Jacoby Ford spent this offseason at the beach in Florida, but it wasn't to relax. Credit: Getty Images
Jets wide receiver Jacoby Ford made sure to hit the beach at least twice a week this offseason, but it wasn't to catch some sunshine or check out the beach bodies. He was there for a workout.
Ford missed the entirety of the Raiders' 2012 season with a Lisfranc injury to his foot, an injury he said is now fully healed. But despite playing in 14 games last year, he made just one start and had a career-low 13 receptions. Interest in him on the free agent market was relatively low this offseason as teams worried about the injury from two years ago.
So the speedy wide receiver set about this offseason to add muscle and become more explosive again in an effort to return to his playmaking ways.
He turned to beach workouts in Florida in an effort to up his resistance training.
Ford would meet with trainer Tony Villani of XPE Sports twice a week in the late afternoon. The sessions were only 36 minutes but they were grueling. He would go through positional drills, often barefoot in the sand, being forced to run and cut, make lateral movements and straightline bursts. He'd run routes; he'd make catches. Everything was timed to focus on explosiveness.
“You really do feel it. You get stronger with workouts like that,” Ford told Metro New York. “Running in the sand is so much more difficult. You really have to push off, really have to use and engage the muscles. Being forced to do that, you feel your muscles working. At the end, you're just like, 'Man, I'm tired.' It works everything. When you run in the sand — run routes and stuff — you really have to work.”
The late afternoon session would often be after a morning session which involved a ShredMill, a piece of equipment tantamount to a torture device.
The ShredMill is basically a treadmill with no motor, which only moves if the runner is actually moving.
Since it is self-powered, the end result is an incredibly intense workout. When coupled with twice-a-week beach workouts, it is no wonder Ford came into organized team activities in what he considers to be the best shape of his life.
He says he added “six to seven pounds of muscle” this offseason and trimmed down his overall body fat. He currently tips the scale at 188 pounds, a couple pounds lighter than his weight at training camp in Oakland last year.
"Jacoby's top speed is amazing, so on the beach he mostly works on staying light on his feet and accelerating out of his breaks,” Villani said. “Being able to go against the top defensive backs in the NFL also helps him gauge how his agility is matching up.”
Jacoby Ford took part in beach workouts to improve his explosiveness on the field. Credit: Courtesy Tony Villani
Ford worked alongside wide receivers such as Anquan Boldin and Pierre Garcon and squared off against defensive backs Eric Berry and Stephon Gilmore.
The benefit of his beach workouts, he says, played a large part in him adding muscle. In addition, working out on the sand creates instability and causes the muscles to respond and react in different ways, creating more agility and strength.
As far as where the Jets plan to use him, Ford is uncertain. He sees a possible role on special teams and as a wide receiver “where I can do things if I get the ball in my hands.”
During his rookie year in 2010, he averaged 18.8 yards per catch and the next year had 14.7 yards per catch. While the injury in 2012 slowed him down, he says that isn't the case anymore.
The spring before he was drafted, he was the ACC champion for the Clemson track team in the 60 meters and 100 meters. That same year, he nearly set the NCAA championship record for the 60 meters. He was one one-hundreth of a second off the mark.
At the NFL Combine in 2010, he ran a 4.28-second 40-yard dash, a laser time he “still think[s] isn't right.”
But after an offseason where he got stronger, he said he also got faster.
“If I had to run it again, I'd say I'd be in the low 4.2 area,” Ford said. “If that means 4.22 or 4.21 or 4.2, I don't know. But I know I'm faster now. I'm also stronger too.”