We can’t dub him “Johnny White Shoes Griffin” just yet, but John Griffin has looked speedy in the Jets’ backfield at their SUNY Cortland training camp and it’s not just the white footwear.
“Really, I’m just taking advantage of the opportunity I’ve got right now,” Griffin, the Jets’ new No. 24, said after today’s second practice of camp. “I know we’ve got a couple of guys hurt and Mike [Goodson]‘s not here right now. So I’m really just trying to take advantage of the opportunity that’s been given to me. I know I’ve worked hard so I know I’m ready for it.”
Griffin looks ready. The 5’11”, 208-pounder has gotten his opening with Chris Ivory and Joe McKnight both being sidelined at times so far with injuries and Goodson not reporting, and he and his shoes have flashed. It could be getting free to scoot off tackle or taking a screen and zipping down the green and white rapids for a big gainer.
He feels he can be a complete back. As a Northeastern junior, he had a 200-yard rushing game and a 1,000-yard season in 2009. As a receiver, he’s been hot and cold, mixing in a few drops with his crowd-pleasing downfield forays, but he knows one of the answers to that.
“I like to think I’m a pretty good route-running back,” he said. “I probably need to strengthen my hands a little bit, do some more off the field. But I pretty much like doing it all.”
As for the white shoes, it’s not a tribute to Joe Namath or Billy Johnson, just a sartorial thing that some of the Jets backs started this spring.
“I remember Joe [McKnight] and Mike [Goodson] wore them one day, we all did, and we kind of stuck with them,” he said. “Actually, Antonio Cromartie gave these shoes to me.”
It’s taken Griffin a while to get going in the pros, but he finally made his NFL debut with nine special teams plays for the Jets in last season’s finale at Buffalo. Maybe there are more plays where that came from if he and his shoes continue to flash this summer.
Comings and Goings
Griffin and the Jets backs were joined on the roster by newly signed Chad Spann (5’9″, 198). Spann’s claim to fame was that he led all FBS players in 2010 with 22 rushing TDs in 11 games for Northern Illinois, but he’s only made it to Tampa Bay’s and Pittsburgh’s practice squads. He wore No. 34 in white (Donnie Fletcher is 34 in green) at today’s practice. … Also, CB Aaron Berry, who tore an ACL early in Friday’s first practice of camp, was placed on injured reserve.
Clyde Gates was still motoring in day two, ripping down the right sideline to gather in a Geno Smith longball in 11-on-11 drills. … Antonio Allen had a nice 7-on-7 zone interception of Mark Sanchez trying to hit Stephen Hill with a deep ball. … Rex Ryan says he likes what first-year WR Vidal Hazelton has shown so far, “and not because he got into a little whatever.” That whatever was a short but intense chin-to-chin confrontation with Cromartie after Cro hit Hazelton hard after a reception in positional drills. … Including a kick each in a two-minute drill at the end of practice, Nick Folk was 4-for-5 and Billy Cundiff 2-for-5 on field goals into a good Cortland cross-breeze.
Tags: Billy White Shoes Johnson, Chad Spann, joe McKnight, Joe Namath, John Griffin, Rex Ryan, white shoes
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