Today’s first open practice of Jets training camp was a trying one for fans and team alike. The dark, low storm clouds rolled over the hills and dropped a bit of precip onto the fields here at SUNY Cortland.
“I’m not saying it was raining hard,” Rex Ryan said at his just-concluded news conference following practice, “but what’s the old saying? I saw animals pairing up out there.”
However, the Jets didn’t head indoors. They hung in there and worked out in the elements before 2,588 hardy, mostly green-clad fans.
“When the fans are out there, you want to perform,” said the Jets head coach. “In fact, with the conditions, we had some diehards out there, no doubt. I don’t know if I would’ve stayed out there as a fan, but these guys did and it’s awesome.”
And all things considered, the Jets looked good and showed enthusiasm for a second day.
Ryan talked up Mark Sanchez’s mostly tight, on-target spirals despite the wet footballs. My partner, Eric Allen will get into Mark’s morning a little more in depth in his latest “On the Inside” installment.
Rookie Stephen Hill again made a crowd-pleasing grab. This one he got free past Antonio Cromartie and caught a Tim Tebow long ball in stride for the score.
But Hill wasn’t alone in the impressive receivers category.
“Another guy who jumps out me is the way Chaz Schilens has looked,” Rex said. “Mike Westhoff’s not one to praise a lot but he came up to me and said, ‘Hey, that 85, he can really help me.’ Chaz is a physical guy and the best thing he does is when the pads come on — he’s one of the top blockers as a receiver in the NFL, kind of like what Braylon Edwards did for us. And he’s done a nice job catching the football. He made some deep catches and he’s a big target that runs fast. Those are all positives.”
Schilens knows there’s one thing he’s got to overcome, and it’s not the Mohawk that’s starting to grow out. He was asked today if he feels he has something to prove regarding his injury history.
“Yeah, yeah I do,” he said. “This is a fresh start for me. They believe in me, I like being here. And I do have something to prove. … I’m just working out hard, getting rehab when I need it, and just taking care of my body. It’s football, it’s kind of part of the game, but I know on Sunday I’ll be fine, I won’t have to worry about anything. I’ll be good.”
He’ll have to be good in a wideout rotation that includes the impressive rookie, Hill, but he’s been known as a team player from his time in Oakland and he sounds like a player who can line up wherever he’s needed.
“I think I can fit in a couple of different places. Honestly, I’ll just make plays and then wait and see how it plays out in the end,” he said. “Stephen’s going to be playing a lot, Jeremy [Kerley]‘s going to be playing a lot, Patrick Turner, Santonio has his position. We all have something to offer. I think at the end of the day, no matter what, it’s going to be something good.
Latest to Pull a Hamstring: Kerley
Speaking of Kerley, Ryan is excited for his second-year slot man and punt returner but with a few caveats. For one thing, Kerley pulled a hamstring Friday and was sidelined today.
“I don’t think it’s a major one, probably a week,” the coach said. “But Jeremy needs to step it up because, quite honestly, I was disappointed in Jeremy in the offseason. He’s got to pick up this system, this new system. You’ve got to put the time in it. And Jeremy’s one of the hardest working guys I’ve seen. … I know the want-to’s there. We’ve got to dial in and make sure the mental part of it’s there.”
If JK misses any extended time, Ryan said Santonio Holmes “clearly can be the slot receiver. You can put Tone anywhere. … But clearly we want Jeremy to be that guy. He did a good job for us last year as the slot receiver, and he’s got the makeup of a good slot receiver, a guy who’s tough, can catch the football, and obviously has an unusual change of direction.”
Two More to Catch Rex’s Eye
Ryan touted two more plays who continue to stand out, one we heard a lot from last year and one who could make things more interesting yet on the offensive line.
“You look at Aaron Maybin today, he really flashed,” Rex said. “I was kidding [OLBs coach] Mike Smith that we had 83 plays [Friday] and Aaron was in there for three of them. I think we need to get him more involved. Today we saw some of the things he can do and that we’ve seen him do.
“And Caleb Schlauderaff looked good out there. … When we picked him up last year we wanted a guy who could play guard and play center. He’s been impressive these first two days.”
Ryan said he’s “not real sure” when rookie LB Demario Davis (hamstring) will return to action “but they say he’s progressing well and I know he’s itching to go.” Davis was one of the first Jets out this morning, running laps around the Cortland Stadium turf field at 7:30 a.m. He still has to pass his conditioning test, which he was doing well at on Wednesday before popping his hamstring, before he can be activated from PUP.
Still nothing new on T Jeff Otah, the trade pickup from Carolina who is also on PUP. … Schilens’ roommate, you may have heard, is Tebow. What is Tim T’s biggest flaw as a roomie? “I couldn’t tell you — it’s only the second day,” Chaz laughed. “He’s very prepared, though. He brought a couple of pillows, a nice blanket, he has a nice TV in there, plenty of food. He’s very nice and very sharing. … He’s a cool guy to be around.”
Celebrity sideline sighting: Doug Marrone, the head coach from nearby Syracuse and the Jets’ former OL coach. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweeted a reminder that one of Marrone’s accomplishments with the Green & White was the development of Brandon Moore from an undrafted D-lineman into the stalwart and now Pro Bowl guard that he is today.
Tags: Caleb Schlauderaff, Chaz Schilens, Jeremy Kerley
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