Today is “big guys’ practice.” Today will feature the first goal-line drills of Jets training camp.
Head coach Rex Ryan reminded reporters why this goal-line practice is more significant than in previous years.
“Really, when you think about it, this is the first hitting we’ve done since that Pittsburgh game with the No. 1 guys,” Ryan said, summoning up the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers in January. “We had a little scrimmage out there the other day with the threes, the young guys. But I’m sure it’ll be fun and lively out there today.”
A reporter asked if that means that Rob Turner could get into another skirmish today. Ryan at first said he wouldn’t bet against his scrappy offensive lineman on that point, but then added seriously that it’s time in camp for all Jets to focus less on taking out camp on their teammates.
“I told the guys we’ve met our quota” of brawls, Rex said. “I understand that happens, but I let ‘em know, ‘Hey, it’s just time to play football.’ “
Today’s goal-line drills are sure not to help the team’s intrasquad mood, but it’s hard to ignore the realities of this summer’s new landscape. Ten NFL teams begin their preseason schedules in five games tonight, and the Jets conclude Week 1 with their opener at the Texans on Monday night (8 p.m. ET).
“Just having a different colored facemask to look at is nice,” said QB Mark Sanchez after this morning’s walkthrough. “It’ll be good to clear some things up and it should tell us a lot about our team, especially our young guys.”
Ryan had one more observation during today’s news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center and that was in regard to this year’s schedule and the absence of a formal Green & White Scrimmage that had been a staple of many previous Jets summers.
“Our Green & Whtie Scrimmage will be when we play Houston. That’s the way we’re approaching it,” the coach said. “When you’re weighing how you’re going to do your things, ‘We could have one here or whatever,’ it might work on the timeline. But we’re down practices [from last year's camp] and I never thought it was appropriate. So we’ll just have it in our Houston game.”
Ryan was asked if he’s comfortable at tight end now. To explain how comfy he is, he went back a few days to a visit from a former Ravens player of his acquaintance.
“You know we were looking at Todd Heap,” he said. “It never worked out. I love Todd, I think he’s a great receiver and a good blocker. But this has worked out. Our two guys have both made improvements.”
By his two guys, he’s referring to “2 and 2A” behind Dustin Keller. Matthew Mulligan, he said, has improved as a receiver, and Jeff Cumberland has picked it up as a blocker. “I’m more comfortable there now than I was,” the coach said.
As for Keller, he talked about how he tried to spend a lot of time with Sanchez, which one day left him just a little hot under the horsecollar:
“We had a photo shoot a month or so ago, and even when we were wearing our full gear for the camera, he still was making me go out there and run routes and stuff. It was really hot, I wasn’t too happy about it, but you got to put in the work.”
Dwight Lowery is still listed at 198 pounds but he redistributed some of it in the offseason, and also has had his name redistributed on the first depth chart of the season, from corner to safety.
“I think that’s why he got the size he did, because he wants to be a safety,” Ryan said. “But we all know if we get a few injuries, ‘Hey, kid, get out there.’ Dwight gives us position flexibility. The more you can do the better.”
Ryan said he didn’t scout Cordarol Scales, the WR the Jets signed Wednesday, but he watched Scales work out: “I was impressed with him. He’s a big receiver, a hard worker. Obviously our scouts brought him here for a reason.” The Jets didn’t have to make room on their 90-man roster because Scales was No. 90, but today the team has just announced that it has released LB Stafford Gatling, S DaJuan Morgan and DT Carlton Powell.
Ryan said WR Plaxico Burress continues to be monitored, due to “a little more swelling” in his sore ankle, but stressed the injury is “minor” and that Plax should be working at today’s open practice. … CB Marquice Cole is back in camp after receiving permission for an extended absence due to a personal matter.
Tags: Cordarol Scales, Dustin Keller, Dwight Lowery, Jeff Cumberland, Mark Sanchez, Matthew Mulligan, Rex Ryan
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