so far,” Lowery said about his practice snaps in the deep middle this week. “A lot of it has to do with what happened to Jim, what’s happening with James. You don’t want to see guys go down for it to happen. At the same time, I’m thankful for the opportunity because I feel like it’s something that comes natural to me.”
The two J-men Lowery referenced are Jim Leonhard, lost for the season a week ago tomorrow to a broken tibia, and James Ihedigbo, who did not participate in practice for a second straight day with his knee/high-ankle daily double. Safety has taken a hit, but Lowery is ready to step up Sunday against the Dolphins as often as the flow of the game dictates.
“I played safety for two years in junior college and that’s where everything really started for me,” he said. “I have a lot — a lot — of confidence that I can play the position.”
Lowery was showing he could play a lot of roles in the first half of this season. As a corner, nickelback and dimeback, he had perhaps his hottest four-game stretch as a Jet, from Buffalo through Green Bay, compiling three PDs, including the game-clinching pick of Brett Favre vs. Minnesota, a fumble recovery at Denver, and blitz sacks against the Bills and Packers.
Then he suffered a blow to the head at Cleveland and had been sidelined for two games with a concussion before returning to action against the Patriots.
“I’m feeling better now than I did last week and during the game,” he said. “As the game progressed, I started feeling a little bit more comfortable. Now I feel more comfortable than I did that night.”
And safety’s a big old comfy chair for the third-year man from Northern California.
“See the football,” he said, not ordering me to do some remote pigskin viewing but rather stating in the imperative what he likes most about the spot. “I feel like — I know — I’m a ballhawk. I will go to the football. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know where it comes from, but if the football’s around me, I’m going to try to go get it.
“The corner and dime kind of stuff, I can do it, but I don’t feel it’s my strong suit. That’s not to say I can’t go out there and do it, that’s not to say my mind changes any different from going out and executing whatever I need to execute. This is just how I feel as a player.”
I told Dwight many fans have said for a while that Lowery and safety would be a good fit. He smiled.
“I’m glad they’re optimistic. I appreciate it,” he said. “I feel the same way.”
Ryan read the final epitaph on the ball burial ceremony at today’s news conference. Told that he’s been accused of the ludicrous charge of stealing the motivational trick from Bill Belichick, the Jets head coach could only chuckle.
“I admit it, I steal from everybody,” he said with a smile. “The football deal is something that’s been done in this league, something I thought was definitely appropriate at the time. I’ve got to give my dad [Buddy] credit on that. He probably did those 100 years ago in high school. I talked with him after the game and he’s the one that gave the idea.
“It’s funny. I give Belichick more credit than anybody, and he did do that,” Rex said about the Patriots coach presiding over a pigskin dirt nap every once in a while. “My brother mentioned that as well. But he’s not who I stole it from. I stole it from my dad, who probably stole it from Pop Warner.”
For the Jets, Ihedigbo and T Damien Woody (knee) remained as DNPs today, but RBs LaDainian Tomlinson and Tony Richardson, who sat out Wednesday’s activities for non-injury reasons, returned to full participation.
There are thus seven Jets listed as “full practice,” including T D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who jolted a shoulder at today’s practice.
“We got our scout team going hard, and he just kind of went to finish his block, fell and jammed his shoulder a little bit,” Ryan said. “But he practiced full. He’s going to be fine.”
The Dolphins’ I-report lists the same seven players as yesterday, with T Vernon Carey (knee) and WR Brian Hartline (finger) not practicing. Added to the list was S Sean Smith (ankle), who practiced full.
Tags: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Dwight Lowery, James Ihedigbo, Jim Leonhard, Miami Dolphins, Rex Ryan
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