CORTLAND, N.Y. - Jason Babin cautions that it may take him some time to get up to speed with the Jets' defense.
"When you come out here in a situation like this and you see these guys making their calls, making their checks, I'm still learning their names, learning numbers," the newly signed defensive end said after his first training camp practice on Friday. "It's like a well-oiled machine. This is the way it's supposed to be."
The Jets hope Babin, who led the NFL with 18 sacks in 2011, can add to a pass rush that has never been truly dominant during coach Rex Ryan's five seasons. Babin agreed to a two-year deal on Wednesday, although he delayed his arrival on the practice field by a day because he was "cleaning up some things back home." He declined to be more specific but seemed eager to help his new team.
"I love the game. I love to play football," said Babin, who played in 2011 and 2012 with the Eagles before being released by Philadelphia late in 2012. He was claimed by the Jaguars, playing in Jacksonville through the 2013 season. The Jaguars released him in June.
Ryan said he believes Babin still has plenty left, even at age 34, to help his team.
"The first thing that jumps out about Babin is obviously the production he's had throughout his career as a pass rusher," said Ryan, referring to Babin's 62½ career sacks. He had a combined 44½ sacks from 2010-13. "He has a relentless motor. The way he'll fit in with the guys we already have will give us great depth. We brought this guy in to contribute. We know we have a proven commodity there. I know he's 34 years old, but quite honestly, if he was 30, we wouldn't have seen him. He would have [stayed] where he was. He still plays like a young man. I've always been a fan of his."
Babin has been most effective as a defensive end in a traditional 4-3 defense, but he may be used some as an outside linebacker in Ryan's 3-4 defense. Ryan said Babin will mostly be used as a pass rusher, which means the coach will likely figure out some schemes using Babin as part of a four-man front.
"I had a lot of work early in my career standing up , so whatever is needed from me, we'll get it done," Babin said. "For me, right now, my only focus is to learn this defense and just to get better every day."
Babin was a first-round pick of the Texans in 2004, and was traded to Seattle in 2007. He played with Kansas City in 2008 and joined the Eagles as a free agent in 2009 before signing with Tennessee in 2010. It was that 2010 season when he established himself as a premier pass rusher with 12½ sacks. He led the NFL the following season with a career-high 18 sacks with the Eagles.