The Jets offense received a boost on Monday as projected starting running back Chris Ivory practiced with the team for the first time this summer.
Ivory took the first two handoffs during team drills, and displayed the type of potential the Jets were hoping for when they signed him during free agency in the spring.
“He looked excellent,” Rex Ryan said during his post practice press conference. ”I mean, that’s a big, powerful man, that’s the guy we’ve been waiting for. I think every Jets fan has been looking forward to seeing this guy run and today we got to see it some. I was encouraged by it, to say the least.”
Monday was the second consecutive day that Ivory had practiced with the team. Although he hadn’t yet been cleared to participate in team drills, Ivory was upbeat after his first practice on Sunday stating that while he didn’t want to rush back he hadn’t felt soreness in his hamstring for two days.
“I’m getting better, I’m just going along with the plan,” Ivory said. “It’s always the goal to get back, when I get back I want to be healthy. Also when I get back I want to make sure I’m mentally sharp.”
Rex Ryan hopes Ivory will play on Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ivory’s importance was highlighted against Detroit last Friday when the team rushed for a total of 37 yards on 16 carries; a lowly 2.3 yards per carry. The Jets desperately need Ivory if they intend to have any success on the ground this season.
On the other hand, it looks like wide receiver Santonio Holmes is still a long way off returning to action. ”Right now, I can’t run,” the former Super Bowl MVP told the media in a press conference after Monday’s practice.
The veteran receiver was also coy when asked about whether he expected to be ready for the opening game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. ”I can’t really count that far ahead right now,” Holmes said.
The chances that Holmes is on the field on Week 1 are growing slimmer by the day, but head coach Rex Ryan continues to stay upbeat regarding Holmes’ rehabilitation.
“He is doing everything that we’re asking him to do and he is pushing it like crazy,” Ryan said. “He’s in phenomenal shape — that’s probably as good of shape condition-wise as you can be in.”
That’s hard to believe considering Holmes still isn’t running on his injured foot. Ryan probably made these comments as an attempt to combat a report earlier this week by ESPN New York, which questioned Holmes’ motivation to return to the team this season — he is in a contract year and any further injury may hurt his value on the open market. But, at this point it doesn’t look like we will be seeing the Jets’ starting receiver anytime soon.