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LaRon Landry 'shocked' by progress of heel rehab

With LaRon Landry, the New York Jets took a calculated risk.

Getting quality play at safety is extremely important in the AFC East. If you can't cover Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, it's unlikely you'll ever knock the New England Patriots off the top perch in the division.

The Jets were burned last season when Jim Leonhard went on injured reserve for the second straight season and they were unable to adequately replace him. They responded by letting Leonhard walk in free agency and signing Landry, who has seen his career hampered in recent years by a lingering Achilles' tendon issue.

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Landry is a hard hitter with a mean attitude, a perfect fit for Rex Ryan's defense. It's quite possible he can return to being the Pro Bowl player he was with the Washington Redskins if installed into the right scheme. But can he stay healthy?

Landry finally met with his Jets teammates this week. He's been working with his own team to treat a heel injury he says is unrelated to the Achilles issue. Ryan said in his Wednesday press conference that Landry is coming along well.

"LaRon is way ahead of where our trainers thought he'd be," Ryan said via the Jets' official team site. "He thought it was best he work out with people who are very familiar with him, and you kind of worry about that a little bit. But it's a real positive that he's come back and he's obviously done a lot of work there. You saw him running in the back of the end zone.

"We've just got to be smart the next couple of days that he doesn't overdo things. He's on the right track and we feel good about it."

Landry painted a positive picture as well.

"I'm progressing and things are looking real well -- I was kind of shocked myself," said Landry, whose recovery process has included the platelet-rich plasma transfusions used by Tiger Woods and others. "I can't wait to get back out there and be with the team."

The Jets also signed Yeremiah Bell in the offseason to play with holdover Eric Smith, so the team is not completely dependent on Landry in the secondary. Considering his recent history, that's a good thing.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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