After a preseason Achilles' tear that knocked him out of the entire 2010 season, Ropati Pitoitua said that he's back to full health and eager to make an impact this season.
"I feel great," he said today at the Jets training facility in Florham Park. "I'm close to where I need to be at. Everything is on schedule."
Asked if he was 100 percent, he said: "I feel like I am."
The DE signed with the Jets in 2008 and played in eight games in 2009 before tearing his Achilles in a preaseason game against the Panthers in 2010. The year off took its toll, Pitoitua said, adding that "there's still some stuff I have to work on a little bit...leverage, steps, the little stuff like that."
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said that he's seen encouraging things out of Pitoitua, adding that head trainer John Melody was able to keep tabs on him during the lockout through a third party and felt that Pitoitua was "a full go."
"He looks great," Pettine said, adding that Pitoitua will likely see his fair share of playing time. "[Melody] was able to monitor his progress and he's doing well. I think it's a lot to as Muhammad [Wilkerson] to take every snap as a rookie. [And] I think this defensive line prides itself on being no-names. They call themselves the journeymen."
Pitoitua was sanguine, both on being set back by the injury and by having a rookie in front of him.
"He's doing a good job out there," he said of Wilkerson. "The only thing I can do right now is get ready...Any injury is hard for a player, emotionally and physically. You just have to get yourself ready."