This week we’re assembling, with the help of our partners at the Daily News, this year’s Training Camp Pullout Section, which will appear in the News this week and will be available to fans arriving at SUNY Cortland for the first practices open to the public beginning this Friday, July 26.
In pulling together the content for this section, I spoke with several Jets assistant coaches, who gave of their time away from the Atlantic Health Training Center to discuss some of the things Jets fans can expect to see when they arrive at our upstate New York summer headquarters to watch practices.
I also asked them to go back into their personal vaults for one or two poignant memories of training camps when they were the players and not the coaches. These reminiscences will not appear in the pullout, but we’ll pop several of them up here on the Radar over the next four days to whet everyone’s appetite for the footballs that are about to fly.
Batting leadoff is Anthony Lynn, the Jets’ running backs coach who has added the title of assistant head coach this year. Lynn opened his trip down memory lane by explaining why he feels the Cortland experience is important to the current crop of Jets.
“Really, anytime you go off somewhere and get into this daily routine of dawn to dusk, it’s mentally challenging and physically challenging,” Lynn said. “You try to prepare your mind for it. You know it’s going to be hard.”
How difficult is the experience? Lynn went back to his playing days, when he and TE Shannon Sharpe and the rest of the Broncos in the late Nineties encamped at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
“I looked forward to those training camps, but I also prepared my mind mentally for them, too,” he said. “A lot of times you’d go to sleep in the dorm at night and the next morning you’d wake up and the guy next to you was not there. A lot of teams had ways to signal things like that. For us, Shannon Sharpe rang a bell that would wake everyone up. We heard the bell, we knew someone had tapped out.”
Some have argued that with the new rules in place, camp is not as tough as it was in those days. Lynn doesn’t see it that way.
“In a way the rules have made it more intense,” he said. “When I played, we were in camp for five or six weeks. You could be a little more laid back because you had time.
“Now camp is 3½, four weeks. It’s very intense. That’s why I like going away to Cortland. To me, that’s when the team is built, when the chemistry is set. You see who the leaders and who the followers are going to be. There’s nothing wrong with being a follower, but at training camp you see the leaders emerge. I always looked forward to that and I still do today.”
Grantland Celebrates Wilkerson
Grantland.com is the website started by ESPN personality Bill Simmons in 2011 that covers sports and pop culture. And recently Grantland trained its eye on Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson in Robert Mays’ story headlined The All-22 All-Star Team: Muhammad Wilkerson and the New Versatility. It’s a thoughtful study on Mo’s game complete with Xs-and-Os type analysis and a few embedded videos.
The All-22 Team, Mays explains, is an attempt to provide insight on the NFL’s 22 most underappreciated players, and Mo classifies as such, although the way he finished the second half of 2012, I don’t think he’ll continue to qualify in 2013. In a key paragraph in the piece, Mays explains why new Jets DC Dennis Thurman loves Wilkerson:
Plenty of players can shift between these two spots, but few have the strength to hold up in the 3-4 and the quickness to be truly effective in the 4-3. Fewer still can make that sack and then hold up as a nose guard just a few plays later. Outside of Justin Smith, it’s hard to think of a player who’s as useful in as many different roles. “There’s a saying that we have, ‘The more you can do,’ ” Thurman says. “The more you can do, the more you increase your value. And he has tremendous value.”
Tags: Anthony Lynn, Denver Broncos, Muhammad Wilkerson, Shannon Sharpe
Posted in Randy Lange | 12 Comments »
Right tackle Austin Howard has a name for the situation. “When it’s third-and-short,” he said, “it’s go time.”
And the Jets have green-lighted themselves to the head of the NFL when it comes to converting those plays. For instance, of all the runners who have picked up every third-and-1 they’ve attempted this season, Shonn Greene is first among equals, going 7-for-7 in his carries.
If we extend the definition to third-and-1-or-2 and fourth-and-1-or-2, when the Jets run the ball in those situations, they’re the only perfect team left in the NFL at 13-for-13, and they have also led the league for 2011-12 (27-for-33, 81.8%), 2010-12 (49-for-61, 80.3%), and 2009-12 (76-for-98, 77.6%).
“We definitely want to be the aggressor, be physical on those plays,” said Howard.
“We don’t do any gimmicks, we don’t do anything tricky like that,” LG Matt Slauson added. “Anthony Lynn has a great plan every week. But when you have a line like ours and a big bruiser-type running back like Shonn, we want that responsibility on us. We feel like we’re big and strong and we’re able to get that yard.”
Lynn, the Jets’ RBs coach since ’09, explained the philosophy behind the Green & White’s third-and-short success.
“We want to have more completions and rushing attempts than anybody we play. If you do that, you’re going to win a lot of football games,” Lynn said. “But in order to do that, you have to be able to extend drives. And if you’re committed to running the football, you’re going to find yourself in third-and-short a lot. So we spend a lot of time in the offseason studying that situation and what fits our personnel the best. We really take time and we game-plan it.
“Shonn is built for that situation. He’s a power guy, and a lot of times he gets you more than 1 yard. And when there’s nothing there, you have to have a guy who can win, and he’s done a good job of that. But our double teams up front on the line, those have been outstanding also. Vertical push is something we emphasize a lot in our offense.”
It’s not just about short yardage for Greene and the Jets’ blockers but also about goal line, with many of the same concepts applied to both. But when it comes to GL, it’s been a mixed back for the Jets. Greene’s had two 1-yard touchdown runs this season, vs. Buffalo in the opener and at New England to successfully conclude the opening drive Sunday.
But goal line, considered by the Jets to be plays inside the opponents’ 5-yard line, hasn’t been nearly as successful as the garden-variety short-yardage plays.
“Toward the end of this season, I hope we get back into the top five in the league,” said Lynn. “Right now we’re on the outside looking in. We had a terrible series the last time we played Miami. Those guys do a heck of a job in both situations, short yardage and goal line.”
Indeed, a first-and-goal at the 3 led to a Mark Sanchez end zone interception and a first-and-goal at the 1 yielded only a Nick Folk field goal in the Jets’ overtime win. Meanwhile, the Dolphins scored on a pair of 1-yarders in Game 3, by RB Daniel Thomas and FB Jorvorskie Lane.
This game could also come down to who can do a better job at moving the ball that final 36 inches at key times in the game. And as Slauson said, when the Jets offense is in that situation and a run is called, “We just expect we are going to get it.”
What Goes On in the Pile …
It was one of those small but delightful and ultimately fairly significant plays that happens during the course of many NFL games. Recall late in the first quarter of the Jets-Patriots game when Shonn Greene caught a pass, was hit by LB Jerod Mayo and lost the ball. After Greene was surrounded by no fewer than five Patriots and a few of his teammates joined in, who should come out of the pile with the ball but No. 87 in green and white.
Where did Konrad Reuland come from?
“I was on the other side of the field,” Reuland recalled. “I saw the ball get knocked loose and I saw Shonn kind of straddling the ball, almost, reaching for it down by his legs. I knew he was going to be fighting for it with three or four guys.
“And I just said, you know what? I’m going to dive in there and see if I can find this thing and get a hand on it.”
Nineteen seconds of real time passed from when Reuland muscled Devin McCourty out of the way and burrowed into the mass of bodies to when he popped back out holding his prize aloft and saying, audible on the game video: “I got it! I got it!”
The CBS broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms captured this unlikely turn of events as they analyzed the replay.
“Yeah, it’s definitely a fumble,” said Simms. “And what a job by Reuland getting under this pile and getting that football.”
Nantz: “Look, he’s nowhere even in the frame here … he’s still not in the frame.”
“He’s still not in the frame,” Simms echoed.
Nantz: “I tell you what, then he comes in at the last minute. Great play by Reuland.”
RBs coach Anthony Lynn was also in agreement. “That was an outstanding play by Konrad. You talk about hustling to the football.”
Needless to say, the Jets ultimately lost the game in overtime, but it’s not too hard to see Reuland helping to keep this game close with his recovery. The Pats, who had just opened a 14-7 lead, would’ve had the ball back at the Jets 49. Another quick six for Tom Brady and friends and things could’ve snowballed. Instead, the Jets punted, the Patriots took over at their 20 and also punted. Close game on.
Reuland wasn’t necessarily known as a fumble mole before, but he said he did the same thing for San Francisco in a preseason game this summer.
“The way I look at it,” he said, “until they’ve ruled it the other team’s ball, I’m fighting for it because you never know.”
One perhaps final note: The Patriots statistical crew didn’t award the recovery to Reuland. They said Greene recovered his own fumble. Perhaps the play will be reviewed and the record set right. But as No. 87 said, “I’m willing to give it Shonn. Let him get credit for it. Either way, the fact that our team got it is what counts.”
Friday Injury Reports
LB Bart Scott (toe) is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game with the Dolphins after sitting out all three practice this week for the first time since injuring his big toe early against the ‘Fins in Miami in Week 3. Scott is joined by RB Bilal Powell (shoulder) and NT Kenrick Ellis (knee) as doubtfuls.
But the rest of the squad seems to be ready to suit up for the rivalry game, and that includes NT Sione Po‘uha (back), S Eric Smith (knee), C Nick Mangold (ankle), TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist) and RB-KR Joe McKnight (ankle), all listed as questionable. All were limited at today’s practice except for McKnight, who was a DNP for the third time this week.
“For Sione, it’s not just about being able to protect yourself but being effective,” Ryan said. “I feel good about that. I think Sione will play.”
The rest of the Jets were full practicers and are probable for the game.
The Dolphins added two players to Friday’s report in DE Cameron Wake (neck, limited), and S Reshad Jones (heel, full). But they seem in fine health for the game with Wake, Jones, RB Daniel Thomas (concussion), LB Koa Misi (hamstring) and S Jimmy Wilson (ankle) listed as probable, while starting CB Richard Marshall (back) didn’t practice today and is listed as out.
Tags: Anthony Lynn, Austin Howard, Jim Nantz, Konrad Reuland, Matt Slauson, Miami Dolphins, Phil Simms, Rex Ryan, Shonn Greene, Sione Pouha, third-and-1
Posted in Randy Lange | 36 Comments »
Updated, 10:25 a.m. ET
First-round draft choice Quinton Coples got his first breather as a pro during this morning’s rookie minicamp practice. He doesn’t know why but it’s OK by him.
“It was a coach’s decision to sit me out,” Coples told reporters after the practice in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room. Did he ask why? “No sir. This is no time for questions. They tell me to sit down, I sit down. I trust the staff to make the best decisions for me and I’ll move from there.”
He said he’s not hurt and he’s ready to roll when he’s called on. He did do individual drills under the guidance of new DL coach Karl Dunbar and that will be part of what he takes back with him to North Carolina for a few weeks until he returns for OTAs.
“Coach Dunbar is definitely coaching me well,” he said. “He gave me drills that I’ll take back home with me, drills I’ve never done before, things like hand-placement drills, drills on reading offensive linemen with the way they set, just different adjustments.”
At his news conference this afternoon, head coach Rex Ryan said Coples’ rest was indeed a coach’s decision and nothing was wrong at all with Coples.
“Quinton had a good first day, we know what he can do, so this was a chance to give the other guys a chance to get in there and compete a bit,” Ryan said, adding that he’s done that at rookie minicamps before.
“Yeah, sometimes, especially with the linemen,” he said. “A lot of times, that’s really the only time to evaluate these guys. We’ve already evaluated Quinton. I just wanted to give them the opportunity to compete and see how they move.”
So whatever Ryan did with Coples today, it certainly wasn’t a benching. Rex reviewed what he and the Jets loved about Coples in last week’s first round.
“You look at his ability, he’s 6’6″, 285 and runs a 4.7, and his production? Compare him with any of the other pass rushers,” he said. “He had 10 sacks, then he had a ‘terrible year,’ 7.5 sacks. Look at the tackles for losses, the forced fumbles — he’s got all that. He’s got range, he uses his hands in the pass rush, he can flips his hips and all that kind of stuff.
“He’s a young man that I really feel there might be more to give. I think he’s going to have an upside. So I thought that was a terrific pick for us.”
Player and coach definitely like the progress so far, before the pads go on and the intensity goes up this summer.
“I just expect to be good,” Coples said of his one full minicamp practice and today’s half practice. “I trust the staff and I feel they’re going to coach me up to the best of my ability.”
There are a few players with famous fathers at this camp, but D’Anton Lynn, the undrafted free agent DB from Penn State, said RBs coach Anthony Lynn won’t be helping him secure a roster spot, for a couple of reasons.
“They’re all about business here,” said Lynn fils. “I’ll have to earn my spot on the team. Me and my dad were joking after practice when I called him on the phone. So much is thrown at us so fast that I honestly forgot he was here at the practices.”
But while Anthony won’t be coaching up his son, D’Anton appreciates that this is a fairly unusual situation.
“It is very cool,” he said. “Not many people get to say they played for their dad, especially at this level.”
Ryan, who admits he was helped up the coaching ladder by being the son of Buddy, thinks it’s definitely an advantage for D’Anton having his father in the game. And he also likes some of what D-Lynn brings to the field.
“The thing that jumps at you is that this is a converted corner,” he said. “In the new NFL, that seems what you’re looking at. He was a corner at Penn State and was a very productive player there. I thought he was smart and a good tackler, and that’s what you’ve seen here. We put him back inside, at nickel and had him work at safety. When you have guys competing for jobs, you want position flexibility. He might not be a starting-caliber safety or a starting-caliber corner, but he might be a guy that fits in in between and that’s what you want. He’s also a special-teamer as well, so I think he’s got a chance.”
Second-rounder Stephen Hill continued to go up and grab catches all over the field, including a double move down the field on a deep ball from tryout Matt Simms. … Aussie TE Hayden Smith had a nice grab on a crossing pattern among several and the pro-level rugby player looked more comfortable this morning than he did Friday morning. … LB Demario Davis showed some quicks to get into the backfield a few times during team drills. … RB Terrance Ganaway burst free behind a sealing block by OL Anthony Parker for a big gainer. … Nice pass breakups by undrafted FAs Donnie Fletcher and Ryan Steed. … The Jets told reporters Saturday night that tryout WR Royce Pollard out of Hawaii has been signed as an undrafted free agent.
Tags: Anthony Lynn, D'Anton Lynn, Demario Davis, Matt Simms, Quinton Coples, Rex Ryan, rookie minicamp
Posted in Randy Lange | 11 Comments »
There are several reasons for Shonn Greene to have a Rocky Mountain high this week. One is he’s never played in Denver before. Another is that he and the guys are eager to have an impactful game for their position coach, Anthony Lynn, who before he became a coach was a two-ring winner with the Broncos in 1997-98.
“This is a big game for him. We’ve been talking about it,” Greene said today at his locker. “We want to do our best for him.”
But Shonn, LaDainian Tomlinson and the “big fatties” up front want to grind away at the Broncos defense for two other reasons: They like being top dogs again.
“Every team, I think, wants to be No. 1 in certain categories,” Greene said. “That’s how our defense feels, and that’s also how we feel after being No. 1 in rushing last year. We want to continue that.”
Greene continues to talk in “we” terms even when the questions are about himself, and this is a good thing. The Jets have transitioned from TJ to LT, from Alan Faneca to Matt Slauson, everyone’s a year older, and yet the Green & White are again, as they finished the 2009 season, the top team in the NFL in rushing yards per game.
And SG, even though he started only two of the five games, even though he’s gotten almost 20 percent fewer carries than Tomlinson, is making this ground game a force to be reckoned with. In fact, Greene’s 280 rushing yards are the most by a No. 2 back in the league at this point. Talk about a one-two punch.
“Shonn just keeps hitting you, he keeps hitting you, then he bounces it on you,” head coach Rex Ryan said at today’s news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “He can bury teams in the fourth quarter. That’s his running style.”
Greene helped throw dirt on the Vikings with his 23-yard misdirection-run TD with 4:30 to play Monday night, but Ryan remembered another run when a Minny safety, perhaps Madieu Williams, tried to take him down.
“The safety came down and tried to take his ankles out. He dove low — and Shonn still rammed him with his helmet,” Ryan said with that ground-and-pound smile. “How the heck did he get his body down there? He has such great forward lean and balance. No matter how low the safety got, Shonn got lower. That was impressive.”
“That’s what I try to do, so at the end of the game, the fourth quarter, nobody’s going to want to come down and tackle me,” Greene said of his powerful style. “I think I picked up that style back in high school. The main reason for me playing football was that I liked to be physical and rough. I always had that mentality to be tougher than the next guy.”
Some still worry about Greene’s style banging him up too much for the postseason, but sharing the load with Tomlinson won’t hurt his late-season health. If the Jets’ two-man wrecking crew keep up its current pace, the two will finish the regular season with a combined 442 carries for 2,288 yards. Split those numbers up roughly in half and there’s more than enough to go around for both Greene and Tomlinson to help the Jets lead the league again and, more important, to supply a big chunk of the team’s planned-for playoff run.
We already tweeted the news that Ryan and the team’s doctors and trainers had both CB Darrelle Revis and LB Calvin Pace “limited” at today’s practice, taking part in some but not all team drills, a step up from Wednesday’s “did not participate” for both.
Rex isn’t yet ready to declare both players ready to roll for Denver, but he did state that “Both will definitely make the trip. … I’m hoping both of them can go. We’ll see. That flight is a long one. We’ll see how they come out of the flight and how they run around a little bit on Saturday.”
Update: 6:05 p.m. EDT: The Broncos’ injury report still contains 10 names but four have improved their status. RB Andre Brown (illness) and LB Mario Haggan (neck) practiced full today, while RBs Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) and Spencer Larsen (ankle) were limited. Six did not participate in any team drills: safeties Brian Dawkins (knee) and Darcel McBath (ankle), LBs Robert Ayers (foot) and Wesley Woodyard (hamstring), CB André Goodman (quad) and rookie WR-KR Demaryius Thomas (concussion).
A Big Jenks Comeback?
Ryan was asked about DT Kris Jenkins, who suffered his second season-ending knee injury, this one in the Baltimore opener, saying recently that he wants to come back and play again in 2011. Rex was all for that.
“You’ve got to be 100 percent committed. If he wavers, that’s going to be tough. But I love the fact that he’s saying it right now,” the coach said. “We all know Jenks. If he says it, he’s going to go out and do it.
“We were expecting he was going to have a huge year for us. Coming off this injury, you’d like to see him really get his weight off earlier, which can only help him. This guy is a special player. I’m hoping he can do it. I don’t think he’s done.”
Tags: Anthony Lynn, Denver Broncos, LaDainian Tomlinson, Rex Ryan, Shonn Greene
Posted in Randy Lange | 21 Comments »
Joe McKnight, the rookie running back from Southern Cal, has had a well-documented summer with the Jets. After being drafted in the fourth round, the 5’11”, 205-pounder has shown flashes of brilliance like his big 25-yard burst to the outside in this morning’s practice at SUNY Cortland. But he’s also had moments that show he’s still developing.
“I had some good days and some bad days,” said McKnight, the River Ridge, La., native. “You’ve got to be more consistent. That’s what the coaches have been saying — to be more consistent in games and in practice.”
McKnight was featured in Wednesday night’s second episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” and was seen in a number of scenes taking instruction from RBs coach Anthony Lynn and veteran WR Santonio Holmes. In one particular scene, Holmes was seen discussing McKnight’s progress with Lynn, and the relationship between the three of those figures seems to be something that could be essential to McKnight’s growth as a player.
“They told me word for word what he said,” said McKnight, who didn’t watch Hard Knocks. “Santonio talked to me as well. To me, that’s a good thing. It tells me that the players and coaches see something in me. I just have to go out there and prove it to them.”
Defense Was Dominant
In other practice news, the defense gave the offense fits today. From knocking down passes to getting sacks, the “D” was flying all over the field, possibly sparked by head coach Rex Ryan’s urging after the preseason-opening 31-16 loss to the Giants and his remarks after Wednesday’s early practice.
LB Bart Scott and S Jim Leonhard recorded sacks, David Harris and Lance Laury both made interceptions, and Dwight Lowery, Kyle Wilson, Emanuel Cook and Eric Smith all made wonderful plays to swat away passes.
“It was a day that was really dominated by the defense,” Ryan said.
Dungy Will Visit
Ryan also said former Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy has agreed to Ryan’s offer to come visit the Jets and get a feel for the organization. No date has been set following Dungy’s remarks critical of Ryan’s language on the first Hard Knocks and Ryan’s reply Wednesday that he felt Dungy “misjudged me.”
“I did talk to Tony Dungy. He’s going to take me up on the offer,” Ryan said, adding that the two talked “man to man” about the situation. “He’s excited to come out and see us and we’re excited to see him.”
A.M. Practice Notes
To end practice, some of the veterans including Kris Jenkins, Sione Pouha and Jason Taylor started some of the end-of-camp festivities by tying rookie cornerback Brian Jackson to a goalpost for some playful rookie hazing.
“I heard he was taking it a little personal,” Ryan said of Jackson’s reaction. “I’ve seen way worse than that. We all saw the Tim Tebow haircut, which would have been a disaster for most guys. Anyway, it’s meant to be a good thing, a fun deal, and it should be meant that way. I haven’t talked to Brian yet.”
Jamaal Westerman, Kenwin Cummings, Brad Smith and Matt Kroul were all given the morning practice off for being the remaining winners of the Iron Jet offseason award. In addition, safety Donovan Warren and linebacker Josh Mauga did not practice because of head injuries they sustained in practices.
While the defense ruled the morning, the offense did have a few highlight moments, two coming from passes from Mark Sanchez to WR Braylon Edwards. Sanchez pump-faked in the 7-on-7 drills, then hit Edwards, who beat Leonhard for a touchdown. Then in 11-on-11, the QB threw deep to Edwards, who came down with a magnificent grab against S Brodney Pool along the sideline.
To wrap up practice, kicker Nick Folk was very impressive, knocking down all five of his field goals — from 40, 42, 44, 51 and 56 yards.
P.M. Practice Notes
The Jets concluded the SUNY Cortland portion of training camp with a practice that was closed to the fans this afternoon, and the players seemed exuberant about finishing their stint in central New York State. Joking and laughter filled the air during stretching and continued through the end of practice as cornerback Brian Jackson attempted long distance throws of over 60 yards in efforts to hit the goalpost crossbar.
Matt Slauson, as an “Iron Jet” winner, received the afternoon off and Vladimir Ducasse started at LG as the team walked through their offense and defense. They will have “rookie night” activities tonight, then will bus or drive out of Cortland on Friday morning, then fly out in the afternoon for Charlotte, N.C., to face the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night.
Linebacker In, Punter Out
The Jets released punter T.J. Conley and added linebacker Boris Lee, a 2010 undrafted free agent out of Troy University that spent time with the San Diego Chargers earlier this summer.
Tags: Anthony Lynn, Boris Lee, joe McKnight, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, T.J. Conley, Tony Dungy
Posted in Nick Gallo | 20 Comments »
At the conclusion of today’s second minicamp workout, Jets rookie RB Joe McKnight told a small gathering of reporters that his second day as a pro was better than a tough day one.
“It was better than yesterday’s,” he said. “I made it through OK. I didn’t give it up today.”
Although McKnight didn’t vomit, he did labor through the morning session and at one point walked over to a goalpost to receive treatment from the training staff. Admitting to nerves Friday, it was also revealed by head coach Rex Ryan and McKnight that the Jets’ fourth-round pick is battling a stomach virus.
“It was certain nerves and a stomach virus. Nerves was a part of it, but it wasn’t the whole part of it,” he said. “I was real sick when I came out but that’s no excuse. I should come out and practice.”
On numerous occasions the past two days, you’ve seen the burst and shiftiness that made McKnight a top-flight college running back his junior season at USC. But he’s also dropped a few passes and has had difficulty adjusting to the NFL pace.
“I’m just trying to get used to this process, the tempo of practice and the whole practice in general, meetings and everything,” he said. “I’m trying to get used to it. Once I get used to it, everything should be easy.”
Running backs coach Anthony Lynn wants McKnight to realize the opportunity he has in front of him and for the rookie to take advantage of it.
“Just being a pro, that’s basically what he tells me every day. He didn’t like the way I was throwing up and everything,” he said. “Professionals don’t do that. Once you’re here, there are a lot of people in the world dying to be in this position and I just have to take full advantage of it.”
Saying he’s just in “OK shape,” McKnight said he might extend his stay in Florham Park past Sunday when camp concludes.
“Tomorrow I just want to accomplish that I proved something to the coaches,” he said. “That’s the only thing I’m worrying about, just proving myself.”
Tags: Anthony Lynn, joe McKnight, Rex Ryan, rookie minicamp
Posted in Eric Allen | 38 Comments »
There were a lot of elements of this morning’s practice to get Rex Ryan fired up — Jim Leonhard’s interception and lateral to Lito Sheppard, the scuffle between Shaun Ellis and Damien Woody at the end of that play — but the Jets head coach was really pumped about the first play of the blitz pickup drill.
“I think we saw Shonn Greene get welcomed to the NFL by Bryan Thomas,” said Rex about BT’s bullrush that bowled the rookie RB backward to the Cortland Stadium turf. “That’s what I like to call Run Over Drill, and that’s why we call it Run Over Drill.
“Usually on offense, when you don’t have pads on and the running backs are 1-on-1 with the linebackers, we call that Run Away Drill. And when you gotta pass-block, that’s Run Over Drill — they get ‘em back. Shonn’s got to realize, oof, they’re not messing around over there.
“But it was good, man,” Ryan said. “I tell you what. That’s exciting to me. I love watching that drill, because you have to be an unbelievable competitor to sit in there and take on some of those big rushers. You see Thomas Jones, you see Leon, and Shonn, too, to his credit, he got nailed, but he came right back. I like the way our backs compete.”
A lot of that, Rex beamed, comes from his RBs coach, Anthony Lynn.
“Anthony’s a tough guy and they want to please him. Sometimes a coach will rub off on a team.”
Exhibit A, of course, is Ryan himself.
Tags: Anthony Lynn, Bryan Thomas, Leon Washington, Rex Ryan, Shonn Greene, Thomas Jones
Posted in Randy Lange | 11 Comments »
Let the mocks begin.
Actually, draft analysts have been mocking away for a while already. It gets earlier and earlier each year. The NFL has become the football equivalent of the Davis Cup, with provisional mocks being conducted before the current season is over.
Here, on the arrival day for this year’s NFL combine workouts in Indianapolis, are a few of the selections being made for the Jets in recent mocks on NFL sites I like to visit.
Steve Wyche, now a senior writer at nfl.com who not long ago was the excellent beatwriter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has tabbed Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis for the Jets at No. 17 , stating in his analysis that "New Jets head coach Rex Ryan loves LBs who can get to the ball, and Laurinaitis certainly can do that."
Scout.com’s Chris Steuber has updated his mock in advance of the combine and he has Florida WR Percy Harvin coming up I-95, stating that the Jets "have to add more playmaking ability on offense and provide whoever is their QB next year with a versatile weapon. Harvin is the answer."
And draftek.com has Georgia QB Matthew Stafford falling to the Jets at No. 17.
I’ll mention more mock results from free Websites that you can check out in the coming days and weeks.
Anthony Lynn is an up-and-coming RBs coach in the NFL and the Jets have him. I profiled him as part of newyorkjets.com‘s series of stories on Rex Ryan’s new coaching staff and that story is now live.
Lynn was an NFL back and special-teamer from 1993-99, mostly with Denver but for 1995-96 with San Francisco. It was with the ’96 Niners that he ripped off the longest run of his career and more than one-third of his career total, a 67-yarder in an already decided game against the Falcons.
"Probably what made it special was that week I played golf with John Madden’s assistant," Lynn recalled. "John lived in Danville, Calif., and I got my first hole-in-one in Pleasanton. And so after that run, it gave John something to talk about on the air, I guess, so he talked about the hole-in-one."
Tags: Anthony Lynn, Matthew Stafford, Percy Harvin
Posted in Randy Lange | 86 Comments »