FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The second-stringer sprained a knee on Sunday and the first-stringer strained his groin Monday. So Trevor Reilly has been moving up the Jets' depth chart at strong-side linebacker, rising and shining.

If Calvin Pace can't go -- he has been day-to-day after suffering the groin injury -- then Reilly is expected to start Saturday night's preseason game against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

"He's got a high motor," coach Todd Bowles said. "He's very intense. He's a reckless player. Very smart player. So I'd like to see more of him."

Pace said he doesn't foresee his problem "being a long-term thing. It's not so much pain, just a little soreness."

Third-round pick Lorenzo Mauldin's injured knee will keep him out at least this week. So the Giants game is a giant opportunity for Reilly, a second-year pro who was third on the depth chart, to show he not only belongs in the final 53 but can be a real contributor.

"I'm not sure if Calvin is going to play, but if he plays, I'll still probably get some time," Reilly said after his final training camp practice Thursday. "I've got to go out there and make plays."

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Reilly arrived as a seventh-rounder on the John Idzik/Rex Ryan watch.

"Internally, you always think, 'Well, those were the guys that brought me in, the previous group,' '' Reilly said. "But [the new regime] made it very clear to us that we all were going to start with a clean slate and they wanted to play the best players. So I just trust in that, in those words that they gave me, and hopefully I can have a good rest of camp and impress them enough that they'll keep me around here."

Last year he played in 14 games, making 12 tackles on special teams and 12 on defense in limited time.

But the 6-5, 245-pounder from Utah has been showing up in the big picture as a pass rusher during the preseason after studying some of the NFL's top sack guys and working on his skills, with outside linebackers coach Mark Collins providing guidance.

"I think I did a pretty good job last game [against Atlanta] getting to the quarterback and getting in his face," Reilly said. "I was really close on a couple of plays. Going into this game, I want to do the same thing."