To all Radar commenters: I have one bit of news for you and one change of venue to alert you all to.
The news is that the Jets’ first official depth chart of the season is now live on newyorkjets.com. You can find it here. This is the depth chart for the Jets’ preseason opener at Detroit on Friday night.
Keep in mind that even though the depth chart is official, it is not a rigid document. Some players will play ahead of others that they’re listed behind. Some players will not appear at the positions they’re listed at. It’s all a work in progress.
But note the newsworthy listings. QB is officially a “slash” situation, Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith being listed as co-starters at this time. On defense, Quinton Coples is appearing as a starting OLB, and both first-round rookies are being listed as starters — Sheldon Richardson at DT, Dee Milliner at CB.
As for the change of venue, you may have noticed a downturn in blogs appearing in this WordPress platform recently. That is by design. We are migrating all Randy’s Radar blogs and comments from WordPress to our NFL platform. We are consolidating all blogs with all news stories with an eye toward making a consistent and common experience across our Website for all our fans and visitors.
The Radar commenting procedure will not change a lot but one thing will be required to submit comments and that is you must be a member of Facebook. Many of you here on the WordPress version of the Radar are Facebook members, some are not. If not, sign up for Facebook and you’ll still be able to leave your comments at the bottom of my blogs.
Over the next several days we will be phasing out the WordPress version of the Radar, which means that I’ll post your comments here for the next week but eventually comments sent to any WordPress blogs will not be posted. New comments will have to be submitted via Facebook under the blogs from this week forward.
Tags: Dee Milliner, depth chart, Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, Quinton Coples, Randy's Radar, Sheldon Richardson, Wordpress
Posted in Randy Lange | 80 Comments »
It was the 1-on-1 passing drills early in today’s Jets training camp practice, and Isaiah Trufant was running stride for stride with Vidal Hazelton, a 5’8″ corner working to rise above a 6’2″ wideout.
What’s more, Trufant was trying to do the impossible so far this camp: pick off rookie QB Geno Smith.
On this play, 5’8″ stood tall.
“Was that Geno?” Trufant said, genuinely seeming not to know that Smith, who reportedly hadn’t been intercepted in the first four days of camp, had finally been picked. “He’s an exceptional athlete. He has great placement on the ball. As a DB, it’s always tough to try and go get those picks. Sometimes they can fall in there for you, sometimes you’ve got to go get them.”
It’s a great story that Trufant was able to go get this one and has looked good back in his role of nickel corner and back-end buzzsaw. He was having a decent season last year, topped by his showing vs. Wes Welker up at New England in Week 7, only to suffer a season-ending knee injury two weeks later at Seattle.
“I started to feel myself again a little bit in minicamp,” he said of his rehab process. “Then that break helped a lot. Really within that break it started to come around.”
Isaiah Trufant knows it’s never going to be easy. He’s only a third-year NFL player but you can make him a 10th-season player if you count in his seasons with the Spokane Shock, Kansas City Brigade and Arizona Rattlers in the Arena leagues and the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives. Now he’s in camp with Dee Milliner, the first-round pick who was in pads but limited at today’s practice and was conducting his own news update with reporters about 20 yards behind us.
“I don’t worry about those things,” Trufant said about such personnel issues as a first-round pick costing the former free agent a roster spot. “I just focus on me doing the best things I can do. Some things may be out of my hands, out of my control. I can’t dwell on those things.”
He’s therefore not dwelling much on the Jets’ Week 2 date with the Patriots in Foxboro, Mass., when he could, if things break well and the game plan calls for it, be covering Danny Amendola, not Welker, who’s now a Bronco.
“It could be,” Trufant said. “I’m just going to be ready for whatever position I’m put in. Whether it’s special teams or defense, I’ve got to be ready.”
Both Smith and Mark Sanchez had down days throwing the ball. Sanchez returned to run with the first offense. He threw a screen that was batted in the air and almost picked off by a roaring Muhammad Wilkerson, and suffered a pick by Antonio Cromartie. Sanchez also threw one TD pass but Stephen Hill couldn’t hold onto another. Yet Hill made a beautiful leaping snag of a Sanchez downfield throw.
Head coach Rex Ryan on Sanchez: “I think everybody gets enamored with anybody who can throw a 96-mile-per-hour fastball. Mark certainly has a good enough arm to play in this league, he’s done it.” … Ryan on Geno: “Holding the football concerns me a little bit. If I could point to a negative, we’re going to take some hits. But along those lines, he has confidence, he’s got poise, he’s hanging in there, and he’s very accurate with the football.”
Ryan said third-round rookie Brian Winters got some work at guard with the ones today because Stephen Peterman had “a little bit of a shoulder.” “But certainly we said there’s going to be competition at that guard spot.” … First-round DL Sheldon Richardson didn’t practice due to some dental issues. “One tooth needs to come out,” said Rex, “and he maybe needs a root canal in another.” … Today’s attendance: 1,333.
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Danny Amendola, Geno Smith, Isaiah Trufant, Mark Sanchez, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rex Ryan, Vidal Hazelton, Wes Welker
Posted in Randy Lange | 26 Comments »
Geno Smith has gotten headlines the last few days for his still interception-less training camp during 7-on-7 and team drills. But what about Greg McElroy? He hasn’t thrown a pick, either.
That’s not to say that McElroy’s time at SUNY Cortland has been perfect, but the experience has still been good.
“There are, like, two throws that I’d really like to have back. One was an inaccurate throw and the other was a throw that just got away from me a little,” the redheaded third-year Jets signalcaller recalled. “I’d like to think I’m a bit of a perfectionist. If there’s one play, until I get it right and get an opportunity to do it again, I’m going to remember that play, remember what I did wrong and how I can improve it in the future.
“There’s certainly a lot of things to improve on, but I’m pleased with the way the first few days of camp have gone.”
Most reporters and many fans are consumed with how the starting quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith is going. But more than a few Jets followers also would like to hear from McElroy, so I tracked him down before lunch today to see how he’s faring and where his head’s at.
And one thing that came through clearly from G-Mac, the kid from Southlake, Texas, who quarterbacked a national title team in high school and another one even more famously at Alabama, is that he’s not consumed by the fact that head coach Rex Ryan and the Jets’ offensive coaches have not included him in a three-way camp battle for No. 1.
“My goal this camp is to improve on one individual aspect every single practice, and that’s all I focus on,” he said. “I’m pleased to be out there, and I’m just glad to be given reps and I try to make the most of that.
“Another one of my goals is to try to help Mark, Geno and Matt [Simms] any way I possibly can. That’s been what I’ve done over the last few years, try to help out the other guys around me and try to make them better. And that doesn’t just stop at quarterback. That goes to every position. I try to know as much about the offense as possible so if there is a situation where someone needs help, I would love to be able to assist them in any way possible.”
All the while, he’s continuing to pick up the nuances of coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast scheme. You hear about QBs having to learn two systems in two years or three in three, but counting his senior year at Alabama he’s had four different coordinators in four years, plus three other coordinators in his first three seasons with the Crimson Tide.
“I wouldn’t say I’m used to it but I’ve experienced it before. It’s a great challenge,” McElroy said of learning a new system, adding, “It’s been a treat learning the West Coast system. It’s a system you’ve grown up watching, a system you feel like you knew a lot about — until you actually get your hands on the playbook. Then it’s quite different than what you expected.”
Mac said he appreciates the attention to detail that Mornhinweg, RBs coach Anthony Lynn and OL coach Mike Devlin pay to the running game.
“So much of the time you hear about the West Coast being passpasspasspasspass, but Coach Mornhinweg’s done such a great job of going through our run installs. It’s really been a point of emphasis for us,” he said. “Marty’s a terrific offensive mind. He’s been in this league a long time and every player on that field has a tremendous amount of respect for him. He’s done a great job.”
McElroy will continue trying to do a great job in his role, whether it’s pushing Sanchez and Smith for a few reps with the ones or fighting off Simms for the No. 3 job. His attitude would probably help make him a good pastor or teacher or coach. But right now he’s got another job to do.
“I get to wake up and put on pads and I get to go out and practice football and learn and discuss football and play the game I was playing at 5 years old in my front yard,” he said. “This is still a dream come true. I have an opportunity to play for this organization, to play for Rex, and I appreciate every second that I’m out here and I won’t ever take it for granted. Whatever my role may be, I want to do it the best I possibly can.”
Tags: Geno Smith, Greg McElroy, Mark Sanchez, Marty Mornhinweg, Matt Simms, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 42 Comments »
Updated, 4:42 p.m. ET
For a couple of periods in Sunday’s afternoon practice, Kenrick Ellis looked like the beast that ate Cortland, as the player the Jets envisioned him being when they took a chance on him in the third round in the 2011 draft. No. 93 was knifing past the first-string O-line, making tackles in the backfield and blowing up running plays like an unstoppable defensive tackle should.
“Yesterday Kenrick Ellis decides to totally dominate the 9-on-7 period,” head coach Rex Ryan confirmed at this afternoon’s news conference. “Today we made sure we blocked him, I don’t think there was any doubt about that, whether we were doubling him or whatever it was.”
Ellis noticed that as well. I asked him after this morning’s second padded practice at SUNY Cortland if he could recall a personal highlight from camp so far. He instead chose a lowlight from today’s session.
“You know what? The highlight of my practice was when I got double-teamed and got my butt kicked by 66, Willie [Colon], and 77, Austin [Howard]. And that just showed me I have so much more to work on, man. That’s what stood out to me, not being able to dominate those guys.”
I gently reminded Kenrick that it was in fact a double-team block, their 648 pounds against his 346. Maybe he was being a little hard on himself?
“If you take your craft seriously, double-team or not, you’re still supposed to be able to impose your will,” he said. “They got the best of me.”
That may sound like the Ellis who was fighting to keep his head above water his first two NFL seasons, but I detected just a little smile at the corner of his mouth, a sense that while he’s still talking a nose-to-the-grindstone approach, he knows he’s starting to make those big strides that many want to see.
He gave a little hint of that when he was asked about the Sunday practice.
“It’s a competition,” he said. “We have a bunch of guys on the D-line, so what you do every day is just try to stand out from the rest. You have to come in here with a mentality like ‘I want the job.’ Damon Harrison wants the job. Antonio Garay wants the job. Everybody wants the job. We’re just going to have a healthy competition, compete every day and battle and see who gets it.”
It’s still too early to call the starting D-line, but Ellis, who got that Colon-Howard butt-whooping in line drills, came back in team drills to put a roaring pressure up the middle on Geno Smith, forcing either a hurried incompletion or a sack, depending on who’s scoring.
But one thing is clear no matter who the scorer is. Kenrick is coming on.
First-round draft pick Dee Milliner, after agreeing to contract terms Sunday night, spent a good portion of today getting from Alabama to Cortland, N.Y. He is expected to talk with Jets reporters this evening around 7:30 p.m. ET. When he holds that news conference, newyorkjets.com will carry it live.
QB update: Both Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith hit Jeremy Kerley with touchdown passes in 7-on-7 drills today. Sanchez threw a short-zone interception to LB Josh Mauga, who’s had a couple of strong days with the second defense. Smith continues without an interception in 7-on-7 and team drills but also suffered a couple of big pressures that would have been sacks in live action. “Geno’s not throwing picks,” Ryan said, “but we don’t want to be taking sacks. That’s one area he can improve his game, but I’m certainly impressed he hasn’t thrown a pick.”
The kickers were smoking today for the second straight day. Nick Folk was dead-on from 40, 44 and 49 yards, while Billy Cundiff nailed a 53-yarder to end the last two-minute drill of the day, then converted from 42 and 46 in the FG drill to end practice.
Today’s attendance was 970. Tuesday is an off day for the players. Thursday should be a crowd-pleaser as Ryan said he thinks the first live goal-line drills of camp will be held that morning, and goal line will also be a part of Saturday night’s Green & White scrimmage. … Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan were here this morning taping interviews for their SiriusXM NFL Radio show that airs daily from 3-7 p.m. ET.
Tags: Austin Howard, Billy Cundiff, Geno Smith, Jeremy Kerley, Kenrick Ellis, Mark Sanchez, Nick Folk, Rex Ryan, Willie Colon
Posted in Randy Lange | 43 Comments »
The defense seemed ahead of the offense in the conclusion of today’s first full-pads practice of Jets training camp, but that was OK with Geno Smith, who got in some shots of his own while running the first offense.
“It felt good to have the pads on. Guys were out there hitting, getting back to football,” Smith said late this afternoon, standing near the Cortland Stadium turf field where the Jets finishing up their morning practice that was truncated by heavy rain and lightning. “It felt really good to see guys out there competing. The offense and the defense did a really good job out there.”
It was Smith’s turn to work with the first offense, and while that unit was on fire in its first day of full-pads contact (but not taking runners to the ground), Smith seemed comfortable in moving around in the pocket, avoiding the multiple pressures, and finding some of his receivers. He hit Jeff Cumberland downfield in position drills (more on that from reporter Josh Citron in a little while) and then a big 40-yarder to Stephen Hill.
Geno shrugged off any significance of getting his turn with the ones.
“I think going against the first-team defense is a lot different because those guys have a lot of veterans on that side and they know what they’re doing, they know how to disguise things, so it makes it a bit tougher,” he said. “But I think it all helps us out, especially me being a young guy, it helps me out seeing a defense that’s so experienced, just to get a chance to compete against those guys.”
Mark Sanchez took his turn with the twos and went 5-for-7 passing to Smith’s 4-for-6. Afterward, No. 6 told reporters, just a short distance away from No. 7′s media gathering, that no matter which unit he’s working with, he likes the Jets’ juice up here in central New York.
“I love the energy we have here,” Sanchez said. “I love what we’re building here in Cortland. I think we’ve got a ton of talent. Now we’ve just got to use it the right way and trust the coaches to do that. … We’ve really turned the page from last year. I think we’ve got a good group.”
The positivity didn’t end for either QB regarding one of the hot topics of the last 24 hours, GM John Idzik’s Saturday statement that “I have a pretty big role” in the ultimate starting QB decision and head coach Rex Ryan’s agreement today that “at no time is it a one-man show. It’s always a team decision. That’s the way it’s always been.”
Mark on his relationship with Idzik: “John has an open line of communication, as do I. Things have been good. We’ve talked about the ballclub, we’ve talked about whatever comes up. It’s been good.”
Geno on the QB call that will be made in several short weeks: “I just come out here and do my job, which is to compete. Like I’ve always said, they’re going to make the decision. The only thing I can do is take care of what I can control, which is manage every single rep I get on the field and make sure I prepare myself for the classroom.”
DT Kenrick Ellis and DE Muhammad Wilkerson were very active for the first D, especially against the run, while LB Josh Mauga made some plays for the twos. … TE Kellen Winslow and WR Braylon Edwards, on that Ryan “pitch count,” were not in pads for the p.m. session. … The attendance for the short one-period-long morning workout before the suspension and for the afternoon stadium practice was a combined 990.
Tags: Cortland Stadium, Geno Smith, John Idzik, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 16 Comments »
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 »
Updated, 10:58 p.m. ET
The last week of July brings one of the great joys for all football fans: the start of training camp. For me, it also brings one of the year’s disappointments: seeing some of the hard work of the last month become immediately outdated.
I’m talking about the Jets’ roster, of course.
With the flurry of signing activity of the past two days, those lovingly crafted rosters that appear in the 2013 Jets Yearbook and in the Daily News training camp pullout are now, well, inaccurate. Darn.
But hey, that’s football. And with this new-fangled Internet thing, we can get you up to speed just as quickly as the Jets can change the names and numbers.
The one number situation we all knew was coming was with Braylon Edwards. Not only is he back for Round 3 in green and white, but he’s back as No. 17.
I don’t recall why Braylon gravitated toward that number. He was No. 1 at Michigan, we all recall, but he’s been 17 at every stop in the pros (Browns, Jets, 49ers, Seahawks). Perhaps it had something to do with his Wolverines-record 17 career 100-yard receiving games. Maybe it was reinforced by the only 17-yard season per-catch average — his 17.1 with the Jets in 2010.
Regardless, with Edwards’ return, Jordan White’s number is up. Number 17, that is. White has worn that as a Jet except when Braylon’s been around. Late last season, White, then a rookie, shifted to 89. And he’ll be wearing 16 in the first training camp practice, which will kick off Friday at 10 a.m.
Here are the other number assignments for the new arrivals:
8 — K Billy Cundiff
68 — LS Patrick Scales
78 — DL Leger Douzable
79 — T J.B. Shugarts
I’ll leave you with one final number before heading back on campus to await the arrival of the rest of the Jets caravan this afternoon at their SUNY Cortland dorm. That number is 80.
You’ll recall Edwards’ 80-yard touchdown catch-and-run on a Mark Sanchez pass in the 2009 AFC Championship Game at Indianapolis. That 80-yarder was and remains the longest reception by a Jets WR since … Wesley Walker. Wesley reeled in an 83-yarder from Ken O’Brien at Seattle late in the 1986 season. The only longer Jets pass play since then was the 82-yard screen supreme from Vinny Testaverde to Leon Johnson against the Colts in 1998.
Can Braylon duplicate his feats of yore in his third Jets incarnation? You know what they say about stocks: Past results are no guarantee of future performance. But maybe Edwards can play like he’s 17 again. That would be outstanding.
Tags: 17, Braylon Edwards, Jordan White, Leon Johnson, Mark Sanchez, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Randy Lange | 25 Comments »
It’s time to kick off the third quarter. In other words, today’s the day we deliver you a blog and tweets on the third quarter of the Jets’ 2013 season, Games 9-12, which of course include a Game 11, Week 12 match with the Super Bowl champion Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
This blog comes two weeks after we bullet-pointed the tough Second Quarter of the season and four weeks since we began our preview of the season with Games 1-4. We’ll wrap up our schedule blogs with the Fourth Quarter, Games 13-16, two weeks from today. (Asterisked games below are subject to the NFL’s flex-scheduling policy.)
Game 9 — vs. NEW ORLEANS, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 3, 1 p.m.
■ Jets trail series 6-5. Their last win over Saints: 2001 @ NO by 16-9. Their last home win over Saints: 1986 by 28-23.
■ Last meeting: Game 4 of 2009, when Mark Sanchez, off 3-0 start to career, had FUM, INT returned for TDs in 24-10 loss in Superdome.
■ Jets 3-2 vs QB Drew Brees (3-1 vs SD, 0-1 vs NO). Brees career passing vs NYJ: 101-155 (65.2%), 1117 yds, 5 TDs, 6 INTs, 81.0 rating.
■ Green & White will run into former S Jim Leonhard, former TE nemesis in Benjamin Watson, and Rex Ryan’s twin bro Rob, now Saints’ DC.
Game 10 — @ BUFFALO, Ralph Wilson Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 17, 1 p.m.*
■ Jets trail all-time series at BUF 29-23. They lost last road game to Bills 28-9 in 2012 finale but have won 4 of last 5 at “the Ralph.”
■ Jets coming off their bye week for this game. They’ve won their last 2 after bye when playing BUF, in ’03 by 30-3, in ’11 @ BUF by 27-11.
■ DE Mario Williams has 2 career sacks in 5 games vs Jets, both with HOU. Williams had no sacks in both NYJ-BUF games in ’12.
■ This will be Jets’ first game @ BUF vs new Bills HC Doug Marrone, their O-line coach from 2002-05.
Game 11 — @ BALTIMORE, M&T Bank Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m.*
■ Jets trail series overall 7-1, have never beaten Ravens in BAL (0-4). Last meeting: 34-17 Sunday night loss in 2011.
■ In that ’11 loss, Joe McKnight dazzled with 107-yd kickoff-return TD, longest play of any kind in Jets franchise history.
■ Jets HC Rex Ryan was Ravens asst coach 1999-08, DC 2005-08. Rex’s record vs BAL: 0-2 in regular season, 0-1 in preseason.
■ Joe Flacco, last year’s Super Bowl MVP, in his 2 starts vs Jets: 30-for-69 passing (43.5%), 411 yds, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 51.1 rating … 2-0 record.
Game 12 — vs. MIAMI, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m.*
■ Jets lead overall series 49-44-1 and series at home 27-20. But they lost last game at MetLife last year 30-9 and six of the last nine.
■ First of 2 games with Dolphins in December. Last time that happened: 1999, when Jets, Ray Lucas, beat ‘Fins, Dan Marino twice.
■ WR Santonio Holmes’ last game vs MIA: 9 catches, 147 yds, including 38-yd catch in OT to set up Nick Folk game-winning FG last Sept.
■ This could be Jets’ first meeting vs TE Dustin Keller. DK was Jets 1st-round pick in 2008 who left for Dolphins as UFA this March.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Doug Marrone, Dustin Keller, Jim Leonhard, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Santonio Holmes
Posted in Randy Lange | 25 Comments »
Updated, 3:38 p.m. ET
There’s something different about Kyle Wilson this offseason, and it’s a lot more than the absence of the trademark dreadlocks the cornerback wore his first three seasons in green and white.
“I’m excited about where Kyle is,” head coach Rex Ryan said this morning before the start of the final practice of the Jets’ full-squad minicamp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “This is the best [offseason] he’s had, and its not close. I’ve been proud of the way he’s come into these OTAs, the way he’s competing.”
Wilson said there are no big secrets to the offseason he’s had.
“I’m just using my experience to my advantage,” he said. “I know exactly what to look for, I know why we’re calling stuff in different scenarios. I try to use that to think like a coach out there so I’m not having rookie mistakes. But you can see things and understand what we’re trying to do defensively to put myself in a better position.”
Wilson has a couple of things going for him in the Jets’ post-Island world. When Darrelle Revis went down for the season at Miami in Game 3, Kyle moved into Revis’ left corner spot for the last 13 games and 14 overall opposite Antonio Cromartie, giving him his most playing time as a pro — he averaged almost 60 defensive snaps a game playing either outside or in the slot.
The other element is the drafting of Dee Milliner ninth overall. Many assumed Milliner, the Alabama corner, was taken to plug into the starting lineup after Revis was traded to Tampa Bay the week of the draft.
“That’s wrong,” GM John Idzik said at the time. “It may be perceived that way, but the reality is Dee was one of our highest-ranked players, regardless of position on the board, so we took him.”
And the offseason reality has been that Milliner has been sidelined by his shoulder rehab as expected while Wilson has been picking up where he left off.
Motivation? “Yeah, it’s going to do something,” Wilson said in the locker room today before he and his teammates split for their last extended downtime of the year before the start of training camp. “But me just staying focused is going to help me out and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
“Certainly there’s going to be competition for that spot,” Ryan said. “Dee will have every opportunity to compete for that as well. You take a guy with the ninth overall pick for good reason. We’ll see how it goes.”
“Right now my focus is it doesn’t matter to me who’s here and who’s not here,” Wilson said. “I don’t think anything is going to change the way I go out there and perform on the field. That’s really my focus of getting better, doing my best personally to help out the team.”
Geno Comments a Day Later
Rookie QB Geno Smith clarified his no-comment responses to several questions at the end of his Wednesday locker room news conference regarding his attending Jets West, the independent get-together of Jets skill players that Mark Sanchez holds back in his Southern California stomping grounds.
“When you guys asked me about Jets West yesterday, myself and Mark, we hadn’t met to discuss that,” Smith said. “It kind of caught me off guard because it’s not on my schedule. Basically I didn’t comment because I was always taught if you don’t know what you’re answering, not to comment on it. We hadn’t talked about it.
“But from my understanding, it’s something that’s done annually, all the guys go out there, and it’s been a great event. Mark hasn’t officially extended the hand to me, but I’m pretty sure there’s no problem there. I’m more than willing to go there, get some work, and work with the guys, because it helps team bonding. I fully support that.”
Ryan on the minicamp and offseason: “I’m happy where the team’s at. Clearly we have a long way to go in a lot of areas, but we threw so much at our guys. I’m really proud of the preparation our guys showed, and obviously I think we made a lot of strides in our strength and conditioning. We’ve got a ton of stuff to improve on, we know that. This is just the beginning of the process.”
Receivers’ hands showed up better today. Stephen Hill had a nice go-route, wrong-shoulder grab of a Geno pass over Josh Bush during the final practice inside the Jets’ fieldhouse. Veteran tryout WR Mike Sims-Walker also had a nice grab. … Demario Davis and Aaron Berry had nice aggressive interceptions. … Ryan on the possibility of signing tryout WR Kellen Winslow: “I’m not going to discuss that now but I see exactly what you see. … You can certainly feel his presence.” … RB-KR Joe McKnight tweaked his ankle Wednesday but finished that practice and worked today.
Tags: Dee Milliner, Geno Smith, John Idzik, Kyle Wilson, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 44 Comments »
In many ways, Mike Westhoff is as busy as ever.
He’s retired as an NFL assistant coach after his three-decades cup of coffee. He’s reorganized his house in Fort Myers, Fla., for fulltime occupation. He’s done speaking engagements and clinics at Texas A&M, LSU and Notre Dame. He’s been fishing a lot, for tarpon — “I caught an incredible, ‘monster’ tarpon. I’ve hit them before but never successfully got one” — and trout and a half-dozen sharks, all catch-and-release. With his multi-procedure leg finally feeling great, he’s ready to pick up the game of golf again after a 15-year hiatus.
“That’s where it is. That’s enough,” said Coach Westy. “I’m enjoying it.”
Most of all, he seems to be enjoying his new role ahead as a member of the Jets media. He’s signed a contract with ESPN to work the Jets’ pregames this year, both preseason and regular season, and he’ll also be dropping in on ESPN radio shows during the week when needed. Check out Mike at the start of his newly begun radio career on Tuesday afternoon on the Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
That’s one of the things he likes most about his (semi-)retirement: the freedom.
“I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing. I love where I live. I love living in Florida yet still being able to come back to New York,” he said over a quick tuna-melt muffin in the Jets’ second-floor servery at the Atlantic Health Training Center.
“I’m excited about doing radio. I think it’ll be fun. Presenting a certain perspective is what I’m interested in doing,” he said. “It keeps me involved in what I love doing, but not to the degree I did as a coach. Let’s put it this way: I miss a lot of the interaction with the guys, the players and coaches. I don’t miss the scheduling thing.”
Westhoff’s trip to his home away from home since 2001 filled several needs. He’ll visit with his new “signalcallers” at ESPN in New York City this afternoon. He also came by to make the rounds at practice, but only “behind the yellow line” from where the media watched today’s OTA session.
Mike was hired in part for his incredible visibility as the highly successful Jets and Dolphins special teams guru, as well as for his call-’em-as-I-see-’em opinions. He’ll have plenty of those beginning tomorrow with Kay, but he had a few positive observations about the Jets’ teams and on Ben Kotwica, who’s succeeded him as the coordinator of those specialists.
“Oh, Ben will do fine,” Westhoff said. “They looked fine today. They’re organized, they know what they’re doing. It’s a challenge, but he’s got some things to work with.”
He mentioned some of the Jets’ holdovers this year that Kotwica and ST assistant Louie Aguiar are working with: K Nick Folk, P Robert Malone, returners Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley, blockers and tacklers Nick Bellore, Josh Mauga, Isaiah Trufant, Kenrick Ellis, long-snapper Tanner Purdum.
“They have some very solid ingredients. Now it all has to come together. There’s certainly a good chance that it will,” Westhoff said. “Training camp’s in a couple of weeks. We’ll find out pretty soon.”
Westhoff was also cryptic about a sign he used to hang in his first-floor office: “Real Men Play on Sundays.” We think that has something to do with playing with injuries. We’ll hear more from Mike on that in the coming weeks and months.
As for now, after real men play on enough Sundays, they get to go back to Florida, fish sharks and 200-pound tarpon, play golf on the course where their house is located, and come back to New York to comment on the other real men who are still playing on Sundays. All the best in retirement, Mike.
This being a media day, some reporters seemed to want to pin head coach Rex Ryan down to a timetable for declaring his starting quarterback for training camp and the season ahead. Not surprisingly, Rex said it’s not time for that yet.
“I don’t think we’re close to that right now,”: he said after both Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith scrambled for red-zone completions against the defense while throwing to a still banged-up wideout corps. “And I think the process, you don’t have to make that move until we feel 100 percent comfortable with that decision. Until then we’ll just leave to the competition.”
Ryan confirmed, not that it’s a surprise, that it’ll be his call on the starter behind C Nick Mangold for opening day against the Buccaneers.
“It won’t be just my evaluation,” he said. “But at the end of the day I guess it will be. If there’s a split camp, then I will make that decision.”
Tags: Ben Kotwica, Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, Michael Kay, Mike Westhoff, Rex Ryan
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