A week ago, Rex Ryan led off his post-OTA news conference with some semi-humorous words for his kickers, Nick Folk and Clint Stitser, who struggled with their practice-closing field goal tries.
Today Folk responded with an impressive 4-for-4 finish to his day.
"I feel a little better today than I did the other day," the coach said. "Nick made all his kicks. I feel a little better about that."
"Oh, yeah. That’s all right," Folk said about last week’s remarks from his boss. "It’s a learning curve right now. We’re still learning, getting together and working out the kinks. It’s a slow process, but today I think we showed a great deal of confidence in our operation and it showed pretty well in the results."
There is a lot of learning to do even for the kickers at this time of year. The operation Folk talked about was Tanner Purdum snapping and punter Steve Weatherford as his holder. But Kellen Clemens also has held and Matt Mulligan has also been snapping, so there has been some adapting to different parts in the assembly line as well as to some persistent breezes at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center fields.
Needless to say, all kickers will have to deal with such contingencies during the summer and into the season. Today Folk dealt with them by laying down a four-of-a-kind. He finished the first offense’s two-minute drive with Clemens at the controls by punching through a 47-yarder for the "game-winner." Then on three final kicks, Nick was true from 33, 36 and 43.
Stitser, however, missed all three of his tries from those last three distances. No transaction was immediately announced, but Ryan said, "That young man, I don’t think he’s ready right now. Will he be ready in the future? Maybe so. Right now, we’ll move on."
Update, 6 p.m. — The Jets have announced that Stitser has been released.
One Magic Night Out
Being the big man on the Jets campus, Ryan occasionally gets to rub elbows and break bread with the greats. And recently that meant that the Jets head coach, along with owner Woody Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum, dined in New York City with Magic Johnson.
"You try to surround yourself with great people," Rex said. "At least that’s what he told me."
The occasion came about because the Jets brass met up with the former Los Angeles Lakers great at the Mayweather-Mosley fight in Las Vegas. Ryan, knowing Johnson was in New York, extended the dinner invite.
"You know it wasn’t Mike because he’s a Celtics fan," Ryan said.
Magic entered this conversation at today’s post-practice news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center because the point Rex was making in dropping one of the biggest NBA names was that his team, with its collection of talented players trying to make it all the way to the Lombardi Trophy by next February, is having some spirited sessions already, and it’s only OTA season.
"Magic was telling me about when he was on the Dream Team," Ryan said. "I asked him what those practices were like. He said they were the most intense things, the fiercest competition he’s ever been in, more than games, more than anything else, because you’re with the greatest players in the world and that’s probably why those guys were like that.
"Special guys love competing. And that’s what you see on the practice field."
Praise for the Smith Brothers
Ryan repeated his thinking at safety that if the season started tomorrow, Eric Smith would be starting alongside Jim Leonhard. But he’d like to see that change for a lot of reasons.
"We’re trying to get Brodney Pool caught up," Rex said. "Ideally, Brodney would be the starter and Eric would play his role. But Eric and Brad Smith are as valuable to our team as anybody. They’re on every special team and they can do special things on offense, in Brad’s case, and on defense, with Eric. Sometimes you start one of those guys and they play every snap and they’re not as effective in their other roles. We feel Brodney’s going to catch up and be [the starter] and we can afford to keep Eric in his role."
Jenkins Roars into the Lead
The Great Weight Chase’s next check-in is Friday morning, and Kris Jenkins is feeling feisty.
"I still have a little jiggle, but it’s going away," the big nose tackle said. "I’m a pound ahead of [Damien] Woody and five pounds ahead of Rex. I’m confident that if I don’t do anything crazy, I’ll be at 85 tomorrow."
That’s five pounds in the two weeks of the competitions, a rate that get him to his goal of being under last year’s 360 playing weight by the time training camp starts at the start of August.
Meanwhile, there’s an interim goal of 10 more pounds, which will get him on the field with his teammates instead of rehabbing from last year’s knee surgery on the sideline. "Absolutely," he said about being ready to roll for the June 14-16 full-squad minicamp. "Everything I’m doing now is just about the conditioning."
Bart Scott was a pass-defending machine at today’s practice. Early on No. 57 broke up a quick slant from Kellen Clemens to Jerricho Cotchery. Then he swatted away a Mark Sanchez 7-on-7 red zone ball for Braylon Edwards in the end zone. Finally, in 11-on-11 RZ, Scott picked off a Clemens ball for Edwards that was deflected into the air and took it the other way.
Clemens, running the first offense in team drills, had some nice rollout completions, then found Cotchery in RZ work in the end zone past rookie CB Kyle Wilson for the score. … J-Co caught another TD that got through Wilson’s hands. … Sanchez got a TD pass to J-Co over the middle vs. Dwight Lowery and another to David Clowney open on a rollout. … Kevin O’Connell worked with the second unit and hit some nice completions: skinny post to Britt Davis despite coverage in position work, TD down the middle to Larry Taylor ("the other LT"), and a down-the-middle strike to rookie TE Jeff Cumberland during his two-minute possession.
Rex on Sanchez: "He’s doing fantastic. He’s probably ahead of where we thought he’d be. Today he even snuck into a team rep. ‘Oh-oh, what’s he doing?’ ‘It’s a run.’ ‘OK.’ "
At practice today: two former Jets and current SNY Jets talkers, Greg Buttle and Ray Lucas. Lucas was impressed with LB Jason Taylor, whom, it should be remembered, Lucas not only played against as a Jet but with as a Dolphin. "Jason? He’s going to shock the world," Lucas told me. "It’d be different if I didn’t play with him in Miami. I’ve seen that work ethic. He’s going to be great. People will come around when he has seven sacks in the first half of the season.
Buttle was concerned about special teams. "Defensively, they’ll be in every game, tough vs. every team," said the one-time Green & White LB. "Offensively, they’re loaded. The only question I’d have there is the health of certain players. To me it doesn’t look like it’ll be too hard to coach the offense and defense. But it’ll be hard coaching the special teams. That’s what [Mike] Westhoff gets paid for. If I’m a Jets fan, I’m sipping some team under an umbrella and I can’t wait to see this team play. But the big question to me is going to be what they’re doing on special teams."
Tags: Bart Scott, Clint Stitser, Greg Buttle, Kellen Clemens, Kevin O\'Connell, Mark Sanchez, Nick Folk, Ray Lucas, Rex Ryan, Tanner Purdum
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