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This Hayden Smith Guy Just Might Catch On

Posted by Randy Lange on December 26, 2012 – 5:42 pm

We’ll start the week with a few passing fancies, either or both of whom could find themselves fancied by Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano in the Jets’ offensive game plan for Buffalo on Sunday.

Hayden Smith, after short careers as a small-college basketball player and a high-level rugby performer, has been getting his feet wet in this, his first season as a 27-year-old NFL rookie tight end. It just so happened that Tim Usasz, one of his rugby buds and a fellow Australian, was in the New York area and came over to the Sunday game at MetLife Stadium against San Diego to watch his countryman play his new game.

Smith said Usasz’s immediate reaction when, late in the first half, Smith let Chargers LB Melvin Smith leak past him into the Jets backfield was, “Uh-oh, looks like Hayden made a mistake.”

That’s just what he and the Jets wanted the Chargers to think. Immediately, Greg McElroy pivoted from right to left and floated a pass with perfect touch and location past Ingram’s flailing outstretched left hand and into the hands of the former lock forward for the USA at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

“Probably the one similarity between rugby and football is running with the ball,” Smith said about his nifty 19 yards of YAC on the 16-yard play behind a D’Brickashaw Ferguson block to the Jets 41, converting a third-and-9 in the process.

“The funny thing about it was they called the play and I knew it was coming to me, and just as we got out there, there was a timeout, so I had about five minutes to think about it,” Smith said, referring to that American TV marketing concept of the five-minute-long two-minute warning. “We’ve had the play up for a couple of weeks, but we just hadn’t had the opportunity to call it until Sunday. It’s a great play, we got the look that we wanted and executed it well, so it was all positive.”

Smith’s been active for four games now, with 14 plays on offense and 13 on special teams. Sunday’s pass was the first ball thrown to the 6’6″, 255-pounder. He looked like he knew exactly what to do with it, and it would be nice to see confirmation of that perception a few more times in Sunday’s season finale at “the Ralph.”

Kerley’s Distinction

The other passing-game nugget worth noting was that Jeremy Kerley is currently the only player in NFL history who has thrown two or more passes and completed each one for more than 40 yards.

Yeah, I know, that’s a fun fact that won’t last very long. JK’s one of only 54 players who have completed every pass they’ve thrown as pros with at least two completions. And the minute one of his Wildcat passes hits the turf, he’s out of this club forever. But until then, Kerley’s 41-yard strike to TE Matt Mulligan at Miami in last year’s season finale and his 42-yard play-action chuck to Clyde Gates against the Chargers makes him an army of one.

The only members of this exclusive group who have more than Kerley’s 83 passing yards are Packers punter Ron Widby (2-for-2, 102 yards, 1972) and Broncos WR Arthur Marshall (2-for-2, 111 yards in 1992-93).

Now Kerley could etch his name in stone if he keeps it up. The NFL record-holder for most consecutive completions from start of career is St. Louis backup QB Billy Donckers, who hit all six of his career passes in 1976-77, followed by a certain University of Florida QB by name of … Kerwin Bell, who completed all five of his throws for the Colts in 1988.

Kerley’s on-the-money throw to Lex Hilliard on Sunday was wiped out by an illegal formation, so he’s still got to hit his next five to grab that Hall of Fame-esque distinction. No pressure, Jeremy.

As for if Kerley will be used in a similar Wildcat role against the Bills, head coach Rex Ryan said today, “It’s certainly a possibility, and if it’s something they have to prepare for and I wasn’t going to do it, I probably wouldn’t say it, either.”

Wilkerson on the Sideline

Muhammad Wilkerson is on the Jets’ injury report for the first time this season. The DE, who’s been on a tear for better than half a season, is listed with a concussion and a knee injury and did not participate in today’s team drills.

“That would be a big concern” if Mo can’t go, Ryan said this morning at his news conference. “He’s one of the best interior linemen in the league. Hopefully, he’ll get that kind of respect  when the Pro Bowl voting comes out. But forget all that. I’d like Mo to play and I am concerned he can’t practice today.” Ryan said he thought Wilkerson underwent concussion testing after Sunday’s game and that Rex didn’t hear about Wilkerson’s injury status until Tuesday. Merry Christmas.

By the way, the NFL will be making the initial unveil of its AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters tonight at 7 p.m. ET on NFL Network. We’ll have a separate story on the Jets’ Pro Bowlers live on our site shortly after the announcement by the league.

The Rest of the Injury Picture

The other DNPs today were Keller (ankle), WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring/knee), CB Ellis Lankster (concussion), LB Bryan Thomas (chest), WR Chaz Schilens (knee) and CB Aaron Berry (hamstring).

The other 18 Jets on the report were all full-go for the team drills at today’s practice, which started outside on the Atlantic Health Training Center turf field, then headed indoors when the rain/snow started coming down shortly in the early afternoon.

Among the full participants were QB Greg McElroy (abdomen) and NT Sione Po‘uha (back), who’s listed as full for the first time in 13 weeks and for only the sixth time in this season’s 46 game-week practices. Way to work all the way “back,” Sione. You’ll find the Jets’ full injury report here.

The Bills list 15 players of their own. DNP — S Jairus Byrd (ankle), TE Scott Chandler (knee), G Andy Levitre (knee), WR Ruvell Martin (non-injury-related), S Da’Norris Searcy (groin), DT Kyle Williams (knee). Limited — DE Mark Anderson (knee), LB Nick Barnett (knee), RB Dorin Dickerson (ankle), WR Marcus Easley (hamstring), CB Justin Rogers (foot), LB Chris White (hamstring), C Eric Wood (knee). Full — RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder), DE Mario Williams (wrist).

“Inside the Jets”

Tonight’s “Inside the Jets” radio show, scheduled for tonight, is going on live as scheduled at 7 p.m ET on ESPN 98.7 FM at the Grasshopper in Morristown, N.J. Larry Hardesty is hosting. Due to this afternoon’s snowstorm in the area, no players will be appearing at the restaurant but players will be calling into the show.


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Posted in Randy Lange | 40 Comments »


40 Responses to “This Hayden Smith Guy Just Might Catch On”

  1. By SCfromNY on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Good to see Smith getting some plays. Bellicik is probably waiting for him to be released.

  2. By Frank on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    I said it at the end of the last post. Eric Decosta the Ravens Asst. GM he is the guy we need to hire. Look at his track record and the guys he is personally responsible for finding for that team. He is a bottom up guy who understands all aspects of the business and is the “football” guy we need as our GM. He understands what it takes to build a team and has all levels of experience in doing so.

  3. By scjoe on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    In the words of thee best coach this franchise ever had, “let’s not put this guy in Canton just yet” not after one pro catch. Time to raise the bar a little and find this years Gronkowski in the draft, or at least something remotely close. I don’t think Keller is the answer at TE, so let him go. Lets hope our new GM brings in a quality QB, a quality RB, a quality TE and a quality OLB. That in itself will go a long way toward turning this thing around in a hurry.

  4. By Karan on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    If we let Dustin Keller walk, our Tight End depth wouldn’t be so bad would it? I would like the Jets to re-sign Dustin but it looks like he might be playing for a new team next season, my guess is the Packers or Redskins. However, this Hayden Smith guy looks like he could be effective as he learns the techniques and mechanics more. He’s clearly got the size to be a good tight end in the NFL. Then Konrad Reuland is a good ‘everything’ tight end who does the dirty work as in blocking and catching the ball, lining up at different positions. That leaves Cumberland, who could probably take over Keller’s role as the primary receiving tight end. The Jets still have Josh Baker, who’s a versatile FB/TE himself. I would like Keller back but it…..

  5. By Karan on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    …….won’t be the worst thing if the financial situation doesn’t work out.

  6. By Bennett on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Just got finished watching a lengthy interview by Tebow in front of his locker. Boy this is one decent kid and he deserved better, The way the Jets as an orgainization treated this kid is a shame. I am ashamed of the Jets

  7. By GaryC on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    Marty Giliyard lasted a long time,All this talk about Kerley and the wildcat is ridiculous,they lost their best wildcatter ever,Brad Smith and they have been looking for his replacement ever since,give it up.this is all we need, a five nine slot receiver throwing footballs down the field.

  8. By Karan on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    I hate the fact that year after year, David Harris is overlooked as a Pro Bowl selection. The guy is like the offense’s version of Brandon Moore, an all star player whos quietly a leader and awesome at what he does. He’s probably the most underrated ILB in the AFC if not the NFL. Same goes for Moore, underrated guard but glad he at least got the pro bowl nod last season.

  9. By russ on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    If the front office doesnt change, next year will repeat itself..New England wins division by thanksgiving all others tied for 2…Happy New Year all no more comments till drat..anything more is useless and damaging to my mental health…

  10. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom Ready for REAL Changes on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    It’s fitting that I post this on a story about Hayden Smith before a season-ending game against BUF: As I was saying to Arte today on the phone, there’s only one question worth talking about for more than ten seconds: How fed up is Woody? There are 3 scenarios: (1) He doesn’t really care about winning and makes only minor changes — say, he demotes Mr T only (2) He cares enough for stopgap moves — say, Mr T stays, Vick at QB, Rex stays, and we beg or bribe Turner to sign up as OC (3) HE WAKES UP, GRABS THIS ORG FIRMLY BY THE SHOULDERS, FIRES ALMOST EVERYBODY, DRAFTS IN LINE WITH HOW THE GAME IS ACTUALLY PLAYED TODAY, AND MAKES HIS FIRST SERIOUS ATTEMPT TO WIN A SUPER BOWL! I think you all have some idea which route I prefer…

  11. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom Ready for REAL Changes on Dec 26, 2012 | Reply

    There’s a wild card in the question — maybe I should call it “The Question,’ since it’s the only real one — of how fed up Woody is or isn’t. And that is — you might view this as “The Question 1A” — how embarrassed does he want to risk being at the 2014 SB? I’ll tell you right now, if the Giants make it into that game, much less win it, and we’re 6-10 that yr with no sign of real change/an elite QB/a O-minded HC in sight, this franchise may be done in NJ. The humiliation would be akin to the kind that forced the Rams out of SoCal, the cold-weather Cards into sweltering Arizona, and the Jazz all the way to that swingin’ Dixieland-to-bebop paradise known as Utah. You simply can’t be that awful in NY/NJ that long without paying a big price.

  12. By Charliejet on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Saw this somewhere…”Let 8,000,000 fans contribute $1.00 and buy out Sanchez contract! Hence freed up cap! I know, I know still nice to dream… Get Mat Moore from Dolphins would make for nice transition QB for 2013 season he is:
    28,6 years experience, overall QB rating 80.5. Intangibles: Better game manager,
    confidence, not broken !

  13. By IRA on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Glad to see Pouha is healthy. Guy deserves a lot of credit playing hurt all year. Congrats to Cro and Landry for being named to the Pro Bowl team. Both had excellent years and lets hope the Jets can resign Landry and Bell.
    GO JETS!!!!

  14. By Charliejet on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    and oh yes – Matt Moore would be come cheap.

  15. By since shea on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Who draws up the routes that WR’s and TE’s run? The WR coach? OC? I watch our WR’s take too long to gain separation and get open. Seldom do you see our WR’s wide open like other teams. Talent? Yes its suspect. But the coaches could surely draw some different routes. The other piece is the O line protection. Our QB barely has 2 seconds to throw. That said, if the primary receiver doesnt get open right away (which he seldom does), the QB doesnt have much time to check down to the #2, #3 options. And yes, the QB talent is suspect at best. He should trust his WR and release the ball BEFORE the WR makes his cut. Not the case with MS. Answer? Fix the coaching, upgrade talent. Matt Moore, Alex Smith, Chad Henne are NOT the answers.

  16. By scjoe on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    OMG….It took the team almost 6 days to figure out that a player sustained a concussion during a game? Is there medical staff as incompetent as their front office? Woody, you better get thet big ol broom out Sunday about 4:00pm.

  17. By Byrdman on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    I like Kerley, his play has been a bit of a bright spot this season. The pass he threw to Gates looked like a punt but it got me thinking. If Tebow throws that pass it’s a TD, if anything he has relatively good deep ball. Is Rex trying to SAVE his job by starting Sanchez this week? Think about that… what will a victory in Buffalo do besides drop Jets down in the draft? If Woody is still mulling over whether Rex is the right guy, does beating another pathetic team, make him go, “Wow, Nice Job Rex – This Win convinced me – here’s a 5 Year contract extension” LOL Wouldn’t the INTELLIGENT choice this week be to start the QB you’re trying to trade? Maybe we get a 6th or 7th round pick instead of NOTHING by releasing him. Stupidity Hurts!

  18. By Karan on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Mark, this may be your last chance to prove something, anything to stay a QB for this team in the future. Take over the game as if your life depends on it. Play with emotion, lead the way, show that you were upset you got benched! He’ll probably throw an interception as its become a normal thing for him which is not good! but try not to throw any at all. Make this one count darn it. Good luck to ya.

  19. By Karan on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Many consider the nail in the coffin for Mark Sanchez’s career as a Jet was at the Tennessee game and even though I think the same, I believe another one will be this Buffalo game if he doesn’t deliver. He needs to a go out of this season with a bang. Like the way he started week 1.

  20. By steven on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Right now the only reason I would watch the Jets is to watch the big TE Hayden Smith. I was a Jets fan for 35 years and this year I stopped watching. It got to where it is not fun to watch the Jets. Always the SOJ with all the mistakes and stupid errors. Hayden Smith has so much potential. He may be the next Gronkowski or even better. What a target. But the Jets haven’t been using him so you just think WHY WATCH THE JETS? After 35 years of SOJ ALMOST DARN THEY SCREWED IT UP AGAIN, I think it would be more fun to root for Peyton Manning. Hope you get some young strong fast players in the draft this year. If you lose to Buffalo you might get a top draft pick.

  21. By steven on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    By the way, the comment “Hayden Smith might just catch on,” is an understatement. You might want to say, “This Hayden Smith guy might just take over a game,” in the future would be better. He used to carry a whole load of players in Rugby. What is one linebacker to him. Hayden Smith will crush some guys

  22. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom Ready for REAL Changes on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    russ and scjoe, I agree with you, pretty soon being a Jet fan will have its own code in the DSM and yes, the answer is an enormous house-cleaning. Should we start Sanchez? Should we sign Dustin? Can the worst OC in the NFL draw up good WR and TE routes? Folks, these questions are all complete distractions and I’ll no longer participate in any extensive discussion of any of them. The only real question, like I said last night, is when we’re going to change the entire culture of this org, from its once-blustery/now-tight-lipped but still incompetent HC to its medical staff that finds out about a concussion 3 days before a game. Sorry, for me it’s GO AWAY, JETS (current edition) until you’re remotely serious about competing in this league.

  23. By GaryC on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    We need to lose this game,who to start,Sanchez or Kerley.

  24. By scjoe on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, all this talk about Kerley and the wildcat is ridiculas? Correction! All this talk about the WILDCAT is ridiculas! I could not believe my eyes when they brought Kerley out to run that ridiculas formation right after McElroy completed a pass. Who cares if he did throw a 42 yard completion? He is a receiver, leave him at that spot and concentrate on finding a QB who can throw 42 yard completions.

  25. By GaryC on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    The only reason to watch the game this week was to look at McElroy,I guess I can focus on the NFC playoff races now.

  26. By robert on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Randy will you please post up what I have to say. Briefly this. With this latest fiasco there is only one thing that can happen. A complete regime change. Ryan must be fired. Tannenbaum must be fired. Woody must bring in the right people to run this team. Or else we are looking at a diaster next year of Kotite proportions . Woody give us Jets fans with the new year almost upon us and do the right thing. Please!!!!!!!!

  27. By GaryC on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    jetfantom,if this year hasn’t humiliated the jets enough about leaving nothing will.

  28. By Mike Jet Vet on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Hayden Smith, will be traded, benched, or cut, since most here believe he’ll become a player worth having, if history is any indication, he’ll go on and become a star in NE or some other team who’ll realize this kid has what it takes to be a winner…

  29. By Karan on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Tebow does deserve better. He can’t wait to get the heck out of New York. Best of luck in Jacksonville Tim.

  30. By Allan O'Dane on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Mr.Woody Johnson, Clearly you need some help in your FO. If you are looking for a New GM call Mr.Polian. If you need a new OC go to the Texans O-line coach. Need a new DC…look no further then 49ers D-line coach. Need someone to coach the QB’s…the qb coach in greenbay looks to have done a great job. WR’s coach I hear Cincy has a bright coach in the making. What I am trying to say here is that if you want your team to be the best then GO OUT and get the best coaches available. Your next HC needs to understand that this is now a passing league. Draft for the future, I have never seen this team sink to such a low since the Kotie era….This embrassment has to stop! And 1 more thing,,you might want to get a new medical staff also….

  31. By Frank on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    There is no other explanation for this lunacy. Rex has to believe he is done and is thumbing Woody in the eye with passing over Tebow on Sunday.
    Woody is on record as wanting Tebow here and you would think to play as well. The mis-management of this team is surreal Rex has set a new low for coaching futility. A handbook can be written the chronicles of rex Ryan and how NOT to be an NFL HC.

  32. By the former ron alexander now Ronbo19 on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    SINCE SHEA, the pass routes are desighned based on scouting reports from a teams advanced souting dept.(guys who watch future opponents and chart tendencies like what coverages teams play in various situations.Example, some teams like to blitz on 3rd & long;others like to sit back in coverage & hope the Q.B makes a mistake? This info as well as video is viewed by the O-coordinator as well as the entire O-staff. At this point they usually decide on 1 running play & 1 pass play desighned to take advantage of the weakness of the antisapated coverage.The Q.B. will go to the line & decide which play is best vs that specific coverage(run or pass? cont.-

  33. By the former ron alexander now Ronbo19 on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    cont’ do you ever notice the Q.B yelling the words “kill-kill prior to calling out the snap count? What he is doing is changing the play as the coverage appears different from what was anisapated, or the D is lined up in a manner that there is not enough blocking for the play to work as desighned. (Example) the Q.B is hopeing to throw deep and is expecting a 4 man D.L with mabey 1 blitzer. instead he sees the safty cheating up but has no one to block him? He then swithces to plan B a short quick pass or a pitch to the R.B around the end.As for the lack of separation issues, its because the O-line is not good enough to keep the d-backs honest so they lock on the W.R knowing the Q.B wont have time to throw deep.

  34. By SCfromNY on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    I love all the comments listing the players we need to get. Explain how with our cap issue and rep as a disfunctional team this would even be possible? A COMPLETE rebuild is needed: Coaches, GM, scouts, strenght coaches, and eating poor contract decisions. Sanchez and Holmes. Draft young players with potential and suffer through a 2-14 season to come back a winner in 2014, the year the SB is held in NY.A piece here and there will only prolong the agony. Rip off all the bandaids and start fresh.

    I actually had to stare for minutes at the news McElroy will sit. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

  35. By 40 year fan , John on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Bennetts right about Tebow deserving better from an organization . Sanchez too …There is no front line . Nobody cared enough to keep the one we had , or build a decent one . Anybody you throw in at QB is going to be running for their life . You can’t just cobble a line together , at the last second , before the season starts …Some things are quintessential to any team .

  36. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom Ready for REAL Changes on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Ah, a man who recognizes the Wildcat as the pathetic joke that it is, scjoe, just what this site has needed more of since the day we decided not to give Brad Smith a shot at QB. Yeah, funny how I never see Brady or Peyton line up as a WR after a good series or two. Frank, Woody denied that he forced Tebow on the team if I remember right. And GaryC, if you don’t think it can get worse, look at the Mets — they’ve been swindled by Madoff, been bailed out by the league, lost most of their only good players, overpaid for bad ones, and of course lost a lot of games. But the whole pt is to rebuild smartly, along the lines SCfromNY says here, and BEFORE things come to complete disaster!

  37. By Seth on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Wow! Kerley has thrown for over 40 yards on 2 of his passes. Has Sanchez done that yet?

  38. By stevesc on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t know how player’s contracts are structured, but instead of having incentive clauses, they should have clauses that restructure their contract the following season for under performing. This way if a player has a poor season, he takes a cut in pay freeing up cap space. Just think of all the money that would be saved toward the cap on the Jets if this was the case. The idea of guaranteed money is ludicrous. With the year MS has had, does he really deserve to be paid the money he will get next season, providing he doesn’t get cut or traded? There are a lot of other players on this team that the same could be said. I know this will never happen,just wishful thinking…

  39. By Chicago Bob on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Please stop with the Bill Polian requests. That would make things potentially worse. Anyone who knows anything about Polian is the fact he is very thin skinned – he had it out with the Indianapolis media constantly – there is no way he could deal with the New York media. If he resurfaces again, it will be in a smaller city so he does not have to deal with this. I have said it before, check out his drafts from 2004 on (God awful) and tell me you want him running our draft. Regardless of what happened out there, he had the final call on the personnel and it stunk. The guy is 70 years old for cryin’ out loud – why don’t we just dig up Al Davis’ bones and let him run the show.

  40. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom Waiting for This to Get Interesting on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    That’s funny about Kerley’s deep ball skills vs. Sanchez’s, Seth. stevesc, those are good ideas but anybody like Mr T, who rushed to redo Revis’ deal when it wasn’t necessary and rushed to redo Sanchez’s when what he needed to do was cut it back, would surely find a way to screw up even under those circumstances.

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