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Rex Ryan thought Chris Ivory would be further along

Forget the Wildcat jokes.

So much of what the New York Jets hope to accomplish on offense requires a healthy and reliable Chris Ivory in the backfield. Acquired in an April trade with the New Orleans Saints, Ivory instantly looms as Gang Green's most physical running back, but he can't get on the field.

One day after Ivory's troubled hamstring tightened in practice, Jets coach Rex Ryan told reporters Thursday: "I hope to get him out there soon. I thought it would be progressing a little bit better than it has."

Hamstring issues have nagged Ivory before. During his first three seasons with the Saints, Ivory also missed time with knee, foot, groin, shoulder and concussion issues. In his absence, Jets backs Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell have failed to impress.

Heath Evans watched New York practice Thursday and told NFL Network, "It lacked intensity," while saying, "The run drills were lackadaisical at best, in my opinion."

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Ivory -- when healthy -- is a hard-charging runner who can wear down a defense. We made him one of our Making the Leap candidates for his style of play and the opportunity before him in New York. But it goes beyond Ivory's personal career arc: If he can't be counted on, the Jets' already compromised offense figures to suffer in the AFC East.

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