To all Radar commenters: I have one bit of news for you and one change of venue to alert you all to.
The news is that the Jets’ first official depth chart of the season is now live on newyorkjets.com. You can find it here. This is the depth chart for the Jets’ preseason opener at Detroit on Friday night.
Keep in mind that even though the depth chart is official, it is not a rigid document. Some players will play ahead of others that they’re listed behind. Some players will not appear at the positions they’re listed at. It’s all a work in progress.
But note the newsworthy listings. QB is officially a “slash” situation, Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith being listed as co-starters at this time. On defense, Quinton Coples is appearing as a starting OLB, and both first-round rookies are being listed as starters — Sheldon Richardson at DT, Dee Milliner at CB.
As for the change of venue, you may have noticed a downturn in blogs appearing in this WordPress platform recently. That is by design. We are migrating all Randy’s Radar blogs and comments from WordPress to our NFL platform. We are consolidating all blogs with all news stories with an eye toward making a consistent and common experience across our Website for all our fans and visitors.
The Radar commenting procedure will not change a lot but one thing will be required to submit comments and that is you must be a member of Facebook. Many of you here on the WordPress version of the Radar are Facebook members, some are not. If not, sign up for Facebook and you’ll still be able to leave your comments at the bottom of my blogs.
Over the next several days we will be phasing out the WordPress version of the Radar, which means that I’ll post your comments here for the next week but eventually comments sent to any WordPress blogs will not be posted. New comments will have to be submitted via Facebook under the blogs from this week forward.
Tags: Dee Milliner, depth chart, Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, Quinton Coples, Randy's Radar, Sheldon Richardson, Wordpress
Posted in Randy Lange | 80 Comments »
One of Bill Parcells’ favorite phrases to reporters gushing about one player or another at his many NFL stops was “Let’s not send him to Canton on roller skates yet, fellas.”
Parcells didn’t exactly get to football’s shrine on an express train, but he got there as he should have nonetheless. He was voted for induction on Feb. 2, is being introduced tonight along with the Hall’s Class of ’13 by Jets great Joe Namath at the Gold Jacket Dinner, and will be enshrined in ceremonies at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium on Saturday night.
“The Big Tuna” did many great things at his head-coaching stops with the Giants, Patriots and Cowboys, but a significant part of his legacy and of Jets history was his three-season tenure as the Jets’ head coach from 1997-99.
“Bill Parcells infused new life into this franchise on many levels,” owner Woody Johnson said in a statement back in February. “From acquiring players like Curtis Martin to bringing back a winning culture, we will always be grateful to Bill for his contributions to the New York Jets. On behalf of the entire organization, I congratulate Bill on his selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Below is my top 10 list of Bill Parcells coaching victories in those three seasons. It’s far from a scientific survey, just a list based on the importance of the game and the stage it was played on (primetime, playoffs). You may have some comments on other favorite BP games, so send them on to me, and you can also vote on your favorite regular-season Parcells win in the poll on our home page. (Games in chronological order, CAPS denote home teams.)
Aug. 31, 1997 — Jets 41, SEAHAWKS 3
It doesn’t start any better than this. In Parcells’ first regular-season game as head coach, the Jets pummeled the Seahawks in the Kingdome. Neil O’Donnell threw five touchdown passes, two to Wayne Chrebet and two to Jeff Graham, as the Green & White posted a 38-point win that to this day is the largest opening-day margin of victory in franchise history.
Oct. 19, 1997 — JETS 24, Patriots 19
New England came to the Meadowlands undefeated and opened a 12-3 lead on the first drive of the second half. On the Jets’ first drive of the half, Parcells made an unexpected switch at QB, replacing starter O’Donnell with backup Glenn Foley, who directed three straight touchdown drives to forge the 24-19 triumph for Parcells’ first win over the team he left to coach the Jets.
Dec. 14, 1997 — JETS 31, Buccaneers 0
The Jets were reeling after two losses dropped them to 8-6 while Tampa Bay came to town at 9-5. But the winds of the Meadowlands breathed new life into the Green & White for a win-and-we’re-in regular-season finale at Detroit the next week. Key Trent Dilfer tormenter this game: Otis Smith, who returned two interceptions for TDs in a 4:46 span of the second quarter.
Sept. 20, 1998 — JETS 44, Colts 6
Vinny Testaverde was getting his first start as the Jets QB since Parcells brought him in as a free agent in the offseason. His opposite signalcaller: first-pick-of-the-draft rookie Peyton Manning. This one was no contest as Testaverde threw four touchdown passes and Leon Johnson scored three TDs.
Oct. 19, 1998 — Jets 24, PATRIOTS 14
Parcells was so “disgusted” that he walked out on a midweek practice before this Monday night road test against 4-0 New England. The ploy had its effect as the Jets stayed close to the Patriots, then Testaverde struck for a touchdown toss to Kyle Brady and a 43-yard go-route TD to Dedric Ward in a 5:25 span of the fourth quarter to pull away for the inspiring triumph.
Oct. 25, 1998 — JETS 28, Falcons 3
This one turned out in retrospect to be the most frustrating win of the Parcells tenure, since the Jets disposed of Atlanta, which went on to finish 14-2 and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Victor Green (strip of QB Steve DeBerg) and Jerome Henderson (fumble-return TD) teamed up for one score and Testaverde threw two third-quarter TD passes.
Dec. 13, 1998 — Jets 21, DOLPHINS 16
Jumbo Elliott confirmed after this Sunday night game that Parcells had “promised” him back in the offseason that the Jets would be going to the playoffs this year. That’s in fact what they clinched with this triumph, as LB Chad Cascadden applied the crushing score on a strip-sack of Dan Marino and fumble-return TD with 1:51 to play.
Jan. 10, 1999 — JETS 34, Jaguars 24 (PO)
This was the centerpiece to the Parcells tenure in green — the Jets’ first home playoff game since ’86, which turned into their first playoff win in 12 years as Keyshawn Johnson scored on a reception and then an end-around, recovered a Jacksonville fumble and intercepted Mark Brunell’s Hail Mary pass to send them on to the AFC Championship Game at Denver.
Nov. 15, 1999 — Jets 24, PATRIOTS 17
It was a Monday night in Foxboro Stadium and not much of a contest was expected from the 2-6 Jets vs. the 6-2 Patriots. But Ray Lucas, back as the starter after sitting a game with injury, directed the Jets offense to three second-quarter touchdowns that held up to down Drew Bledsoe & Co.
Dec. 27, 1999 — Jets 38, DOLPHINS 31
The Jets won their last four games in ’99, all against playoff teams. This one was symbolic of that closing kick as Lucas defeated Marino for the second time in three weeks, this time in Miami on Monday night and coming from behind in the fourth quarter with a pair of 50-yard scoring strikes, to Wayne Chrebet and Dedric Ward.
Tags: Bill Parcells, Hall of Fame, Keyshawn Johnson, Vinny Testaverde, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Randy Lange | 67 Comments »
Ryan Spadola made one of the plays of Jets training camp at this morning’s SUNY Cortland practice. It could be that one play that propels him into the coaches’ consciousness as they start to trim down their wide receiving corps.
Spadola, the undrafted free agent from Lehigh, took off down the right side for the second offense in the practice-closing two-minute drill and made the diving fingertip grab of a roughly 50-yard fourth-down pass from Geno Smith, stepping up in the pocket, in front of Ellis Lankster.
“I was running for a while,” Spadola said. “I didn’t look back for the ball till I was 30 yards down the field, so I was really digging. I thought the ball was never going to come down. I laid out for it and fortunately it fell right in my hands and I was able to bring it in.”
Ryan Spadola knows he has to do more than just make one long reception on the sixth day of camp.
“Pretty much all eyes are on you when you have a deep ball like that,” he said. “Your receivers are supposed to be the playmakers and make big plays in big situations. So for me so far this camp, that was the highlight. But I’m not going to sit on that. I’ve got to continue to get better. I’m just taking that as one play to learn from and keep every single rep just like that.”
While you may not have heard of Spadola’s exploits before this, the 6’3″, 200-pounder from Howell, N.J., is no stranger to the long ball or lots of catches. He had his career year as a Lehigh junior with 96 catches for 1,614 yards (16.8-yard avg.) and 11 touchdowns. In his three varsity seasons, he had 232 catches for 3,611 yards (15.6) and 24 TDs.
“Going into my senior year, defenses used different matchups against me so it took away that vertical threat and we altered our offense a bit so I was more of a horizontal guy,” he said. “But early in my college career, I had a reputation for vertical plays and I feel comfortable going up and taking the ball in the air when it’s deep.”
Why the Jets? Spadola’s from Howell, N.J., down by the Jersey shore, and the Jets showed a lot of interest in him as a free agent addition. What’s more, as a kid, his father, Don, took him to Jets games. When Don died during Ryan’s high school years, he told lehighvalleylive.com earlier this year, “my dream [to play in the NFL] became our dream.”
It will take more than a dream for Spadola to make the Jets. A bundle of plays like today will be helpful.
Top draft pick Dee Milliner, in pads Wednesday, was in drills Thursday, getting some reps with the second defense in 7-on-7′s and then some snaps with the ones in the two-minute drill, during which he made a swipe on a pass that he tipped, didn’t deflect, but that was caught out of bounds. Head coach Rex Ryan wasn’t committing to it but said there’s a chance Milliner could participate in Saturday evening’s Green & White Scrimmage.
Greg McElroy had a strong two-minute drive, hitting Konrad Reuland, then K.J. Stroud twice, then RB John Griffin for the short TD. … Head coach Rex Ryan at today’s news conference mentioned two young offensive players who have “popped up” this camp: WR Vidal Hazelton and C Dalton Freeman. … Former Jets special teams guru Mike Westhoff was at camp today. One touching moment came during practice when Santonio Holmes, still rehabbing his foot, came over to Mike and gave him a hug. … Today’s attendance in the off-and-on rain: 662.
Tags: Dee Milliner, Ellis Lankster, Geno Smith, Greg McElroy, Mike Westhoff, Rex Ryan, Ryan Spadola
Posted in Randy Lange | 39 Comments »
It was the 1-on-1 passing drills early in today’s Jets training camp practice, and Isaiah Trufant was running stride for stride with Vidal Hazelton, a 5’8″ corner working to rise above a 6’2″ wideout.
What’s more, Trufant was trying to do the impossible so far this camp: pick off rookie QB Geno Smith.
On this play, 5’8″ stood tall.
“Was that Geno?” Trufant said, genuinely seeming not to know that Smith, who reportedly hadn’t been intercepted in the first four days of camp, had finally been picked. “He’s an exceptional athlete. He has great placement on the ball. As a DB, it’s always tough to try and go get those picks. Sometimes they can fall in there for you, sometimes you’ve got to go get them.”
It’s a great story that Trufant was able to go get this one and has looked good back in his role of nickel corner and back-end buzzsaw. He was having a decent season last year, topped by his showing vs. Wes Welker up at New England in Week 7, only to suffer a season-ending knee injury two weeks later at Seattle.
“I started to feel myself again a little bit in minicamp,” he said of his rehab process. “Then that break helped a lot. Really within that break it started to come around.”
Isaiah Trufant knows it’s never going to be easy. He’s only a third-year NFL player but you can make him a 10th-season player if you count in his seasons with the Spokane Shock, Kansas City Brigade and Arizona Rattlers in the Arena leagues and the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives. Now he’s in camp with Dee Milliner, the first-round pick who was in pads but limited at today’s practice and was conducting his own news update with reporters about 20 yards behind us.
“I don’t worry about those things,” Trufant said about such personnel issues as a first-round pick costing the former free agent a roster spot. “I just focus on me doing the best things I can do. Some things may be out of my hands, out of my control. I can’t dwell on those things.”
He’s therefore not dwelling much on the Jets’ Week 2 date with the Patriots in Foxboro, Mass., when he could, if things break well and the game plan calls for it, be covering Danny Amendola, not Welker, who’s now a Bronco.
“It could be,” Trufant said. “I’m just going to be ready for whatever position I’m put in. Whether it’s special teams or defense, I’ve got to be ready.”
Both Smith and Mark Sanchez had down days throwing the ball. Sanchez returned to run with the first offense. He threw a screen that was batted in the air and almost picked off by a roaring Muhammad Wilkerson, and suffered a pick by Antonio Cromartie. Sanchez also threw one TD pass but Stephen Hill couldn’t hold onto another. Yet Hill made a beautiful leaping snag of a Sanchez downfield throw.
Head coach Rex Ryan on Sanchez: “I think everybody gets enamored with anybody who can throw a 96-mile-per-hour fastball. Mark certainly has a good enough arm to play in this league, he’s done it.” … Ryan on Geno: “Holding the football concerns me a little bit. If I could point to a negative, we’re going to take some hits. But along those lines, he has confidence, he’s got poise, he’s hanging in there, and he’s very accurate with the football.”
Ryan said third-round rookie Brian Winters got some work at guard with the ones today because Stephen Peterman had “a little bit of a shoulder.” “But certainly we said there’s going to be competition at that guard spot.” … First-round DL Sheldon Richardson didn’t practice due to some dental issues. “One tooth needs to come out,” said Rex, “and he maybe needs a root canal in another.” … Today’s attendance: 1,333.
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Danny Amendola, Geno Smith, Isaiah Trufant, Mark Sanchez, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rex Ryan, Vidal Hazelton, Wes Welker
Posted in Randy Lange | 26 Comments »
Geno Smith has gotten headlines the last few days for his still interception-less training camp during 7-on-7 and team drills. But what about Greg McElroy? He hasn’t thrown a pick, either.
That’s not to say that McElroy’s time at SUNY Cortland has been perfect, but the experience has still been good.
“There are, like, two throws that I’d really like to have back. One was an inaccurate throw and the other was a throw that just got away from me a little,” the redheaded third-year Jets signalcaller recalled. “I’d like to think I’m a bit of a perfectionist. If there’s one play, until I get it right and get an opportunity to do it again, I’m going to remember that play, remember what I did wrong and how I can improve it in the future.
“There’s certainly a lot of things to improve on, but I’m pleased with the way the first few days of camp have gone.”
Most reporters and many fans are consumed with how the starting quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith is going. But more than a few Jets followers also would like to hear from McElroy, so I tracked him down before lunch today to see how he’s faring and where his head’s at.
And one thing that came through clearly from G-Mac, the kid from Southlake, Texas, who quarterbacked a national title team in high school and another one even more famously at Alabama, is that he’s not consumed by the fact that head coach Rex Ryan and the Jets’ offensive coaches have not included him in a three-way camp battle for No. 1.
“My goal this camp is to improve on one individual aspect every single practice, and that’s all I focus on,” he said. “I’m pleased to be out there, and I’m just glad to be given reps and I try to make the most of that.
“Another one of my goals is to try to help Mark, Geno and Matt [Simms] any way I possibly can. That’s been what I’ve done over the last few years, try to help out the other guys around me and try to make them better. And that doesn’t just stop at quarterback. That goes to every position. I try to know as much about the offense as possible so if there is a situation where someone needs help, I would love to be able to assist them in any way possible.”
All the while, he’s continuing to pick up the nuances of coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast scheme. You hear about QBs having to learn two systems in two years or three in three, but counting his senior year at Alabama he’s had four different coordinators in four years, plus three other coordinators in his first three seasons with the Crimson Tide.
“I wouldn’t say I’m used to it but I’ve experienced it before. It’s a great challenge,” McElroy said of learning a new system, adding, “It’s been a treat learning the West Coast system. It’s a system you’ve grown up watching, a system you feel like you knew a lot about — until you actually get your hands on the playbook. Then it’s quite different than what you expected.”
Mac said he appreciates the attention to detail that Mornhinweg, RBs coach Anthony Lynn and OL coach Mike Devlin pay to the running game.
“So much of the time you hear about the West Coast being passpasspasspasspass, but Coach Mornhinweg’s done such a great job of going through our run installs. It’s really been a point of emphasis for us,” he said. “Marty’s a terrific offensive mind. He’s been in this league a long time and every player on that field has a tremendous amount of respect for him. He’s done a great job.”
McElroy will continue trying to do a great job in his role, whether it’s pushing Sanchez and Smith for a few reps with the ones or fighting off Simms for the No. 3 job. His attitude would probably help make him a good pastor or teacher or coach. But right now he’s got another job to do.
“I get to wake up and put on pads and I get to go out and practice football and learn and discuss football and play the game I was playing at 5 years old in my front yard,” he said. “This is still a dream come true. I have an opportunity to play for this organization, to play for Rex, and I appreciate every second that I’m out here and I won’t ever take it for granted. Whatever my role may be, I want to do it the best I possibly can.”
Tags: Geno Smith, Greg McElroy, Mark Sanchez, Marty Mornhinweg, Matt Simms, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 42 Comments »
Updated, 4:42 p.m. ET
For a couple of periods in Sunday’s afternoon practice, Kenrick Ellis looked like the beast that ate Cortland, as the player the Jets envisioned him being when they took a chance on him in the third round in the 2011 draft. No. 93 was knifing past the first-string O-line, making tackles in the backfield and blowing up running plays like an unstoppable defensive tackle should.
“Yesterday Kenrick Ellis decides to totally dominate the 9-on-7 period,” head coach Rex Ryan confirmed at this afternoon’s news conference. “Today we made sure we blocked him, I don’t think there was any doubt about that, whether we were doubling him or whatever it was.”
Ellis noticed that as well. I asked him after this morning’s second padded practice at SUNY Cortland if he could recall a personal highlight from camp so far. He instead chose a lowlight from today’s session.
“You know what? The highlight of my practice was when I got double-teamed and got my butt kicked by 66, Willie [Colon], and 77, Austin [Howard]. And that just showed me I have so much more to work on, man. That’s what stood out to me, not being able to dominate those guys.”
I gently reminded Kenrick that it was in fact a double-team block, their 648 pounds against his 346. Maybe he was being a little hard on himself?
“If you take your craft seriously, double-team or not, you’re still supposed to be able to impose your will,” he said. “They got the best of me.”
That may sound like the Ellis who was fighting to keep his head above water his first two NFL seasons, but I detected just a little smile at the corner of his mouth, a sense that while he’s still talking a nose-to-the-grindstone approach, he knows he’s starting to make those big strides that many want to see.
He gave a little hint of that when he was asked about the Sunday practice.
“It’s a competition,” he said. “We have a bunch of guys on the D-line, so what you do every day is just try to stand out from the rest. You have to come in here with a mentality like ‘I want the job.’ Damon Harrison wants the job. Antonio Garay wants the job. Everybody wants the job. We’re just going to have a healthy competition, compete every day and battle and see who gets it.”
It’s still too early to call the starting D-line, but Ellis, who got that Colon-Howard butt-whooping in line drills, came back in team drills to put a roaring pressure up the middle on Geno Smith, forcing either a hurried incompletion or a sack, depending on who’s scoring.
But one thing is clear no matter who the scorer is. Kenrick is coming on.
First-round draft pick Dee Milliner, after agreeing to contract terms Sunday night, spent a good portion of today getting from Alabama to Cortland, N.Y. He is expected to talk with Jets reporters this evening around 7:30 p.m. ET. When he holds that news conference, newyorkjets.com will carry it live.
QB update: Both Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith hit Jeremy Kerley with touchdown passes in 7-on-7 drills today. Sanchez threw a short-zone interception to LB Josh Mauga, who’s had a couple of strong days with the second defense. Smith continues without an interception in 7-on-7 and team drills but also suffered a couple of big pressures that would have been sacks in live action. “Geno’s not throwing picks,” Ryan said, “but we don’t want to be taking sacks. That’s one area he can improve his game, but I’m certainly impressed he hasn’t thrown a pick.”
The kickers were smoking today for the second straight day. Nick Folk was dead-on from 40, 44 and 49 yards, while Billy Cundiff nailed a 53-yarder to end the last two-minute drill of the day, then converted from 42 and 46 in the FG drill to end practice.
Today’s attendance was 970. Tuesday is an off day for the players. Thursday should be a crowd-pleaser as Ryan said he thinks the first live goal-line drills of camp will be held that morning, and goal line will also be a part of Saturday night’s Green & White scrimmage. … Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan were here this morning taping interviews for their SiriusXM NFL Radio show that airs daily from 3-7 p.m. ET.
Tags: Austin Howard, Billy Cundiff, Geno Smith, Jeremy Kerley, Kenrick Ellis, Mark Sanchez, Nick Folk, Rex Ryan, Willie Colon
Posted in Randy Lange | 43 Comments »
The defense seemed ahead of the offense in the conclusion of today’s first full-pads practice of Jets training camp, but that was OK with Geno Smith, who got in some shots of his own while running the first offense.
“It felt good to have the pads on. Guys were out there hitting, getting back to football,” Smith said late this afternoon, standing near the Cortland Stadium turf field where the Jets finishing up their morning practice that was truncated by heavy rain and lightning. “It felt really good to see guys out there competing. The offense and the defense did a really good job out there.”
It was Smith’s turn to work with the first offense, and while that unit was on fire in its first day of full-pads contact (but not taking runners to the ground), Smith seemed comfortable in moving around in the pocket, avoiding the multiple pressures, and finding some of his receivers. He hit Jeff Cumberland downfield in position drills (more on that from reporter Josh Citron in a little while) and then a big 40-yarder to Stephen Hill.
Geno shrugged off any significance of getting his turn with the ones.
“I think going against the first-team defense is a lot different because those guys have a lot of veterans on that side and they know what they’re doing, they know how to disguise things, so it makes it a bit tougher,” he said. “But I think it all helps us out, especially me being a young guy, it helps me out seeing a defense that’s so experienced, just to get a chance to compete against those guys.”
Mark Sanchez took his turn with the twos and went 5-for-7 passing to Smith’s 4-for-6. Afterward, No. 6 told reporters, just a short distance away from No. 7′s media gathering, that no matter which unit he’s working with, he likes the Jets’ juice up here in central New York.
“I love the energy we have here,” Sanchez said. “I love what we’re building here in Cortland. I think we’ve got a ton of talent. Now we’ve just got to use it the right way and trust the coaches to do that. … We’ve really turned the page from last year. I think we’ve got a good group.”
The positivity didn’t end for either QB regarding one of the hot topics of the last 24 hours, GM John Idzik’s Saturday statement that “I have a pretty big role” in the ultimate starting QB decision and head coach Rex Ryan’s agreement today that “at no time is it a one-man show. It’s always a team decision. That’s the way it’s always been.”
Mark on his relationship with Idzik: “John has an open line of communication, as do I. Things have been good. We’ve talked about the ballclub, we’ve talked about whatever comes up. It’s been good.”
Geno on the QB call that will be made in several short weeks: “I just come out here and do my job, which is to compete. Like I’ve always said, they’re going to make the decision. The only thing I can do is take care of what I can control, which is manage every single rep I get on the field and make sure I prepare myself for the classroom.”
DT Kenrick Ellis and DE Muhammad Wilkerson were very active for the first D, especially against the run, while LB Josh Mauga made some plays for the twos. … TE Kellen Winslow and WR Braylon Edwards, on that Ryan “pitch count,” were not in pads for the p.m. session. … The attendance for the short one-period-long morning workout before the suspension and for the afternoon stadium practice was a combined 990.
Tags: Cortland Stadium, Geno Smith, John Idzik, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 16 Comments »
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
Posted in Randy Lange | 42 Comments »
The battle began this morning with Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith trading throws.
In position drills, Sanchez hit a pass down the left sideline, Smith on the next play did the same down the right sideline.
In 7-on-7′s, Mark found Clyde Gates deep for a leaping fingertip grab, with Gates bouncing up quickly and darting into the end zone. Geno counters with an over-the-shoulder dropdown for Stephen Hill.
Sanchez distributed nicely in 11-on-11′s, but with one deep overthrow. Smith countered with accurate darts in traffic to Kellen Winslow and Gates again but missed some other shorter targets.
The competition after day one of SUNY Cortland camp? If this were the first round of a prizefight, probably 10-10. A draw.
“I thought I did well,” Sanchez said. “I wasn’t able to watch the film but I felt sharp, I felt accurate. I felt good with my checks, the checks we needed to make. We executed well and had some great positive plays. We got some completions and did well.”
“I felt pretty good. I think things went smoothly,” Smith said. “On my behalf there were some good plays and some plays I can learn from, but overall I think we had a really good practice.”
We won’t give you a daily scorecard on the QBs but we’ll report on the developments each day. And Winslow had a good bit of advice for those trying to score this king of all Jets position competitions at home:
“Nobody’s the frontrunner. We may have ones, we may have twos, we may have threes. But guys go down and guys have to step up. It’s just about competition right now and it’s only day one.
CB Aaron Berry won’t be able to carve himself a piece of turf in the Jets secondary this season. He went down with what has been diagnosed as a season-ending knee injury during practice. … The RB position was in a sort of equilibrium. Joe McKnight was taken off the Non-Football Injury list today one day after he was placed on it and participated in practice. But Chris Ivory was on the bike with muscle soreness that he said he suffered right before the start of camp. Head coach Rex Ryan had no new info on RB Mike Goodson, placed on Reserve–Did Not Report on Thursday. RB John Griffin had at least one sharp play, a screen pass that he turned upfield for a long gainer, and FB Lex Hilliard got some leather time as well. … Attendance for the first practice of camp: 760.
Tags: Aaron Berry, Chris Ivory, Clyde Gates, Geno Smith, joe McKnight, Kellen Winslow, Mark Sanchez
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RB Mike Goodson’s short tenure with the Jets took another sharp turn today when the team announced that Goodson has been placed on its Reserve–Did Not Report list.
“We knew Mike was not going to report and we understand why he’s not here,” head coach Rex Ryan said shortly after he and the two team buses pulled up in front of their Glass Tower dorms on the SUNY Cortland campus late this afternoon. The team will have no further comment on the Goodson situation.
The Jets’ running backs position, which at least looked to be solidly stocked with the returns of Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, the trade for Chris Ivory and the signing of Goodson, was unexpectedly thinned out with Goodson’s non-reporting and word that McKnight has been placed on the Active–Non-Football Injury list.
When the Jets take the Cortland practice fields this morning, they will have only Ivory, Powell and first-year back John Griffin taking handoffs. The RBs meeting room also includes FBs Lex Hilliard and rookie Tommy Bohanon.
One player who did make the trip up I-81 to Cortland after not expecting to get the call for at least a little while longer was WR Braylon Edwards, whose signing was announced Thursday.
“It feels good. It feels like home,” Edwards said. “The people here have always made me feel welcome, and I feel like I’ve done my best work here. To be back in Cortland at the start of camp is a blessing.
“I was preparing myself as if this was going to happen, but I’d be a liar if I said I thought it was going to happen this fast,” he added. “I thought it was going to be a situation that happened later on in camp, possibly. But it happened before camp, I’m here to be able to start with them, so I was pretty surprised.”
Head coach Rex Ryan said the Jets’ coaches and trainers will have No. 17 on a “pitch count” but Edwards assured reporters it had nothing to do with his health.
“If I had an injury, I don’t think I’d be here right now,” he said. “I just think that’s a decision Rex wants to make. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older — I’m the big 3-0 now, so I think that might be having something to do with it. It’s definitely not an injury. I’m 100 percent healthy, for the first time in a while.”
Sheldon’s on Time Too
First-round rookie DL Sheldon Richardson is another Jet who wasn’t sure about being in the fold from the start of camp. He said “three or four days ago” contract negotiations weren’t progressing and he started to get worried about having to stay away until talks concluded.
“But my agent told me to keep cool and stay calm and we’ll get it done,” he said. “And we got it done.”
Richardson wasn’t shy about stating his odds for moving up the depth chart.
“I’ve got a couple of guys in front of me now,” he said, “but I’ve got a good chance to be a starter.”
Where’d that heat wave go? Cortland temperatures dipped into the upper 40s overnight and temps during the day got as high as only a breezy 74 . Today’s temps could also be around 75, with a heat index reading around 85, by the time Friday’s first practice of camp wraps up a little after noon.
Ryan said he thought WR Santonio Holmes, rehabbing his Lisfranc foot injury from last season, would be up in Cortland soon. Shortly after that, ESPN New York’s Larry Hardesty reported that he saw Tone around the SUNY Cortland campus. … Other transactions today: The Jets released two players with injury settlements: rookie DL Jake McDonough and first-year WR Thomas Mayo.
Tags: Bilal Powell, Braylon Edwards, Chris Ivory, joe McKnight, Mike Goodson, Sheldon Richardson
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