Summertime and the living is queasy. If you’re a new NFL player on the training camp bubble, that is.
Everyone’s got a great story of determination, toughness and character. But not everyone’s dreams will be realized, due to the nature of the beast, mostly due to the relentlessly grinding nature of summer competition.
But some players have a little better chance of survival than others. Jets linebacker Garrett McIntyre may well be one of those guys.
McIntyre’s got the mindset. “When opportunities arise in this game,” he told me this week, ‘you have to take advantage of them if you want to keep going forward. If you don’t do that, you won’t keep going and you’ll have to find a real job.”
He’s got the decals on his luggage that bear testimony to how that philosophy was forged: Fresno State to NFL visits with Seattle, Arizona and Tennessee, then on to San Jose for two years of Arena League ball, then to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, for two more years in the CFL.
And now he’s got the coaches’ eyes. McIntyre, signed by the Jets to a reserve/future contract in February, is now lining up on the outside of the Jets’ second defense and applying some much-welcome pass-rush pressure during the first week of training camp practices.
He’s caught Rex Ryan’s attention, for instance. Back on Aug. 2, the second day of camp, Ryan said:
“We have this young guy, I don’t want to build him up too much, the Canadian kid we got. Number 50. He’s a relentless guy. He’s one of those guys who is a pain to block.
Then Monday, the head coach could put a name to that number:
“McIntyre, from Canada through Fresno — he’s been a guy who has jumped out as well.”
“Yeah, it is a good feeling to hear that,” McIntyre said. “It makes me want to come in and work harder, actually. When I spoke to him on the phone early in the offseason, he said, ‘If you come in here in shape and ready to go, you’re going to get an opportunity.’ He kept his word.”
McIntyre’s progress with his opportunities has been as relentless as his pressure. The 6’3″, 255-pounder walked on at Fresno, played as a 17-year-old true freshman due to injuries and got a sack in his third game. “After that game the coach said, ‘Yeah, I think we’re going to put you on scholarship.’ ” Four years later, he was the WAC’s Defensive Player of the Year.
In his Arena stay, he played with the SaberCats and won the last AFL title before the league suspended operations for two years. In his Canadian incarnation, he had a strong 2010 season in which he tied for fifth in the CFL with eight sacks and tied for first with four forced fumbles.
“I didn’t get any love for that,” McIntyre chuckled about the FFs. “I felt maybe I should’ve gotten an all-star bid, but we had a lot of good pass rushers in the East, so it was hard for me to make that team. But I rushed from every position. I’d like to think I’m a universal pass rusher.”
And now he thanks the Jets for giving him “another shot down here” in the U.S. And Jets fans should get a chance to see McIntyre take advantage of his latest football opportunity perhaps as soon as Monday night in the preseason opener in Houston.
Ryan said RB Joe McKnight has a slight ankle injury and “I don’t think he’ll be going through ‘team’ today.” … Rex also said CB Donald Strickland “got kicked in the calf yesterday and got stepped on. It’s probably something to him, but nah, that’s nothing. … And Ryan said of G Brandon Moore, who started camp on PUP due to hip rehab, “I would expect him to be out there soon.”
But not today due to the rain that’s already falling on the North Jersey area around Jets camp. As stated on the Radar earlier, practice is closed to the public today. Punters, kickers and snappers are outside on the turf field right now but the rest of the team is in the fieldhouse.
Brad Smith’s not around to run the Seminole/Wildcat anymore, but that doesn’t mean the package of plays is going away. Ryan cited three players who can run it this year. “I think LT [LaDainian Tomlinson], he’s thrown TDs — all you’ve got to do is ask my brother because he threw a bunch against him. Joe [McKnight] is an explosive athlete like Brad and I think he’d be good in that role. And [rookie Jeremy] Kerley’s done it in college.” Rex did not say how often we’d see any of those waiting for the shotgun snap from Nick Mangold.
Rob Ryan, now Dallas’ coordinator, was Oakland’s DC when Tomlinson threw one TD for the Chargers in ’05 and another in ’06. In all LT has an impeccable passing record: 8-for-12 for 143 yards, 7 TDs, 0 INTs, one sack for 1 yard, and a 146.9 passer rating.
Depth Chart Live
We know fans love a complete depth chart, but as usual we didn’t have a DC to post until this week, the week leading up the Texans game. Now that depth chart is live and you can find it here. The depth chart is also included in the game notes package that the media relations department distributes to reporters and that we make available on our site. That package should be available soon in the Game Center area of newyorkjets.com.
Tags: Donald Strickland, Garrett McIntyre, joe McKnight, Rex Ryan
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