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
Posted in Randy Lange | 8 Comments »
As promised, here is the next “quarter report” on the Jets’ 2013 schedule. We’re up to the fourth quarter, Games 13-16. And if the Jets can get through the first 12 games in decent shape, this quartet of December games could help them surprise, since these four foes combined for a 23-41 record (.359 winning percentage) and no playoff berths last year.
However, as we all know, the Jets had a similar stretch run last year and lost three of their last four. And the Raiders, Panthers, Browns and Dolphins have all made strides of their own to have their own successful closing kicks and playoff pushes.
Without further adieu (except to remind you that all four games’ starting times are subject to the NFL’s flex-scheduling policy), here is the Jets’ tweet-sized fourth-quarter schedule:
Game 13 — vs. OAKLAND, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 8, 1 p.m.
■ Jets trail all-time series 21-15-2 but lead at home 9-8-1 vs Silver & Black and have won last 3 in Meadowlands (most recent: 23-3 in ’06).
■ No Oaktown this time. Jets are home at MetLife for this one after playing 10 of last 12 games in series on West Coast.
■ Could be an interesting comparison of 1st-round rookie corners: Jets’ Dee Milliner (selected 9th overall) vs OAK’s D.J. Hayden (taken 12th).
■ RB Darren McFadden’s 70-yd TD run in ’11 is 2nd-longest run vs Jets in past 14 seasons. (Longest: TEN’s Chris Johnson, 94 yds last yr).
Game 14 — @ CAROLINA, Bank of America Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 15, 4:05 p.m.
■ Jets lead all-time series 3-2. Their only road win vs Panthers in 3 tries was by 13-12 in ’01 (“the Shrek Game”).
■ Green & White also prevailed at CAR in last meeting, ’10 preseason, by 9-3. Joe McKnight had 67-yd punt return in that game.
■ Jets have faced Cam Newton just once, at home in ’12 preseason primetime game. Cam was 6-for-15 passing for 60 yds, TD in 17-12 win.
■ Jets will try to get their ground game rolling vs a defensive front that will include 1st-round DT Star Lotulelei.
Game 15 — vs. CLEVELAND, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 22, 1 p.m.
■ Jets trail overall series 12-8 and trail Browns at home by 4-2. Their last home win was by 24-21 in their 1990 home opener.
■ Rex Ryan, whose Ravens played Browns twice a year, will coach first home game as Jets HC vs CLE after winning at CLE 26-20 in OT in ’10.
■ Jets will face 1st-year HC Rob Chudzinski for first time, although Chud was Browns TEs coach in ’04 (Jets win @ CLE) and OC in ’07 (Browns win @ NYJ).
■ Green & White’s revamped OL will try to aid passing game by keeping Browns 1st-round DE Barkevious Mingo out of the pocket
Game 16 — @ MIAMI, Sun Life Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 29, 1 p.m.
■ Jets lead all-time series 49-44-1, but 1998-2008 run, when they won 17 of 21, is over. They’ve lost 2 of the last 3, 3 of 5, 6 of 9.
■ Yet they’ve fared well in South Florida. They won last yr 23-20 on Nick Folk’s 33-yd FG in OT and have taken 2 of the last 3, 5 of 7 at Sun Life.
■ Jets wrapped up their RS schedule vs Dolphins in ’96, ’03, ’08 and ’11 and lost all 4. But in ’91 they won at MIA and made the playoffs.
■ WR Clyde Gates, drafted by MIA in ’11, had best game as a pro vs ‘Fins last October: 7 catches for 82 yds, 2 KO returns for 63 yds.
Tags: Barkevious Mingo, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Clyde Gates, D.J. Hayden, Darren McFadden, Dee Milliner, Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders
Posted in Randy Lange | 146 Comments »
Updated Saturday, 4:50 p.m. ET
Next week’s draft is a big event for the Jets’ extended family. Fans are aware that CB Desmond Trufant out of Washington is Isaiah’s younger brother and Matt Elam, the Florida safety, is Abram Elam’s kid brother. But that’s just the start of the draft prospects with a little green and white in their blood.
Austin Peay QB Jake Ryan is the son of Pat Ryan, the Jets’ 13-year backup and sometimes starting QB from 1978-90. Pat, in fact, was 12-9 as a starter during Ken O’Brien’s stay with the Green & White, and that included starts in both of the 1986 playoff games, the win over Kansas City and the double OT loss at Cleveland.
Penn State RB Michael Zordich’s dad, Mike, also a Nittany Lion, went on to play 12 NFL seasons as a safety, the first two of which came with the Jets in 1987-88 after he was drafted in the ninth round of the ’86 draft by San Diego. The elder Zordich’s big green play was an interception-return touchdown to crown the Jets’ 1988 home-opening win over the Houston Oilers.
Then there’s North Carolina OL Brennan Williams. His father, Brent, began his NFL career as seventh-rounder in that same ’86 draft by New England, then went on to play 11 pro seasons. His last five games came as a member of the Jets in 1996.
And one name that initially got past me and the NFL’s media department but not past Radar regular GaryC is T.J. McDonald, the Southern Cal safety and son of Tom McDonald, not an ex-Jets player but a celebrated Trojans and NFL safety who came on this year as the Jets’ new DBs coach.
Where do all the Jets’ relatives figure to go? Desmond Trufant is possibly the third-best corner in this draft and should go in the second half of the first round. Matt Elam is perhaps the top strong safety prospect in this draft and could go low in Round 1 or in Round 2. T.J. McDonald and Brennan Williams are potential third- or fourth-rounders. Michael Zordich and Jake Ryan are possible undrafted free agent signees.
Familiar Names at Predraft Play 60 Clinics
A number of current and former Jets are slated to be involved in the NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival being held next Wednesday and Thursday at Chelsea Waterside Park between 23rd and 24th Streets in Manhattan.
TE Jeff Cumberland, LB Demario Davis, WR Clyde Gates and RB John Griffin will be involved in conducting some of the clinics on Wednesday afternoon. Former Jets S James Ihedigbo, now with the Ravens, will also be a clinician, as will retired QB Mark Brunell, in town as we mentioned a few days ago to announce the Jaguars’ second-round pick from the Radio City podium on Friday night.
The players will team with third-through-ninth-grade students from schools in New York and New Jersey as part of the league’s youth health and fitness campaign. Students will learn NFL FLAG drills and Heads Up Football skills from USA Football coaches and will participate in activities with the players.
For the first time in this annual predraft event, two Thursday evening clinics are open for public registration. A parent or legal guardian may sign up his/her child (ages 6-13) at www.1iota.com. Space is limited.
Tags: Abram Elam, Brent Williams, Clyde Gates, Demario Davis, Isaiah Trufant, Jeff Cumberland, John Griffin, Mike Zordich, NFL Draft, NFL Play 60, Pat Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 61 Comments »
This is the companion list to my Jets Combine news advance featuring Stephen Hill, one of the top performers at last year’s workouts, that just went live.
The presentation is based on research that can be found by clicking on the Past Top Performers tab at nfl.com/combine.
The list comes in two sections. The top part shows future Jets who finished in the top 15 in a particular drill among all participants in a given combine. If an athlete’s performance can be extended to a top-15 finish for multiple years to the present, that is shown as well.
The second half is for Jets-to-be who finished in the top 15 among all the participants at ALL the combines from ’06-12 (or in the bench press from ’07-12) at each player’s position as listed heading into that combine.
The list includes players such as Antonio Cromartie who didn’t make their first NFL stops with the Jets as well as players in italics who are no longer with the Jets.
This week, with participants beginning now to descend on Indianapolis and combine drills ready to roll out starting Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, new Jets GM John Idzik and company have begun the process of finding the next Jets entries on these lists.
|Jets’Combine Bests, 2006-12|
|AMONG ALL PARTICIPANTS|
|Stephen Hill||4.36||’12||T-2nd; T-11th, ’09-12|
|Clyde Gates||40.0″||’11||T-8th; T-12th, ’11-12|
|Stephen Hill||11’1″||’12||T-1st; T-7th, ’06-12|
|Antonio Cromartie||11’0″||’06||T-4th; T-12th, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||10’11”||’08||T-4th; T-13th, ’07-12|
|Clyde Gates||10’11”||’11||2nd; T-13th, ’07-12|
|Nick Bellore||4.00||’11||T-7th; T-15th, ’10-12|
|220-Pound Bench Press|
|Vernon Gholston||37 reps||’08||T-1st; T-10th, ’08-12|
|AMONG ALL AT A PLAYER’S POSITION|
|LaRon Landry||4.35||’07||T-1st among Ss, ’06-12|
|David Clowney||4.36||’07||T-13th among WRs, ’06-12|
|Stephen Hill||4.36||’12||T-13th among WRs, ’06-12|
|Brad Smith||4.46||’06||4th among QBs, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||4.55||’08||T-8th among TEs, ’06-12|
|Brad Smith||39.5″||’06||2nd among QBs, ’06-12|
|Tim Tebow||38.5″||’10||4th among QBs, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||38.0″||’08||7th among TEs, ’06-12|
|Aaron Maybin||38.0″||’09||T-14th among DL, ’06-12|
|LaRon Landry||37.5″||’07||T-11th among Ss, ’06-12|
|Matt Slauson||34.0″||’09||T-6th among OL, ’06-12|
|Stephen Hill||11’1″||’12||T-3rd among WRs, ’06-12|
|Antonio Cromartie||11’0″||’06||T-5th among CBs, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||10’11”||’08||T-1st among TEs, ’06-12|
|Clyde Gates||10’11”||’11||5th among WRs, ’06-12|
|Brad Smith||10’8″||’06||1st among QBs, ’06-12|
|Vernon Gholston||10’5″||’08||6th among DL, ’06-12|
|Aaron Maybin||10’4″||’09||T-7th among DL, ’06-12|
|Demario Davis||10’4″||’12||T-11th among LBs, ’06-12|
|Nick Bellore||4.00||’11||T-3rd among LBs, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||4.14||’08||8th among TEs, ’06-12|
|Nick Mangold||4.36||’06||6th among OL, ’06-12|
|Tim Tebow||6.66||’10||1st among QBs, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||6.88||’08||12th among TEs, ’06-12|
|Tim Tebow||11.27||’10||1st among QBs, ’06-12|
|220-Pound Bench Press|
|Vernon Gholston||37 reps||’08||T-7th among DL, ’07-12|
|Demario Davis||32 reps||’12||T-5th among LBs, ’07-12|
|Dustin Keller||26 reps||’08||T-12th among TEs, ’07-12|
|Kyle Wilson||25 reps||’10||T-4th among CBs, ’07-12|
|Robert Malone||19 reps||’10||T-3rd, Specialists, ’07-12|
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Clyde Gates, Dustin Keller, NFL Combine, Stephen Hill
Posted in Randy Lange | 18 Comments »
In large part, how the Jets finish this season will depend on how their top first-year players finish this season.
Which brings us to our annual “rookie wall” story. The Jets’ top three picks in the April draft all say the wall is a non-issue for them. The two guys on defense, top pick Quinton Coples and third-rounder Demario Davis, say they’re not expecting to hit the wall.
And second-round WR Stephen Hill says he’s already busted through it.
“I’m not going to be the rookie to say no, because I did hit it. And I learned a lot from that time,” Hill said today after the Jets’ first big practice of the week for Sunday’s home game against the Cardinals. “I felt it a little bit during training camp and definitely earlier in the season. It didn’t last as long as some of the guys I talked to said it would — they said it could go on for weeks. They also said it all depends on how you bounce back. It wasn’t even physical as much as it was basically mental.”
But now Hill feels he’s starting to hit his stride again, the stride we saw flashes of in the opener against Buffalo and for most of the game at New England last month. It’s time for his numbers — 38 targets, 16 receptions, 212 yards, 13.3 average, 2.2 YAC average, five drops, three touchdowns — to all take turns for the better.
And his timing is good, because as head coach Rex Ryan told reporters at today’s news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center: “This is a big week for Stephen to step up, and I expect him to. I like the way he played last week. He was confident in that game. I saw that just by the way he was running his routes and everything. He’s to the point where he’s wanting the football. He needs to step up big.”
Nothing like a little pressure from the coach. But that’s cool with Hill.
“It’s definitely not pressure. It’s an opportunity to go out there and get the job done. I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I feel comfortable, especially running routes, getting off certain jams, reading coverages. I’m definitely getting smarter with situations. I’m just making sure I come out there and do what I have to do.”
Coples has also had his moments. His sack total is still stuck on the two he had against Colts rookie Andrew Luck, although he missed a third in that game when he pressured Luck into an intentional grounding. But he’s still been contributing as he can, seeing almost 40 plays a game on defense and special teams, and he leads the Jets defenders with six tackles for loss and, if you throw in the zero-yard runs and receptions, 8.5 tackles for loss no gain.
“I’m good,” Coples said of in regard to the rookie wall. “I enjoy the game of football, which is a reason why I guess I haven’t hit it. I feel good, my body feels good. I think I’m doing well, getting better and learning what I need to know.”
This, too, is good news for the Jets because Ryan, although not singling out Coples as he did Hill, mentioned the need for more of one of “Q’s” specialties.
“We absolutely notice that we have to get to the quarterback better than we have,” Ryan said. “Here’s a team [in Arizona] with 30 sacks. What have we got, half of that? [Actually, 17] It’s a point of emphasis. I know we have the ability to rush the passer with this group of players. We just have to get it done.”
“That’s an opportunity for me to show what I was brought in to do and get after the quarterback,” Coples said. “I’m definitely excited about that and ready to get after it.”
The other Jets rookie who’s been logging lots of time is Davis. In fact, DD even added in a small way to the pass rush when he was chop-blocked by Stevan Ridley in the third quarter on his way to a potential third-quarter blitz-sack of Tom Brady in the Patriots end zone. Davis doesn’t get credit for a sack (there was none on the play), nor even the safety (it’s credited to the team due to the end zone penalty). But that’s fine by him.
“I was just doing my job, blitzing and going through the gap,” he said. “It was a good team play, but it was just one good play. You try to put a string of those plays together in a game.”
Davis is working hard at that goal as well. He’s been on the field quite a lot lately, in part due to Bart Scott’s toe but also because he’s the future of this D and there’s no time like the present to get some experience. In the last five games, in fact, Davis has been in on 344 plays on defense and special teams, which is the 10th-most on the team in that span and the sixth-most on defense.
And Demario, too, hasn’t felt the RW topple onto him yet.
“I haven’t really felt the rookie wall,” he said. “I’ve heard about it, but it’s not a factor right now. I still feel we’re in the season, five games to go, so I just focus on one game at a time. And I took precautions early on to make sure my body feels good and that mentally I can handle the load.
“You always want to be ready when your number gets called. I always try to go a little harder on scout team during the week against the ones, as much as I can, so that I can make practice harder than the games.”
How well the Jets finish is not just on these three rookies’ shoulder pads, but how they fare will have much to say about the final story of 2012 and for some seasons ahead. For that reason, as Hill said:
“I just want to finish this season hard, as hard as I can.”
Two of the Jets’ 18 players listed with injuries sat out today’s practice in the fieldhouse: WR Clyde Gates (concussion) and CB Aaron Berry (quad). Five others were limited: QB Tim Tebow (ribs), WRs Jeremy Kerley (heel/hamstring/illness) and Chaz Schilens (concussion/hip), DT Sione Po‘uha (back) and LB Bart Scott (toe). View the Jets’ full injury report here.
“I don’t want to get into specific things,” Ryan said of Tebow’s status for the Cards. “Let’s see how he progresses during the week. We’ll probably have a better, clear-cut picture as the week goes on. Right now we’re going to limit him in practice and we’ll see how he goes during the week.”
The Cardinals listed 10 players today. WR Andre Roberts (ankle) didn’t participate in team drills. Seven were limited: S Justin Bethel (shoulder), WR Laron Byrd (head), DE Calais Campbell (calf), WR Early Doucet (ribs), QB Kevin Kolb ribs), RB William Powell (shoulder) and RB Chris “Beanie” Wells (knee). S Kerry Rhodes (back) was full-go, as was LS Mike Leach (back).
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Clyde Gates, Demario Davis, Quinton Coples, Rex Ryan, Stephen Hill, Tim Tebow
Posted in Randy Lange | 34 Comments »
Updated, Saturday, 12:10 p.m.
The Jets will be traveling to Seattle today without two contributors they thought might have been available for the Seahawks after an otherwise healing bye week. Head coach Rex Ryan announced at his news conference today that RB-KR Joe McKnight (ankle) and NT Kenrick Ellis (knee) will stay home.
“We’re going to keep them back here,” Ryan said before the team hops buses for Newark Liberty Airport and the six-hour flight to the Pacific Northwest this afternoon. “Kenrick was limited in practice. He’s just not quite ready to play. Hopefully next week he’ll be ready to go.”
Ellis hurt his knee in the Oct. 8 game against the Texans and hadn’t practiced at all until Thursday and today, when he was limited for the first time. But the nose tackle position will be manned as it was last week by Sione Po‘uha, who made his first start in four games and got in 21 plays against Miami after working through his own back injury, as well as rookie Damon “Snacks” Harrison.
McKnight, one of the NFL’s top kickoff returners for the second straight season, injured his ankle against Indianapolis on Oct. 14, played on the ankle at New England and vs. Miami, but aggravated the injury against the Dolphins.
“Joe is one of those type of deals where if he can get 25 percent better by not playing in a game, it’s probably time to do that,” Ryan said. “We’re going that route and hopefully we’ll be able to get him back so he can practice and play.”
The Jets have listed Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson as the backup kickoff returners to McKnight on their weekly game-notes package for reporters, but a new alternative roared into action when speedy second-year WR Clyde Gates ripped off a 47-yard return with the second-half kickoff vs. the ‘Fins and might have become the eighth different Jet to return a kickoff for a touchdown under special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff, had he not run into rookie Demario Davis near midfield.
The rest of the Jets injury report was pretty much the same all week. Six players were limited at today’s practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center, but Ryan said, “I believe all of them will play” at Seattle. Those six: C Nick Mangold (ankle), G Brandon Moore (hip), RB Bilal Powell (shoulder), LB Bart Scott (toe), S Eric Smith (knee) and Po‘uha. WR-PR Jeremy Kerley (heel) today became the 17th player listed on the injury report this week but practiced full and is probable for the Seahawks. Also, G Hayworth Hicks, signed this week from Indy’s practice squad, did not make the trip and has been ruled out for the game.
Update: Sorry, due to computer issues en route to Seattle, I couldn’t post the Seahawks’ injury report/game status. Here it is now:
Out — LB K.J. Wright (concussion), G James Carpenter (concussion).
Doubtful — DE Greg Scruggs (oblique).
Questionable — DT Clinton McDonald (groin).
Probable — WR Doug Baldwin (ankle), DE Red Bryant (foot), S Kam Chancellor (quad), WR Braylon Edwards (knee), DE Jason Jones (ankle), RB Marshawn Lynch (back/wrist), G John Moffitt (knee), CB Richard Sherman (illness).
Statement for the Region
Ryan wore a new baseball cap to today’s “Fast Friday” news conference. The logo on the front said it all: “NJ/NY STRONG.”
“I’m going to wear this hat at the game on behalf of our organization,” Ryan said. “Basically, it’s just to let people know, especially people in our region that were affected by Hurricane Sandy that our thoughts and prayers are with them. Hopefully they’ll see this hat on the sideline and they’ll understand that we’re with them and thinking about them, and also that we’re representing our region when we go up there and play this game.
“If they can get something encouraging out of our performance, that certainly motivates us and drives us as well.”
On Thursday owner Woody Johnson said the Jets are donating $500,000 to the relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which last week devastated the New Jersey/New York area, and are dedicating their Thanksgiving night game against New England at MetLife Stadium to helping and honoring all those affected by the storm.
Tags: Clyde Gates, Hurricane Sandy, Jeremy Kerley, joe McKnight, Kenrick Ellis, MetLife Stadium, Rex Ryan, Seattle Seahawks, Sione Pouha
Posted in Randy Lange | 16 Comments »
The season began with a story of Bart Scott’s rebirth — lost weight, increased speed and strength — but it has developed into a tale of toe woe for the 11th-year linebacker.
“It’s tough. It’s like losing a thumb on your hand. Everything you do comes off your big toe,” said Scott, who said he injured the painful digit on the second defensive play of Game 3 at Miami and isn’t sure of his availability for Sunday’s home rematch against the Dolphins.
Scott, who spoke to reporters after today’s practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, said the toe has been “beat up” since his college days at Southern Illinois. He described this latest episode as basically “turf toe, ligament damage, capsule strains and things like that. You’re talking about running on a toe that’s not all the way in the socket and it’s loose and swollen and you’re wearing an extra large shoe.
“I’ve always prided myself on being able to have a high pain tolerance and to be able to play through things. I just want to show my teammates that I’m willing to bite down and continue to play and do what I can to help us win,” he said in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room following today’s practice. “If we have to shut it down, we shut it down. If not, then we’ll be ready to go.”
Shutting it down for a game is not something Scott has done in a long time. Since 2004 with the Ravens, he has played in 119 consecutive regular-season games, the fifth-longest streak among active NFL linebackers and the eighth-longest among all active defensive players. Throw in 10 playoff games and the streak reaches 129 consecutive games. For the Jets, those streaks are 55 straight regular-season games played and 61 straight including playoffs.
Then as far as starts go, he’s started 111 of the last 113 regular-season games, and 121 of the last 123 including playoffs, and with the Jets it’s 53 starts in 55 games, 59 in 61 including playoffs.
The only start he didn’t make last season was Game 5 at New England, when the Jets opened with seven defensive backs on the field against Tom Brady and company. Then on Sunday he missed another start at Foxboro and played in what was likely an eight-season low of nine plays on defense and 16 total.
“Whatever is best for the team. I don’t care about a streak,” Scott said about the possibility of missing this start. “I care about helping my team win and trying to win a championship. That’s always been my primary goal, and that’s why I came here. If helping the team best is for me to be on the sideline and help these young linebackers see what’s going on and help slow the game down for them, then I’ll do that. If it’s biting down so we can get to the bye at 3-1 in our division, then that’s what I’ll do.”
The one young linebacker most impacted by Scott’s injury is third-round rookie Demario Davis, who was in for the most plays of his young career and the most among the Jets on Sunday, 98 total and 69 plays on defense.
Despite the difficulties, Scott did make one contribution vs. the Patriots, tackling RB Stevan Ridley for a yard loss on the Pats’ third-quarter touchdown drive. He’s tied for the Jets lead at 4.0 tackles for loss this season, and he leads the Jets in TFLs from 2009 to present with 25.5.
Scott’s being benched, as some reports had it today, doesn’t quite capture the situation, as head coach Rex Ryan explained at his news conference today.
“New England did a lot of stuff where they put him in space with a lot of empty sets, four and five receivers,” Ryan said. “Normally I like to keep Bart out there. But if he can’t change directions in space as well as he normally can, we’ve got to do what’s best for our football team. Is he going to be 100 percent this week? No. Hopefully when that bye comes, we’ll rest him that whole time and he’ll have two weeks to get ready for Seattle. Hopefully that will really help him.”
The Rest of the Injury Picture
Aside from Scott, the Jets’ health continued to slowly improve. DT Kenrick Ellis (knee), S LaRon Landry (heel) and RBs Joe McKnight (ankle) and Bilal Powell (shoulder) didn’t practice. But TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist), C Nick Mangold (ankle) and S Eric Smith (knee) all got some limited work in team drills and DT Sione Po‘uha continued as a limited participant. “Sione moved around and looked pretty good,” Ryan said of Big Bo’s Wednesday practice. “His strength numbers are up. I’ve been encouraged by that.”
Among the Jets’ full-go guys, WR Clyde Gates (shoulder),who’s missed two games, “looks like he’s coming around,” according to the coach.
Miami’s report remained short and static. DT Randy Starks, who was excused from Wednesday’s workout for non-football reasons, returned today and was taken off the list.
Tags: Bart Scott, Clyde Gates, Demario Davis, Miami Dolphins, Rex Ryan, Sione Pouha
Posted in Randy Lange | 61 Comments »
Updated, 5:34 p.m. ET
What happened to the Jets’ passing game after the first quarter Sunday in Pittsburgh? “Throwing and catching,” as Mark Sanchez said. But maybe there were a few other things.
The Steelers got much credit for their press coverage on the Jets receivers and that certainly was in play as the game wore on. But the press wasn’t in evidence on the Jets’ first drive, when Sanchez hit four of his first five passes. Santonio Holmes had two catches on the drive, including his TD, Jeremy Kerley one and Clyde Gates his first reception as a Jet. All got into their routes unbumped by the dropping Pittsburgh DBs.
What else happened? Before Sanchez threw his sixth official pass of the game, he took a helmet-to-helmet shot from LB Lawrence Timmons early in the second quarter.
Rex Ryan was asked at his news conference today back at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center if he thought the hit was malicious.
“No,” the head coach said. “It was a helmet-to-helmet hit. It should have been flagged, and it was.”
Sanchez said the same after the game.
“I was kind of on the move. He got a good shot at me,” the QB said. “That’s the way it goes. It’s a physical game. It was a good shot, no doubt about that. Stuff happens. It’s part of the game.”
It’s interesting to note that in Sanchez’s first five quarters of the season his passing line was 23-for-32 for 346 yards, four TDs, one INT and a 133.6 rating. From the head shot on, his line is 6-for-22, 58 yards, no TDs, no INTs, 39.6 rating.
We’ll see later this week if Timmons gets a league fine for the high hit. Meanwhile, Sanchez needs to shake off the cobwebs and try to regain that magic touch. The return of TE Dustin Keller would help, although Ryan had no update on Keller’s hamstring. The Dolphins also could cooperate — their passing defense has yielded 313.5 net yards per game, tied for 30th in the NFL.
Garrett McIntyre played perhaps the game of his career vs. the Steelers, and that would of course include his two years of games in the Arena League and two more seasons in the CFL. Getting the start for Bryan Thomas (ankle), Mac was in on the first two sacks of his NFL career and also was credited with 2.5 tackles for loss on three Pitt running plays.
“It was bittersweet because, obviously, of the outcome,” he said. “But it’s been a long road for me. I had a pretty good feeling before the game, just one of those gut things, that I was going to get my first one. I was happy to do so. And the second one, that’s just icing on the cake. But it’s never as good when you lose.”
“It’s just that he plays hard,” Ryan said today. “He’s one of those guys that we always say plays like a jet. That first sack, he did a tremendous job, ran the stunt perfectly, ran over the center, redirected, made the sack. I thought it was tremendous. He’s a guy who keeps going. Every single play he’s going to give you everything he’s got. He’s probably not the best space player of all time, playing in space like a Calvin Pace, but there’s very few like that. But he can play. He’s a ball of energy and I think that’s good for us.”
Ryan wasn’t leaning one way or the other publicly about Darrelle Revis’ return to action from his mild concussion for the Dolphins. Asked about such a return, he said today, “I don’t think you can assume that. He has to be up to the NFL standards, he has to pass those tests. Right now he looks to be doing well, so hopefully he’ll be playing.”
Ryan also didn’t have updates on Keller, on RB Shonn Greene’s head injury (although Greene came back at the start of the second half), or on FB John Conner (ankle). “I know he was limping around pretty good after the game,” he said of “Concrete.”
Vlad Ducasse got in 10 snaps at LG for Matt Slauson at Pittsburgh. “We’re giving Vlad an opportunity to play,” Ryan said. “It’s the same on defense. You’ll see Demario Davis, Josh Mauga in there. If you have a good football player, you should use him. Vlad’s earned the right to play some.” Said Ducasse: “I felt pretty confident. A couple of plays I could’ve done better at, but that’s thing, keep getting better.”
After two weeks, the Jets’ defense is in the middle and even the back half of the NFL pack when it comes to rankings. With tonight’s Denver-Atlanta game ending Week 2, the Jets are 16th in total yards allowed, 22nd vs. the run, 15th vs. the pass, 31st in third-down efficiency, and tied for 22nd in points allowed. His advice to critics: “Hey, bet against us. That’s all I’m saying. We’ll see where it ends up.”
“Inside the Jets”
D-linemen Sione Po‘uha and Muhammad Wilkerson are the players appearing on tonight’s “Inside the Jets” radio show on ESPN 98.7 FM broadcast from the Grasshopper in Morristown, N.J., from 7-8 p.m.
Tags: Clyde Gates, Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, Jeremy Kerley, John Conner, Lawrence Timmons, Mark Sanchez, PIttsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Vlad Ducasse
Posted in Randy Lange | 180 Comments »