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Alexander gives Jets D ‘Coke with something in it’

New York Jets linebacker Kwon Alexander speaks to reporters at the team's NFL football training facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Dennis Waszak Jr.)

New York Jets linebacker Kwon Alexander speaks to reporters at the team's NFL football training facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Dennis Waszak Jr.)

New York Jets linebacker Kwon Alexander speaks to reporters at the team's NFL football training facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Dennis Waszak Jr.)

NY Jets linebacker Kwon Alexander speaks to reporters at the team’s NFL football training facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Dennis Waszak Jr.)

NY Jets linebacker Kwon Alexander speaks to reporters at the team’s NFL football training facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Dennis Waszak Jr.)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Kwon Alexander flew round the field in his first practice with the brand new York Jets, making plays and popping pads.

It felt legendary, man, the veteran linebacker said with a smile Monday.

Also it was certainly a good first impression for Alexander, who had his coaches raving about him.

Hes awesome, defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich gushed. Hes got this infectious energy about himself, hes got an advantage to him. Hes got the opportunity to elevate people around him.

So to obtain that kind of person in the building rocks !. It’ll make us better used. It’ll make us better in meetings. Itll make us ultimately better on Sundays.

Ulbrich was then asked if the Jets were lacking the kind of hard-nosed approach Alexander provides on defense. He found an innovative solution to describe the signing last Friday of the tenacious and ultra-competitive linebacker, utilizing a beverage comparison that drew some laughs.

I dont know if it had been necessarily missing, but its always good to include that, Ulbrich said. The more guys you have like that, the higher. I usually say, like, Coke is actually good, you understand? But Coke with something inside it is better still, right? Guess what happens Im saying?

Quite simply, Alexander adds just a little twist to the defense. And being on the field again was a refreshing feeling.

To be back under my feet, to be on the market with the team, Alexander said, I enjoyed it.

Also it showed.

In the Jets first padded practice of training camp, it had been, well, the wrath of Kwon as Alexander made his presence felt and heard. He slammed into Ty Johnson to avoid the running back at the target line using one play. Alexander later stood up rookie running back Zonovan Knight to create off some big cheers from the defense.

He did what Kwon does and ensured that another side of the ball knew about any of it, coach Robert Saleh said. He brought everybody alive.

That came after Saleh wasnt expecting Alexander to stay practice-ready shape physically and mentally so immediately after being signed. Newly signed players as a rule have an extended acclimation period.

These were wondering, was I likely to prepare yourself, and I did so all of the drills and stuff, a smiling Alexander said. I told them to ramp it up a bit more. I was all set.

Alexander spent last season and section of 2020 with New Orleans after 1 1/2 years in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA with Saleh as his defensive coordinator. A fourth-round pick by Tampa Bay out of LSU in 2015, Alexander made an expert Bowl in the 3rd of his four seasons with the Buccaneers.

With the Jets, he involves a familiar defensive scheme and his capability to play different spots at linebacker made him a stylish target for NY. Alexander, who also spoke to the Saints and Giants, remained an unsigned free agent until the other day despite his playmaking ability and reputation as a leader. But he isnt necessarily using that as added motivation.

Ive got a chip on my shoulder each and every time I turn out there on the field, he said. I play the role of the best I could be. For me personally, Ive just surely got to progress. Once I progress, its likely to be hard to avoid me. Thats what Im prepared to do.

And the Jets and a lot of their fans will certainly drink compared to that.

Everybody brought me here with open arms, Alexander said, and I really like them for that.

NOTES: RB Tevin Coleman (non-COVID illness) did some running privately during practice and Saleh said hes near being activated from the non-football injury list. We ought to get him back this week, Saleh said. Hopefully earlier than later. … LT George Fant continues to be being held out of team drills as he continues his comeback from offseason arthroscopic knee surgery.

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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