An encouraging tweet was sent out today by New York Jets safety Jim Leonhard, “Great 1st workout today. 2 miles, 13:30 min, 5% Incline. Guess who’s getting healthy.”
We have heard all off-season that Leonhard is ahead of the process in rehab from his season ending injury of a broken tibia and it continues to sound like he will be 100 percent when the 2011 season starts (whenever that will be). Despite not putting up big stats, Leonhard is an integral part of the Jets defense who serves as the quarterback for their secondary. To this day, Rex Ryan still blames a big chunk of the Jets 45-3 loss to the New England Patriots this past year on Leonhard getting hurt the Friday before in practice.
His knowledge of the defense and ability to shift calls, along with move around the formation is a key part of how the Jets defense attacks. It will provide a major lift to their secondary when he returns this season, regardless who is starting opposite him.
Despite his reliability, Rex Ryan has made the right decision by saying he will keep Leonhard off punt returns this year. He is too valuable to the defense to risk getting hurt on a return and beyond that the Jets have plenty of other options, including Jerricho Cotchery, Kyle Wilson, and Jeremy Kerley to put deep.