McGraw Not Backing Down

Coming off a rookie year in which he started only one game, second year safety Jon McGraw, is looking forward to meeting this year's challenge of being a starter.

Last year the Jets starting free-safety position was occupied by Damien Robinson. Robinson was cut in the off season to make way for McGraw, a former second round pick, number 57 overall out of Kansas State.

The Jets play in a base cover two defense, which Herman Edwards brought over to New York, from his time in Tampa Bay, while assisting under former Bucs, and current Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy.

McGraw often draws comparisons to Tampa Bay safety John Lynch. "To be compared to John Lynch, is a real honor. If I could do what he's done in his career that would be great," McGraw said. "I will never get tired of that comparison."

McGraw feels that being able to be a back up Robinson last season, and learn the Jets defense for a year as a reserve was a good learning experience and prepared him more for this upcoming season. This experience prepared him to take on the starting job.

"Last year I got valuable playing time," he said. "The experience will prepare me for this year."

McGraw's high point of last year came in Week 13. With 1:39 remaining in the game, he intercepted a pass thrown from Brian Griese, on the two-yard line. The interception-helped seal the Jets 19-13 win, and preserve their dramatic playoff push.

Edwards says the key to success for McGraw is just letting loose. Edwards believes that successful NFL players are the ones that don't think too much while on the field, and know when to react. Edwards feels that McGraw is a talented athlete, and once he lets these qualities show he will be fine.

"The more he (McGraw) lets himself go, that is when you will see him make alot of plays," he said. "He can run, he can tackle, eventually he will be one of the leaders on this team."

Being a leader is one quality McGraw will not shy away from. But before he takes a verbal leadership role in the locker room, and on the field, McGraw feels he must first prove himself to his coaches and teammates.

"I see myself needing to prove myself by my play," he said. "Before you can lead verbally you must lead by your play. If I can step up my play, then I can become more of a verbal leader."

McGraw was originally a walk on wide receiver at Kansas State. While at Kansas State McGraw recorded 184 tackles, with three sacks. He deflected 17 passes, and had nine interceptions on his career.

… NOTES During practice this morning Chad Pennington and Curtis Conway looked very much on the same page. These two have really been developing a nice chemistry all camp.

… Expect the Jets to use more two tight end sets this season. The Jets will use these sets to maximize blockers in their running game. The Jets have two very capable tight ends in former first round pick Anthony Becht, and former third round selection Chris Baker. "A bunch of our offensive sets contain two tight end sets," said Anthony Becht. "Now we can bring these sets out and use them to help out our running game. It will keep the opposing defenses off balance."

Khary Campbell was starting at weak side linebacker this morning. Sam Cowart the regular starter had the morning off. Campbell had an interception off of Chad Pennington. The pass was intended for Wayne Chrebet.

… Edwards's goals for his football team during their scrimmage against the Bucs in Tokyo are to get a look at their younger players, and for the team as a whole to play physical football. "Our starters will play a little bit," said Edwards. "Then our younger guys will come in so we can see them."

"I want our football team to play physical football."

Chester McGlockton will not make the trip to Japan with his teammates. Rather he will stay behind and work on his conditioning. Once camp resumes after the trip, expect McGlockton to see his first action in pads this season.


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