CORTLAND, N.Y.—It's not often that a starting NFL safety is on a ‘pitch count', but that's exactly how Rex Ryan is limiting LaRon Landry's practice time during training camp. Coming off an injured Achilles-tendon, New York's prized free agent signing is scheduled to toe the practice field just once every three days.
According to Ryan, Landry passed his conditioning test with flying colors prompting the Jets to remove him from the PUP list and allowing No. 30 to fully participate in Saturday morning's practice.
With his first practice session as a Jet under his belt, Landry took his first major step toward returning to the gridiron in top form.
"I'm always optimistic," declared Landry. "I always strive for perfection. I'm giving it all I got. I give one-hundred percent each and every day. I don't doubt myself, I don't compete with myself, and it's all about being ready."
New York's coaching staff is exercising caution with Landry—who damaged his Achilles heel the past two seasons—to avoid any possible setbacks and ready him for the regular season.
The Jets will begin full-contact drills on Sunday without Landry, but the burly safety plans to stay focused whether he's on the sidelines or in the foxhole with his teammates.
"You always got to stay in it," noted Landry. "Even if you're on the sideline you've got to be mentally into it. That's what I'm doing and I'm constantly in my playbook throughout the day. I'm always asking questions to the veteran guys and even the rookies, all those guys are working with me."
Landry joins a Jets' secondary that boasted the NFL's No. 5 ranked pass defense surrendering just 201 yards per contest through the air last season.
"They already were a great secondary," admitted Landry." I'm just trying to fit in and give them an extra addition."
Even with a top flight secondary, New York's front office made upgrading the safety position a top offseason priority by adding Landry and ninth-year veteran Yeremiah Bell during free agency.
With defensive signal caller Jim Leonhard likely playing elsewhere this upcoming season, Gang Green is counting on both Landry and Bell to be outspoken and help lead the secondary.
"You have to be vocal," said Landry. "Just being a safety you have to relay it from the corners on down to the linebackers. "Being vocal is what we're all about. That's the only way you can be on the same page as a secondary so you don't have any busts. Even though you make a wrong call at least everybody is on the same page."
When healthy, Landry is one of the NFL's most dynamic and physically imposing safeties. The former Redskin was highly coveted by Ryan and his defensive coaching staff during free agency and it appears Landry is pleased with his landing spot.
"I've been following coach Rex for a while," noted Landry. "My brother played with him in Baltimore, so I've always been a fan of that defense. I'm excited to be here right now and to be a Jet."