All kinds of people find their ways onto NFL rosters for the training camp season. They’re all physically and mentally tough enough, they all have their stories to tell. But some just seem to have an overflow of that necessary football mindset.
Guys from Texas, I’ve found, are often like that. They’ve been steeped in the traditions of the game from just after they learned to walk. They’ve played the game at a high level in high school and then college. But now some find themselves in the pros and realize it’s a brand new world, there are new jobs to be won and goals to be accomplished, and it’s just time to tighten the chinstrap, go to work and get ‘er done.
Terrance Ganaway strikes me as one of those guys.
Ganaway was a decorated player at DeKalb High, rushing for 6,587 career yards that at the time was the 26th-most in Texas prep history. Then he built his college career to a peak with last year’s 1,547-yard, 21-touchdown senior finale for Baylor. The Jets drafted him in the sixth round in April.
He’s in the middle of training camp now, and perhaps the biggest thing on his mind at the moment is … fullback.
When was the last time he played fullback?
“Never. Never,” Ganaway told me evenly. “I just know that fullback is a different breed of man. I’ve really got to get my mind mentally prepared for that. But at the end of the day it’s just football, man. We’ve been playing this game in pads since we first started. It’s just a part of the game.”
Ganaway is a bigger bopper of a running back similar to Shonn Greene’s build and style — an “A” back, in coordinator Tony Sparano’s parlance. He said he’s at 235 pounds now. He’s taking reps at tailback but with Josh Baker’s broken nose and Sparano’s search for versatility and depth behind John Conner, Ganaway lately has been getting reps at fullback as well.
Does he view the position addition as a minus? Absolutely not.
“I just think of it as me being that much more valuable to the team,” he told my partner, Eric Allen, as we double-teamed him for newyorkjets.com. “For me, special teams is a real big thing, then second fullback on the team, third or fourth running back on the team — I think that’s a travel guy. I don’t know, I’m not in the office calling all those shots, but I want to be the most marketable player that I can be on this team and fullback helps me do that.”
“Terrance did a nice job in there, so that was good,” head coach Rex Ryan said of Ganaway’s FB baptism. “He’s a funny guy and a great guy to be around. He’s always smiling. He’s about as positive of a person as you can think of and a tough guy. He’s going to win. He’s a competitor and those are the guys you want to hand the ball to. That just gives us two more options and it’s great for us.”
Tough guy? It exudes from Ganaway’s pores. EA asked him about putting the pads on for the first time on Sunday.
“It’s real nice to get on the pads,” he said. “You get to feel who’s really wanting to play football and who’s just wanting to be a T-shirt guy. I think I really want to play football.”
I asked Ganaway if he’s got enough time to learn the new position as well as he knows his primary position and add it to his repertoire so he becomes a member of the Jets’ travel team.
“I don’t have time. Time is not on my side,” he said. “I’ve just got to get in there and learn the plays. I’m not worried about doing something that I’m not able to do because I feel like I’m talented enough, smart enough and physical enough to play football. I’ve just got to learn the offense from the fullback and running back perspectives and I’ll be good to go.”
It’s been done before, but to see LaRon Landry do it adds an extra small chapter to the book on the Jets’ safety as a tough, driven, physical defender. No. 30 missed an interception that he felt he should have had in Sunday’s practice. As a result, on the hottest morning so far at SUNY Cortland, Landry performed an on-field penance — pushups — before heading to the sideline. I didn’t count them but it seemed as if he might have done 30 of them.
There was no camp practice today, with the Jets players getting their first mandated day off under the new CBA rules. They’ll return for padded practices Wednesday and Thursday (open to the public) and Friday (closed) before turning up the juice just a bit for the Green & White practice on Saturday evening, followed by their next day off on Sunday.
Tags: John Conner, Josh Baker, Rex Ryan, SUNY Cortland, Terrance Ganaway, training camp
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