Insider Thursday Team Report
Harris upgraded to limited activity in Thursday’s workout.
Jets linebacker David Harris, the leading tackler on the number one-ranked defense in the National Football League, stepped on the practice field for the Jets in their final practice before their AFC Wildcard playoff matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday.
It was a small step on the road to recovery for Harris, who sustained an ankle injury in Sunday’s victory over the Bengals. He was only limited in practice today, getting out there pretty much to test the ankle and gauge how much mobility he’s currently working with. But it’s a step in the right direction, leaving both the Jets and #52 optimistic he’ll be able to go on Saturday.
“David wasn’t full go by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it’s an encouraging sign, the fact that he was able to get out there and do something,” head coach Rex Ryan said of his impact linebacker.
“It’s getting better,” Harris said of his bum wheel. “I’ve been up here all day getting treament, getting rehab and doing everything I can to get back on the field. Hopefully I’ll be fine by Saturday. It’s real frustrating to get hurt the last game of the regular season. It’s the biggest game of my career so far. It’s been tough on me this week, but I’ve been doing everything I can to get back and be out there with my teammates.”
If Harris isn’t able to go, it will certainly be a major loss for Gang Green’s defense as they look to keep their momentum going into the postseason. Harris is one of the most underrated defensive players in the game – the fact he will not be on the AFC Pro Bowl roster has to leave you scratching your head if you’ve watched this team at all this season. He’s a tackling machine, totaling 127 tackles and 5.5 sacks. You don’t just find players like walking the streets.
The Jets do have suitable backups in Kenwin Cummings and Jamaal Westerman to name a few, but none will have the impact Harris could have on this game. His importance to this defense cannot be measured, and his absence could potentially be a major blow to Gang Green’s D. The fact he made it on the field today is a good sign, but his status for the game is still up in the air.
Cornerback Donald Strickland was also limited in practice with a lingering quad injury, and Braylon Edwards (elbow), Jerricho Cotchery (hip), Shaun Ellis (knee) Ryan Fowler (head) James Ihedigbo (neck) Thomas Jones (knee) Mark Sanchez (knee) and Steve Weatherford (hamstring) all participated fully in practice and are set to go for Gang Green Saturday.
A CURIOUS CHOICE
The Jets practiced inside today, an interesting decision given the frigid conditions expected during Saturday’s matchup. The question was posed to Coach Ryan as to why he decided to hold the team’s final workout indoors, and the head man offered some insight into his call.
“I’m not a superstitious guy, but I’m not stupid either,” he said. “We did the exact same thing last week. I just feel like we have better attention to detail in there, we can pump the music in the there and get it really loud, so the communication has to really be spot on. We had a really good practice today.”
FERGUSON WINS MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
The Jets have announced their 2009 recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is none other than #60, left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
Through his D’Brichashaw Ferguson Foundation and the New York Jets Community Relations Department, Ferguson has impacted many lives throughout the tri-state area. As the award winner, #60 will receive $1,000 dollars to donate to his foundation. He is now eligible to win the national Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which will be awarded during the week of the Super Bowl in Miami.
Kickoff for the big game is scheduled for 4:30 PM Eastern Time. You can catch all the action on NBC.