Gerald Alexander says it’s really great to be here as the newest member of the Jets. He says it for several reasons.
One is it’s great to be employed anywhere. Even in the NFL, especially in the NFL, jobs can be hard to come by.
“It’s just about opportunity. That’s the way it is in this league, being able to take advantage of any opportunity that you get,” said Alexander, who in the wake of Jim Leonhard’s season-ending knee injury has moved in behind Eric Smith, Brodney Pool and Tracy Wilson as the Jets’ fourth safety. “Sometimes the odds of that opportunity may be stacked against you. But this is a blessing to be on this team. I feel honored to be on this team.”
That’s because, being in his fifth season as an NFL player and having made stops with four teams, including AFC opponents Miami and Jacksonville, he’s noticed the Jets and has always liked the cut of their jib.
“This is a team I’ve always wanted to be a part of, just for the way they play, the way they coach,” he said. “I really love the ‘Play Like a Jet’ mentality. I love what it’s all about.”
And that extends to the Rex Ryan/Mike Pettine defensive scheme, which he said after his first two days doing a speed-learning course on it is a little more complex than others he’s known.
“I feel like I know football. I’m really a student of the game,” he said. “It’s fun for me to learn this information from scratch, especially at the fast pace I have to learn. … I want to be a coach when I’m done playing. I’m honored to be able to learn this defense, especially from guys like Mike and Rex.”
Alexander’s even got a former Boise State teammate in the Jets secondary with him. That, of course, would be corner Kyle Wilson, who was a “young pup” in his first two years at Boise while Alexander was in his last two. Now Kyle’s the experienced guy at the door greeting the young Jets pup in a manner of speaking.
“As a player, Gerald was always around the ball,” Wilson recalled. “Just coming in, I respected him right away. He was a three- or four-year starter. He did a lot of things right. I admired his work ethic and attention to detail.”
One last reason Alexander likes the lie of the land here at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center is because he’s already been greeted warmly by Jets Nation.
“I’m very active on Twitter,” said Alexander. “I talk to fans, I conversant, I tell jokes. People can really see the person I am off the field. And the love I got from the Jets fans was unbelievable: ‘Welcome, we’re happy you’re part of it.’ The love I got from Jets fans was unlike any other team I’ve been with.”
He said he knows where the fans, even the feisty ones, are coming from because he was once in that place himself growing up in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
“I was once a diehard Raiders fans,” he said. “I know what it’s like to have your emotions attached to Sunday, and to not be able to watch TV for the rest of the week when your team loses. You don’t want to see highlights, you don’t want to hear anything.”
Now his goal is to help the Jets be on the winning end Sunday for their game at Philadelphia. Rex Ryan wasn’t committing to Alexander being in uniform on Lincoln Financial Field just yet. But Alexander said he’s ready for the call if it comes.
“I’m going to make sure I’m mentally prepared to play,” he said. “It’s going to be a crash course, definitely. If they feel confident with me on the field with the information I know, then I’ll be ready to go.”
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Michael Vick brings out the lyrical best in opponents. Ryan was asked if the Eagles QB was as elusive as the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger.
“Ben escapes much differently than Vick does,” Ryan said. “Vick’s more of a make-you-miss-in-space guy. Ben’s more of a shake-you-off guy. They both make plays.”
LB Aaron Maybin was describing how he and the Jets need to approach Vick in the pocket Sunday. He was asked if Vick is almost like a soccer penalty kick, where the defender has to play goalie and guess which way the QB is going to go. Maybin said no, you can’t guess and play tentative against a player with Vick’s quacks.
“Guys like Vick make overaggressive people look foolish,” quota Mayhem. “But he makes hesitant people look stupid.”
Somewhere between stupid and foolish, hesitant and overaggressive, is the path to stopping Vick in his tracks.
The Jets’ injury list changed little today, but the one move as expected was that G Brandon Moore, who didn’t practiced Wednesday, was limited today. “And he’ll be full tomorrow,” Ryan said. CB Marquice Cole (knee) was the only Jet who didn’t practice and Ryan termed him “very questionable” for the Eagles. S Eric Smith, DT Mike DeVito and DL Marcus Dixon remained limited for team drills.
The only Eagle not practicing today was DE Darryl Tapp (ribs). T Todd Herremans (ankle) and DT Cullen Jenkins (groin) were both limited in team drills, while Vick (ribs) and WR Jeremy Maclin (hamstring/shoulder) both were full-go.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Boise State, Gerald Alexander, Kyle Wilson, Michael Vick, Mike Pettine, Philadelphia Eagles, Rex Ryan
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