If you’re a filmmaker and a draftnik, or a draftnik and a pro football player, what better way to celebrate the draft than to make a film about it?
That’s what second-year Jets Demario Davis and Stephen Hill, the third- and second-round picks respectively in last year’s draft, are doing at this time.
Davis and Hill have been cast in the upcoming film “Draft Day,” which has been filming since Thursday at this year’s draft. The two Jets will play fictional potential first-round draft picks in the Green Room on draft day awaiting their selection, and both were reported to be filming their scenes at Radio City Music Hall this weekend.
If you think this is a dinky little college cinema-class production, think again. The film stars Kevin Costner, Denis Leary and Jennifer Garner and is directed by Ivan Reitman. The NFL has given its imprimatur to the production, meaning that while all the league people in the film are fictional, actual NFL team names and league/team marks will be used. No Miami Sharks here.
The film will also have roles for real live members of the NFL Network and ESPN crews covering the draft. And for a couple of young actors by the name of Davis and Hill.
Geno’s in the Building
Second-round pick Geno Smith checked out the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center once, during his predraft visit. Now he’s here today taking in things in a different light, as a new Jets employee. He’ll speak with reporters here this afternoon and that news conference will be streamed live on newyorkjets.com with an expected start time of 1 p.m. ET and then archived for viewing at your leisure.
We’ll hear more about Geno in the coming days, weeks and months, but for now here are some athletic family connections from his Wikipedia page:
Smith was born in Miami to Geno Smith Jr. and Tracey Sellers. His great-grandfather, Cyril Smith, was a bodybuilder and boxing referee from the Bahamas. His great-uncle, Danny Smith, was a record-breaking All-America hurdler at Florida State. And his cousin, Melvin Bratton, was a top RB at “the U” in the mid-Eighties who also played two seasons for the Broncos.
Dee and Sheldon Trending
Dee Milliner joins the Jets’ exclusive Alabama Alumni First-Round Club. Joe Namath, the top pick of the 1965 AFL Draft, began the club, and two other members, QB Richard Todd in 1976 and DE Marty Lyons in ’79, joined it before Milliner’s entry Thursday night.
Milliner was also the member of another fraternity at the top of Round 1. After the Jets took the corner at No. 9, the Titans went with G Chance Warmack at 10 and the Chargers reeled in T D.J. Fluker at 11. That’s three Alabama players in three picks, the first time that’s happened in Round 1 of an NFL draft since at least 1967, which as we all know by now was the first common draft between the AFL and NFL.
And Milliner and Richardson at No. 13 were part of another first-round trend. The Southeastern Conference had 12 players drafted Thursday night, the most of any conference in. Since 2000 the SEC has a solid lead on the conference field with 540 total draft picks. (Missouri joined the SEC last season.)
Tags: Dee Milliner, Demario Davis, Denis Leary, Draft Day, Geno Smith, Ivan Reitman, Kevin Costner, Sheldon Richardson, Stephen Hill
Posted in Randy Lange, Uncategorized | 153 Comments »
This is the time of year that tries Jets fans’ souls. It’s dark out, not just outside my window at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center but for the short-term future. The improvements will get made, but they’ll be made slowly, often beneath the radar, with no competitive evidence until the games begin again in August and September.
Until then, we’ll get you the information we can as soon while we go about the other business we do on the business side of the Jets’ operations. That means covering free agency and the draft as we can, introducing you to the new coaches as we will in the coming weeks, providing player stories before and after they return to the complex in April.
All the while we’ll be working on the 2013 Yearbook. This provides the opportunities to dig up some things that were hidden during the ’12 season or to give more credit — and more hope for the future — than might have been given out during the 6-10 campaign past.
One of those early amazing notes has to do with Joe McKnight’s kickoff returning. This was a hot topic after the 2011 season’s 31.6-yard average, the best by a qualifying returner in the last quarter of a century. McKnight didn’t have quite as explosive a ’12, but his 27.5 average was still third in the league.
“Devin Hester’s the best now. Hopefully I can have my name next to his or around his somewhere. That’d be great,” McKnight told me earnestly back in November in the middle of that second season as the Jets’ prime kick returner. “I used to look up to him. He wore No. 4 and I wore No. 4 [in high school]. I always wanted to go to the University of Miami. I was a big Clinton Portis fan and a big Devin Hester fan.”
McKnight may want to readjust his sites because while Hester’s excellent, Gale Sayers is historic. Joe accomplished something that hadn’t been done in the NFL since “the Kansas Comet” hit the scene in 1965-66.
McKnight’s 29.4-yard kickoff-return average in ’11-12 combined is the best average in back-to-back seasons in the NFL (minimum of 40 total returns) since Sayers’ 31.3 mark in those first two years of his too-short Pro Football Hall of Fame career. Here are the top six returners’ numbers in this category in the last 50 seasons:
|Gale Sayers, CHI||1965-66||44||1378||31.3||3|
|Abe Woodson, SF||1963-64||61||1815||29.8||3|
|Joe McKnight, NYJ||2011-12||73||2145||29.4||2|
|Travis Williams, GB||1967-68||46||1338||29.1||4|
|Jerry Azumah, CHI||2002-03||41||1191||29.05||2|
|Brad Smith, NYJ||2009-10||60||1742||29.03||3|
One question might well arise in regard to this factoid: Was Joe helped by the new rule that placed kickoffs on the kicking team’s 35 again with the 2011 season? In fact, that could be argued. The average return in the NFL in ’11 was 23.8, the average in ’12 was 23.6. Those are two of the best three season averages for the league since 1960. A high tide lifts all boats and surely McKnight’s average benefited.
Yet on the other hand, where are all the other 29-yard returners in 2011-12? McKnight’s the only one, so while his 29.4 isn’t as impressive compared to the league as even Brad Smith’s 29.03 for the Jets in 2009-10, it still stands on its own merits as one of the best two-season kickoff-return efforts since the birth of the AFL.
Now if Joe can avoid injury and avoid putting the ball on the turf better — and the NFL doesn’t legislate kickoffs out of existence — he’ll start to build his rep as one of pro football’s best return men over a three-year period as the 2013 season unfolds.
We Hardly Knew Ye
A few ex-Jets sightings on the transaction wire: DL Marcus Dixon and WR Mardy Gilyard both signed with Kansas City on Monday. In case anyone missed it, LB Aaron Maybin signed with Cincinnati on Jan. 25.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Abe Woodson, Brad Smith, Gale Sayers, joe McKnight, Kansas Comet, Travis Williams
Posted in Randy Lange, Uncategorized | 164 Comments »
Our congratulations one last time to Antonio Cromartie and LaRon Landry for their participation in Sunday’s Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
Of course, it was a long Hawaiian afternoon for anyone associated with the AFC’s pass defense as the Nationals racked up 420 passing yards, six TDs to one INT and a Pro Bowl-record 62 points in the pullaway over the Americans. But Cro and LaRon, playing as secondary backups and on special teams, did make their positive contributions as well in the annual all-star game.
Cromartie had three first-half solo tackles in the game. The first came after a 5-yard first-quarter reception by none other than Giants WR Victor Cruz. The others came after receptions by Vincent Jackson and Larry Fitzgerald.
Cro also had an offside on a field goal attempt that wiped out an AFC interception-return TD, but that sounds a little more devastating than it was. He was premature in timing the field goal snap on the first play of the fourth quarter. NFC holder Thomas Morstead, with No. 31 closing in, picked up the snap and tried to pass to eventual Pro Bowl MVP Kyle Rudolph, but Eric Berry picked the pass and took off for an 86-yard score.
Cromartie also couldn’t handle a kickoff-return pitch from Joshua Cribbs late in the third quarter, with the fumble being charged to Cribbs and the NFC recovering at the AFC-11 to set up the above nullified field goal. But Cro also later took a lateral from C.J. Spiller on another kickoff return for 23 yards to start the drive that ended with A.J. Green’s third TD reception and the game’s last score.
Landry had one solo tackle, also after a Cruz catch, but otherwise had a low-key game.
Hot and Cold
The weather was a cloudy, breezy 78° for the Pro Bowl, a far cry from this morning in North Jersey, where it’s 28, snowing and with the threat of freezing rain continuing through midday. Last Friday it was 7° in the neighborhood surrounding the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, and after a brief spring fling Wednesday with temps expected to rise to 60, it’s back into the freezer into and through Super Bowl Sunday.
Which naturally raises the question about the weather exactly a year from now, when the first outdoors Super Bowl in the Northeast will be played at MetLife Stadium. The NFL and the region did a little preview of Super Bowl XLVIII last week but what about snow, freezing rain, winds?
What about the cold? Let’s start with that. It seems Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league are embracing a cold-weather game most of all. It would harken back to the good old days of NFL championships on “the frozen tundra.” Here are the “unthawed three” big games in league history, along with some coincidental notes on wind-chill at each of the games (home teams in CAPS):
Dec. 31, 1967 — PACKERS 21, Cowboys 17, Lambeau Field.
Temp: –13° F. Wind: 14.5 mph. “Old” Wind-Chill: –48.
“The Ice Bowl” has always been the NFL’s cold standard, the game when officials shouted rather than tweeted so their metal whistles wouldn’t bond to their lips, a fan in the stands died of exposure and several players were treated for frostbite. The agreed-upon temp at the 1 p.m. CST kickoff has always been minus-13, may also have been at the end, and so it is altogether appropriate that Packers QB Bart Starr sneaked over the goal line with 13 seconds to play for the TD that won the NFL’s ’67 championship.
The 48-below-zero wind-chill is also legendary, although the National Weather Service switched to a more scientific and realistic wind-chill equation in 2001. In NOAA’s online feature on the game, the “new wind-chill” for the game was –36° at kickoff, and during the game it ranged from –37 to –33, getting slightly “balmier” in the third quarter.
Jan. 10, 1982 — BENGALS 27, Chargers 7, Riverfront Stadium.
Temp: –9°. Wind: Northwest, 20-35 mph. “Old” Wind-Chill: –59°.
”The Freezer Bowl” was the quintessential game demonstrating that West Coast teams don’t like traveling to the frozen Midwest/Northeast. This AFC title game has always been held up as the wind-chill winner at –59, but that had to be taken near the opening kickoff with a 27-mph wind gust. NOAA’s readings from the nearby Cincinnati airport showed temps rising slightly and the winds staying steady at 23 mph. Translated to the “new” readings, the wind-chill that day fluctuating between –37 and –23. Not cold enough to force those Bengals O-linemen to put on long sleeves, yet still, in NOAA’s opinion, “arguably the most brutal football weather in NFL history.”
Jan. 20, 2008 — Giants 23, PACKERS 20, OT, Lambeau Field.
Temp: –1°. Wind: West 12 mph. Recorded Wind-Chill: –23°.
On the way to their first Super win over the Patriots, the Giants had to vanquish Brett Favre and the Pack in their frozen Lambeau shrine. Favre played like a 78-year-old guy in search of his heated blankie rather than the 38-year-old master of the tundra that he used to be, with a horrid fourth quarter and a game-chilling interception to Corey Webster on the second play of overtime. The wind-chill for this game was listed as minus-23 but we’re not sure where that came from. The recorded temp and wind at kickoff produce a minus-19° wind-chill. Still pretty darned cold.
To bring it all home for the Jets, here are the three coldest games we know of in Green & White annals:
Dec. 26, 1993 — BUFFALO 16, Jets 14, Rich Stadium
Temp: 9°. Wind: WNW 23 mph, gusting to 30 mph. Stated Wind-Chill: –28°
This appears to be the Jets’ coldest game ever. Just ask Cary Blanchard, who tried three times to put a leather rock through the uprights, from 27, 41 and 42 yards away, for the points that might have won this game, only to have each kick pushed wide left by the Western New York winds. Again, not sure for the source of the official wind-chill. With the old formula, it would’ve been –32, with the gusts dropping it to –37. Under the new formula, the WC would have varied from –13 to –15.
Dec. 17, 1972 — Browns 26, JETS 10, Shea Stadium
Temp: 24°. Wind: WNW 40-45 mph. “Old” Wind-Chill: –15°
The season finale at Shea between the Browns, who had already clinched the AFC’s one wild-card slot, vs. the Jets, who were shooting for 8-6 but were out of the running. With Joe Namath and Al Woodall sidelined, Bob Davis started at QB and completed five of 12 passes for 44 yards (24 net after losing 20 yards on three sacks). Winning QB Mike Phipps was more effective in the gusts, although not much more accurate at 7-for-17. The new wind-chill hovered around 3° to 4°.
Dec. 23, 1989 — Bills 37, JETS 0, Meadowlands
Temp: 16°. Wind: NNW 13-20 mph. “Old” Wind-Chill: –11°
Another cold, frosty one poured against Buffalo, this one at home, and another bitter defeat, not only due to the atmosphere (new wind-chill from 1 to –2) as Joe Walton coached his final game for the Jets before being dismissed.
That regime change, to GM Dick Steinberg/HC Bruce Coslet, didn’t generate much more warmth in the ensuing four seasons. Now, after a 2012 season-finale loss to the Bills (15° wind-chill), it’s up to the semi-new regime of John Idzik/Rex Ryan to generate traction. Super Bowl XLVIII? Not even going there at this time. Let’s get through XLVII in balmy New Orleans (expected game-time weather inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome: 70°, wind of 0 mph), then take on one day at a time, one game at a time in ’13 en route to becoming an all-weather perennial contender.
Tags: Aloha Stadium, Antonio Cromartie, Cary Blanchard, Joe Walton, John Idzik, LaRon Landry, MetLife Stadium, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange, Uncategorized | 116 Comments »
Here are today’s first-half tweets for the Jets-Chargers game at MetLife Stadium, in case you missed them on Twitter. Follow Bob Wischusen, Eric Allen and me for our tweets during each Jets game on https://twitter.com/nyjets.
#RL Jets gameday captains today: Antonio Cromartie, Greg McElroy, Garrett McIntyre, Robert Malone, Antonio Allen.
#RL Chargers win opening coin toss, will defer their choice to 2nd half. Jets are 4-0 this yr in games in which opps win toss and defer.
#RL Micheal Spurlock 63-yd punt return for SD touchdown 1:59 into game. First opponent PR TD since Phillip Buchanon @ OAK in 2003.
#RL Greg McElroy screen to Shonn Greene for 30-yd reception. Longest reception by a RB this season.
#RL Jeremy Kerley to Clyde Gates out of Wildcat for 42-yd completion to SD-11. Kerley now 2-for-2 for 83 yds passing in his career.
#EA That was Shonn Greene’s 2nd longest catch of his career. He had a 36-yarder against KC last Dec. 11.
#EA Greene sets a career-high with his 7th rushing TD.
#RL Shonn Greene goes over from 1 yd out for TD to tie score at 7-7. Greene’s 7th TD of the season.
#EA 5 of Shonn Greene’s 7 Rush TDs in 2012 have come at MetLife Stadium. He is closing in on 1,000 for the year.
#RL Jets score 1st first-half offensive TD in 5 games, 2nd first-half offensive TD in last 48 drives, 8 games.
#RL Jets KO cover team, which came into weekend 2nd in NFL in most inside-20 kickoffs, get No. 24 as Micheal Spurlock is tackled at 19.
#EA Greene has another TD – that is No. 8 on the season. 2 Trips to the Red Zone – 2 TDs.
#RL Greene from 1 yd out again, Jets lead 14-7. First time Jets are in double digits in 1st qtr since 10 pts vs JAX in 2009 Game 9…
#RL … first time Jets have had 2 1st-qtr TDs since 2009 Game 7 @ OAK, first time 2 1st-qtr TDs at home since 2009 Game 3 vs TEN.
#EA In 2012, Jets have had 44 Trips Inside the Red Zone and scored 23 TDs. That is a 52% TD% now after Greene’s 2 scores in the 1st.
#RL Quinton Coples sacks Wildcat QB Ronnie Brown at SD-2 for his 5th sack of season, taking the Jets’ team lead.
#EA In the previous 7 first halves combined, the Jets had 16 offensive points. They have 14 late in the 1st vs. San Diego.
#RL Jets have 14-7 lead at the end of 1st qtr, largest 1st-qtr lead since Game 1, when they led BUF 7-0.
#RL After timeout, Nick Novak comes out for 51-yd FG, which he hits. Equals his longest FG this season, is longest by Jets opp this season.
#EA Greene: 8-20. Needs 29 Yards to Reach 1,000.
#EA Jets 3rd Down D Dominance Continues. SD 0-for-5 in 1st Half.
#RL Jets face 3rd-and-9 at their 25 at 2-minute warning for 1st half. They’re 1-for-4 so far in converting 3rd downs.
#RL Greg McElroy to TE Hayden Smith for his first pro reception, 16 yds on third-and-9 for first down.
#EA Wow the Jets get the big Australian going on the throwback screen for Hayden Smith! His 1st career catch.
#RL Jets go into locker room with 14-10 lead, their first halftime lead in 5 games or since 13-7 at St. Louis.
#RL Besides lead on scoreboard, Jets also hold edges in 1st downs (10-5), yards (142-76), possession (17:24-12:36). No turnovers in half.
Tags: Braylon Edwards, Greg McElroy, Hayden Smith, Micheal Spurlock, Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, Shonn Greene
Posted in Uncategorized | 93 Comments »
Mark Sanchez has had an “excellent week of practice,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said today.
“I see a lot of energy from him, I see him bouncing around,” Ryan said at his news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center following this morning’s final practice before Sunday’s game at Jacksonville. “You can tell he feels good, he feels good about the plan, he feels confident.”
Yet Sanchez, playing for the first time since Ryan pulled him in the third quarter of the Arizona game last Sunday, could be without one of his biggest security blankets of the past four seasons. TE Dustin Keller (ankle) did not practice again today and is listed as doubtful for the Jaguars.
“With me, doubtful usually means he’s not going,” Ryan said. “It’s unfortunate, but this is like the sixth time this season we haven’t had Dustin.”
If Keller is inactive for the Jags, it will be the fifth game he’s missed this season, and he had one-catch contributions in the Buffalo opener and the Indianapolis game sandwiched around that early four-game hiatus due to his aggravated hamstring injury.
DK is on pace for 48 targets, 37 catches and 423 yards, which would all be career lows since his 2008 rookie season. He was the Jets’ receptions leader in 2010 and ’11, the first Jets TE with that distinction since Mickey Shuler in 1984-85.
That’s a difficult security blanket to reweave, but Jeff Cumberland has at least filled in well in his first full, healthy season with the Green & White. His 35 targets, 21 catches, 233 yards are close to Keller’s line and his two TD catches match Keller’s scores. And even with Keller missing for a stretch, the tight end numbers this year are pretty close to the previous three seasons, with the average yards per catch at the position (11.3) the lowest since 2008 yet not far off the Keller-influenced 11.5 for the position in ’09.
Injury Statuses for the Game
As for the rest of the Jets’ injured players, only WR Clyde Gates (concussion) has been declared out, and NT Damon Harrison (ankle) is the only other “doubtful.” There are three questionables: QB Tim Tebow (ribs), WR Stephen Hill (knee) and NT Sione Po‘uha (low back), all of whom were limited in practice.
All 17 other Jets on the report are probable for Jacksonville, including RB-KR Joe McKnight (ankle/ribs), who practiced full. Click here for the full report.
Jacksonville’s final report is one of extremes. Six of their 13 injured players are out for the Jets: RBs Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) and Rashad Jennings (concussion), WR Cecil Shorts (concussion), OL Mike Brewster (hand), CB Aaron Ross (calf) and DE George Selvie (concussion).
The other seven are all probable: S Dwight Lowery (foot), CBs Derek Cox (hamstring) and Rashean Mathis (groin), D-linemen Tyson Alualu (calf) and Austen Lane (foot), C Brad Meester (foot), and FB Greg Jones (thigh).
A Tale of Two “Strengths”
ESPN has noted that the Jets have gone from first in the NFL to last in one interesting measure: strength of schedule.
In the first 12 games of the season, Jets opponents’ combined record is 83-59-2, a .583 winning percentage that is first in the league. In other words, the Jets had the NFL’s toughest schedule (based only on opponents’ combined record) in the first three-quarters of the season.
The final four Jets opponents’ composite record is 15-33-0, a .313 percentage that is 32nd in the league. The Jets’ final quarter is the league’s “easiest” finish. Ominously, with Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati at least two games ahead of them for AFC Wild Card berths, that favorable final quarter may not be enough to provide a 2009-like storybook regular-season stretch run into the postseason grid.
But as Mike Westhoff said this week, “I’m a big believer that until someone tells us that we’re not in it, we can finish strongly and be in this thing, so that’s how I’m seeing it every week. You just don’t know in our crazy business, and it’s our responsibility to fight through that to the very end.”
And ours as well.
Tags: Dustin Keller, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jeff Cumberland, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan
Posted in Uncategorized | 30 Comments »
Here are today’s first-half tweets for Jets-Patriots at Gillette Stadium, in case you missed them on Twitter. Follow Bob Wischusen, Eric Allen and me for our tweets during each Jets game on https://twitter.com/nyjets.
#RL Jets gameday captains: Mike DeVito, Bryan Thomas, Vlad Ducasse, Lex Hilliard and Marcus Dowtin, making his pro debut.
#RL For the third straight week, the Jets have won the opening coin toss and have deferred. Under Rex Ryan, Jets have deferred 26 times.
#RL Jeremy Kerley has 24- and 26-yard receptions and 3-yard end-around on Jets’ first 6 offensive plays.
#RL Shonn Greene 1-yd TD run. Jets’ first 1st-qtr TD @ NE since 2008. Jets had gone 17 opening-quarter possessions in last 7 games @ NE w/o a TD.
#RL Jets’ TD comes w/ 6:09 gone in opening quarter. It’s Jets’ first 1st-quarter lead @ NE in last 8 games, since THU night win here in ’08.
#RL But Devin McCourty ties it back up with 104-yd KOR TD. 1st opponent KOR-TD since Ted Ginn for MIA had 2 in third quarter on 11.01.09.
#RL RG Dan Connolly (illness) return questionable. Patriots now playing w/o both guard starters on OFF, both safety starters on DEF.
#RL TE Jeff Cumberland has a hand injury. His return to this game is questionable.
#RL Bad handoff from Mark Sanchez to Shonn Greene results in safety. Only 2nd opponents safety in last 8 seasons.
#RL Quinton Coples gets a third-down sack of Tom Brady. It’s the rookie’s team-leading third sack of the season, all in the last 2 games.
#RL Jeremy Kerley tips a 22-yard pass away from Alfonzo Dennard to himself. Kerley now has 4 catches, 77 yds.
#RL Fourth-down penalty was called on No. 54, Nick Bellore, but replay showed No. 39, Antonio Allen, got a Patriots facemask on the play.
#RL Nick Folk sets up for a 54-yd field goal to end the 1st half. His career long is the franchise-record 56-yder he hit @ DEN in 2010.
#RL Folk’s 54-yard field goal is good. 2 seconds left in 1st half, Jets trail 16-10…
#RL Folk’s kick is tied for the 6th-longest FG in Jets franchise history. He also has the longest at 56 yds, 4 55-yd kicks are tied for 2nd.
Tags: Alfonzo Dennard, Gillette Stadium, Jeremy Kerley, Mark Sanchez, New England Patriots, Quinton Coples
Posted in Uncategorized | 124 Comments »
Tweets from the first half of the Jets-Dolphins game that appeared on our nyjets Twitter page, under the hashtag #RL
Jets game captains: DBrickashaw Ferguson, Yeremiah Bell, Tim Tebow, Bilal Powell, Clyde Gates, Dedrick Epps.
Miami wins opening coin toss, elects to defer KO/receive decision till 2nd half. 4th time MIA has won toss vs NYJ, deferred, since 2009.
WR Santonio Holmes draws pass interference on CB Nolan Carroll. Holmes’ 5th penalty drawn against opponents last 2 games.
Mark Sanchez trying to find WR Clyde Gates, throws INT to CB Richard Marshall. Sanchez’s 4th INT last 5 quarters vs. MIA.
Daniel Thomas powers over from yd out for TD. Dolphins also opened 2009 game in MIA vs. Jets with TD drive.
Santonio Holmes draws illegal contact on Richard Marshall down left sideline. That’s 6 penalties drawn by Tone vs. opponents last 2 wks.
Dan Carpenter 21-yd FG gives Dolphins 10-0 lead, their largest lead over the Jets in the teams’ last 7 games at Sun Life Staidum.
Personal punt protector Tim Tebow takes direct punt snap on 4th-and-3 at Jets 25, gets 5 yds for 1st down.
Rookie WR Stephen Hill can’t hold 3rd-down TD pass in end zone, Nick Folk comes on for 33-yd FG, cuts MIA lead to 10-3, 1:50 left 1H.
Nick Folk, who opened last season with 11-for-11 on FG tries, is now 4-for-4 this season.
Jets trail Dolphins at half, 10-3. It’s Dolphins’ first halftime lead in their last nine home games against the Jets.
Dolphins lead in yardage (156-114), takeaways (1-0), Jets ahead in 1st downs (10-9), possession time (16:03-13:57).
Posted in Uncategorized | 81 Comments »
All kinds of people find their ways onto NFL rosters for the training camp season. They’re all physically and mentally tough enough, they all have their stories to tell. But some just seem to have an overflow of that necessary football mindset.
Guys from Texas, I’ve found, are often like that. They’ve been steeped in the traditions of the game from just after they learned to walk. They’ve played the game at a high level in high school and then college. But now some find themselves in the pros and realize it’s a brand new world, there are new jobs to be won and goals to be accomplished, and it’s just time to tighten the chinstrap, go to work and get ‘er done.
Terrance Ganaway strikes me as one of those guys.
Ganaway was a decorated player at DeKalb High, rushing for 6,587 career yards that at the time was the 26th-most in Texas prep history. Then he built his college career to a peak with last year’s 1,547-yard, 21-touchdown senior finale for Baylor. The Jets drafted him in the sixth round in April.
He’s in the middle of training camp now, and perhaps the biggest thing on his mind at the moment is … fullback.
When was the last time he played fullback?
“Never. Never,” Ganaway told me evenly. “I just know that fullback is a different breed of man. I’ve really got to get my mind mentally prepared for that. But at the end of the day it’s just football, man. We’ve been playing this game in pads since we first started. It’s just a part of the game.”
Ganaway is a bigger bopper of a running back similar to Shonn Greene’s build and style — an “A” back, in coordinator Tony Sparano’s parlance. He said he’s at 235 pounds now. He’s taking reps at tailback but with Josh Baker’s broken nose and Sparano’s search for versatility and depth behind John Conner, Ganaway lately has been getting reps at fullback as well.
Does he view the position addition as a minus? Absolutely not.
“I just think of it as me being that much more valuable to the team,” he told my partner, Eric Allen, as we double-teamed him for newyorkjets.com. “For me, special teams is a real big thing, then second fullback on the team, third or fourth running back on the team — I think that’s a travel guy. I don’t know, I’m not in the office calling all those shots, but I want to be the most marketable player that I can be on this team and fullback helps me do that.”
“Terrance did a nice job in there, so that was good,” head coach Rex Ryan said of Ganaway’s FB baptism. “He’s a funny guy and a great guy to be around. He’s always smiling. He’s about as positive of a person as you can think of and a tough guy. He’s going to win. He’s a competitor and those are the guys you want to hand the ball to. That just gives us two more options and it’s great for us.”
Tough guy? It exudes from Ganaway’s pores. EA asked him about putting the pads on for the first time on Sunday.
“It’s real nice to get on the pads,” he said. “You get to feel who’s really wanting to play football and who’s just wanting to be a T-shirt guy. I think I really want to play football.”
I asked Ganaway if he’s got enough time to learn the new position as well as he knows his primary position and add it to his repertoire so he becomes a member of the Jets’ travel team.
“I don’t have time. Time is not on my side,” he said. “I’ve just got to get in there and learn the plays. I’m not worried about doing something that I’m not able to do because I feel like I’m talented enough, smart enough and physical enough to play football. I’ve just got to learn the offense from the fullback and running back perspectives and I’ll be good to go.”
It’s been done before, but to see LaRon Landry do it adds an extra small chapter to the book on the Jets’ safety as a tough, driven, physical defender. No. 30 missed an interception that he felt he should have had in Sunday’s practice. As a result, on the hottest morning so far at SUNY Cortland, Landry performed an on-field penance — pushups — before heading to the sideline. I didn’t count them but it seemed as if he might have done 30 of them.
There was no camp practice today, with the Jets players getting their first mandated day off under the new CBA rules. They’ll return for padded practices Wednesday and Thursday (open to the public) and Friday (closed) before turning up the juice just a bit for the Green & White practice on Saturday evening, followed by their next day off on Sunday.
Tags: John Conner, Josh Baker, Rex Ryan, SUNY Cortland, Terrance Ganaway, training camp
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“Dirty 30″ is on the scene at the Jets minicamp this week, only adding to the enthusiasm that the defense has been displaying.
“Yeah, they give me a hard time for not being here,” safety LaRon Landry said in front of his locker after today’s open practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “You know, ‘Who’s the new guy? Who’s this guy?’ It’s all fun and games, but when it comes down to it, all the guys welcomed me with opened arms.
“I play with passion, just like the other guys, so I’m looking forward to being an addition. They already got it. I’m just trying to add to it.”
Now before we go too far, we should say that Landry, who wears No. 30 and has been called, lovingly by the Redskins, not so much by opponents, “Dirty 30,” is not practicing with the Jets yet. His heel rehab, which he underwent away from the facility for weeks, continues.
But on the other hand, the prognosis is definitely upbeat for Landry laying some beats on friends and foes this summer at training camp.
“LaRon is way ahead of where our trainers thought he’d be,” head coach Rex Ryan said this morning. “He thought it was best he work out with people who are very familiar with him, and you kind of worry about that a little bit. But it’s a real positive that he’s come back and he’s obviously done a lot of work there. You saw him running in the back of the end zone. We’ve just got to be smart the next couple of days that he doesn’t overdo things. He’s on the right track and we feel good about it.”
“I’m progressing and things are looking real well — I was kind of shocked myself,” Landry said. “I can’t wait to get back out there and be with the team.”
When the Jets signed Landry as an unrestricted free agent in March, both sides knew it might take a few months for him to get back into form. He assured reporters today that his Achilles is not the issue anymore. It’s just the heel bone that’s connected to the tendon.
“It’s more of a bone issue. The Achilles is totally healed,” he said, describing his rehab regimen of one treatment with AmnioMatrix, which is described as a “cryopreserved liquid wound covering derived from amniotic tissue and cells,” as well as “a couple of PRPs,” platelet-rich plasma transfusion that has been used not only by Landry but by Tiger Woods and other athletes to accelerate the natural healing process.
The upshot is that while he’s still not committing to a definite schedule to return to full team activity, he’s said as far as running, cutting, backpedaling and other safety stuff, “I’m doing it all. Now I’m just trying to perfect it. … Every day is a steppingstone and it’s getting better and better.”
As for the mental part of joining the Jets defense, Landry said, “I’ve had my playbook. It wasn’t like I wasn’t into it. It’s just basically getting back out there and communicating with the guys, making sure we’re on the same page. That’s the biggest key, communication, in the secondary.”
Now can Landry mesh with holdover Eric Smith and fellow recent arrival Yeremiah Bell quickly enough to combat the Gronkowski-Hernandez menace and other TE depth charts? Some observers have concerns, but Ryan feels that when they’re all healthy and humming along, they can get the job done.
“I think these guys can do a lot more than just go in there and blast you on the running game,”: Ryan said of his two experienced newcomers. “Landry, when he’s healthy, is a 4.3-something-in-the-40 type of guy. He’s got tons of God-given ability. Yeremiah gets it done — he’s as fast as he needs to be. [The Dolphins] for their situation, they felt better putting him down in the box, and that’s hard to argue with. You see the impact plays he makes. For us, we were looking for all-around safeties, and we have three right now that we feel really good about.”
And if Landry needs to bring someone up with him from back home to help with his rehab and transition and keep him company, well, he’s got the ready companion in Gucci, his pet Capuchin monkey who has been a minor social-media animal celebrity.
“These guys asked me to bring Gucci up. Yeah, I’ll definitely bring him up,” Landry said. “He’s pretty cool.”
Ryan detailed his injured and tweaked players again this morning. Not practicing besides Landry: DT Marcus Dixon, TE Brian Linthicum, WR Patrick Turner, WR Jordan White. Limited: TE Jeff Cumberland, WR DaMarcus Ganaway, WR Stephen Hill, WR Santonio Holmes, G Brandon Moore, G Matt Slauson, LB Bryan Thomas.
Rex on if Tim Tebow will get any reps ahead of Sanchez at QB in, let’s say, training camp: “We’ll see. I would think there may be a time when he does that. Right now he’ll be with the twos.” … And Rex on any Darrelle Revis contract “situation”: “Everybody knows how I feel about Darrelle. Any contract talk, that’s going to be Mike Tannenbaum’s deal. … I’m focused on coaching this football team, and that’s what I’ll do.”
With the weather cooperating this morning, today’s practice was opened to fans and 750 were in attendance, ringing the Jets’ grass field. Thursday’s practice is also open and (cross our fingers) the weather appears to be cooperating again. Gates at the Atlantic Health facility open at 10 a.m., Jets Fest and Jets Shop also open at 10, and practice begins at 11 a.m. Admission and parking are free but parking is limited and it’s standing room only at the practice.
Tags: Darrelle Revis, Eric Smith, LaRon Landry, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, Tim Tebow, veteran minicamp, Yeremiah Bell
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We’ve been hearing a lot about the bodily transformations going on in the Jets locker room thanks in part to the guidance from strength coach Bill Hughan and his staff. Bart Scott’s dropped 20 pounds and is looking, in Mike Pettine’s words, “is running around like a young Bart.” Kenrick Ellis has shed 15 pounds from last year’s 346-pound playing weight and wants to get rid of 5 more. Joe McKnight told us he’s added 15 pounds of muscle and lost no speed.
Add Nick Bellore to the list. As he walks through the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room, there’s a sense that his back muscles are rippling just a little bit more than the mind’s eye recalled a year ago, when he was the Jets’ undrafted rookie find out of Central Michigan.
But the Jets’ second-year linebacker and kick-coverage leader said the numbers in his case might lie.
“I weigh about the same as last year, around 245,” Bellore said. “But I’ve improved my body. Moving around, I can tell how I’m looking and how I feel. I’ve got the size to be able to handle my linebacker duties and I still have my speed for all the special-teams stuff.”
For Bellore, that’s important. Mike Westhoff and Ben Kotwica, watching glumly as the Jets had to release their top three ST tacklers/performers from the ’10 team in Lance Laury, James Ihedigbo and Brad Smith, needed some holdovers and new talent to step up and fill the void. They got that from the likes of Josh Mauga, Garrett McIntyre and Jamaal Westerman … and Bellore.
The Jets early on noted that Bellore could be one of their undrafted signees who might be able to break through to the roster. And they were right. He led the Jets with 22 solo and 31 total kick-coverage tackles (Mauga was second with 14 and 20). Many of the stops came for the kickoff team, which was sixth in the NFL in opponents’ average start after kickoffs (21.2-yard line) and third in the league in inside-the-20 stops on KO returns (26, behind New England’s 30 and Atlanta’s 28).
Bellore acknowledges he’s got a leg up on all the new guys in green trying to gain spots on the six special units.
“I think camp’s going to be easier for me,” he said after the last OTA practice of last week. “I know what’s around the corner. I’m more comfortable. I can just play football. That first year, you’ve got to meet everybody, get to know everybody.”
Now he’s got to fend off those who are out to bump him down the depth chart if not off the roster. The most dangerous player for Bellore probably is third-round rookie Demario Davis, whom Westhoff was very pleased to hear had fallen to the Jets with the 77th pick of last month’s draft. He has the speed and smarts to make an impact on specials right away and the upside to grow into a player at inside ‘backer behind David Harris and Scott, which is where Mauga and Bellore now reside.
“Demario’s a nice kid and a good football player. He picks things up fast,” Bellore assessed. “I have to take special teams and lead the group by making plays. Dave’s in front of me and he’s a great player. We have a bunch of great inside linebackers. I’m just continuing to learn so I don’t miss a beat.”
Bellore knows what’s ahead. He knows it won’t be easy. But he knows he’s done it before and he plans to do it again.
“It’s never going to be easy for me,” he said. “I’m always going to have to fight the odds.”
Tags: Bart Scott, Ben Kotwica, David Harris, Demario Davis, Garrett McIntyre, Josh Mauga, Mike Westhoff, Nick Bellore
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