It’s been a roller-coaster season of learning for second-round rookie WR Stephen Hill. Just a few weeks ago he talked about what he had planned for the last month of his first pro season.
“I just want to finish this season as hard as I can,” said the tall, fast, earnest young man from Georgia Tech. “I know a little more about what it takes to be great, or greater. I’m going to take that from today and try to build on that every day from today on into the offseason.”
Today Hill learned that he would be spending the final two weeks of the regular season on injured reserve with his knee injury.
The 6’4″, 215-pounder began the season with incredible promise, becoming the first Jet ever to debut with two touchdown catches in his first game in green and white against the Bills on opening day.
But those five catches for 89 yards and two TDs would be the high point of his inaugural season in the play-for-pay league. He had four receptions for 55 yards at New England and 5-for-40 in the 7-6 win over Arizona. But he also had several drops, two in the end zone and one late at Gillette Field that, had he caught it, likely would have iced an upset win over the Patriots.
He fought his way through calf, hamstring and ankle injuries and illness to post 21 catches for 252 yards (12.0 avg.) and three TDs. His last contribution to the cause came on the play on which he reinjured his knee, when he was pulled down by CB Derek Cox to draw a 14-yard pass interference penalty in the second quarter at Jacksonville.
Hill left EverBank Field that day limping only slightly and with an electro-stim device connected to his knee, smiling and talking optimistically about getting back quickly from this latest physical setback. But the progress had been slow, with head coach Rex Ryan saying this morning that Hill wouldn’t practice today at the Atlantic Health Training Center and adding that “He’s not going to be able to go” on Sunday against San Diego.
With the arrival off waivers last week of WR Braylon Edwards, his contribution on a week’s work at Tennessee, and the good condition of his sore hamstring, the Jets decided late today to place Hill on IR. Taking his place on the active roster is CB Donnie Fletcher, signed for the second time this season off the Jets’ practice squad.
Hill becomes the eighth player to go on IR in this painful Jets season, following CB Darrelle Revis, WR Santonio Holmes, LB Josh Mauga, CB Isaiah Trufant, TE Dedrick Epps, FB-TE Josh Baker and CB Royce Adams.
Wednesday Injury Reports
Going on IR, Hill is no longer on the Jets’ I-report, but 20 players were listed today for the Chargers game.
Four players did not practice. Ryan said of the availability of TE Dustin Keller (ankle) for Sunday, “I’m not real sure. I’ll lean on the trainers for that.” G Brandon Moore (hip/foot) is a DNP because “off a short week, I think we’re just giving him a day, pretty much.” WR Chaz Schilens (knee/calf) “did finish the game, so we’ll see about him.” And Ryan said he’s “concerned” with CB Aaron Berry (hamstring).
The Jets’ five limited players are all working through previous injuries: WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring), S LaRon Landry (heel), DT Sione Po‘uha (low back), LB Ricky Sapp (ankle) and LB Bryan Thomas (chest). The other 11 players were all full-go today.
The Chargers listed eight players: Did Not Practice — DT Aubrayo Franklin (knee), LB Takeo Spikes (hamstring). Limited — RB Ronnie Brown (hamstring), LB Donald Butler (groin), LB Demorrio Williams (ankle). Full — T Jeromey Clary (knee), G Tyronne Green (hamstring), WR Eddie Royal (hamstring).
Tags: Braylon Edwards, Darrelle Revis, Derek Cox, Donnie Fletcher, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill
Posted in Randy Lange | 55 Comments »
Updated, 6:20 p.m. ET
Head coach Rex Ryan said he was hoping against hope but that the more medical news that came in, the less hope there was.
So this afternoon Ryan announced that CB Darrelle Revis will be placed on injured reserve, officially ending his season.
“I know I had said before that I’d like to wait for Darrelle to have surgery,” Ryan said at his afternoon news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “Unfortunately, really with our time situation and Eric Smith being out this week, we’re going to need that roster spot.
“And when I said there was a point-zero-zero-two chance, it’s not that high. In the best interests of the organization and Darrelle, we’ll place him on IR. He won’t be designated for return. And that will be it. I was holding out hope, but the more information we got, the more you realized it wouldn’t be good for Darrelle either.”
Ryan said Revis will undergo surgery on his torn ACL on Thursday, Oct. 18. He also reported that WR Santonio Holmes (foot) and LB Josh Mauga (pectoral) have already undergone surgery for their injuries. Holmes’ Lisfranc injury occurred against San Francisco and Mauga’s came Monday night vs. Houston.
“We’re anticipating and assuming, really, that these guys will be full-go when we come back in the offseason,” the coach said.
The Jets also announced tonight that they are filling Revis’ roster spot by signing S Antonio Allen, their seventh-round pick out of South Carolina, from the practice squad. Due to Smith’s injury Allen could be in uniform Sunday. With Stephen Hill’s potential return to action, it’s possible five of the eight members of the Jets’ 2012 draft class could see action vs. the Colts.
Hill Will “Try to Make a Big Difference”
Newyorkjets.com reporter John Holt reports from the Jets locker room this afternoon on rookie Stephen Hill:
It’s been a little over a month now since rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill broke onto the NFL scene.
The 6”4’, 215-pounder has missed the last two games rehabbing from a hamstring injury that he suffered during the Jets’ 23-20 overtime win against Miami back on Sept. 23.
“It’s been hard,” Hill said this afternoon after practice, “but the guys in here have been keeping me grounded and making sure I get back out there as quickly as possible.”
It appears that No. 84 will make his return Sunday when the Jets host No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. The Colts hold a 2-2 record and are coming off an impressive 30-27 win over Green Bay.
“I feel pretty good,” Hill said. “I’m just looking forward to Sunday.”
After catching five passes for 89 yards and scoring two touchdowns in his NFL debut, Hill was held without a reception in his next two games.
While sidelined, one of his biggest mentors, WR Santonio Holmes, suffered a season-ending foot injury. Hill, the Green & White’s second-round draft selection, understands that although he still is a rookie, he will be expected to step up moving forward.
“I’m going to try and make a big difference, as much as I can, any plays that I’m in,” he said. “But other than that, we’ve been doing a great job. We just have to get that connection. Once we get that connection, it’s going to be great.”
Besides Hill, the Jets also expect to have tight end Dustin Keller back Sunday. Keller, who previously hadn’t missed a game or practice in his four-year career, has missed the past four games, also with a hamstring injury.
With both receiving options expected back, quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense should receive a significant boost.
“It’s frustrating,” Hill said, “especially as a guy that doesn’t do that, just sit on the sideline for an injury. But you know, I had to go through it and I hope it’s best for me, so I didn’t have to hurt anything.”
The Rest of the Injuries
Besides Hill, the Jets listed three other players as limited today: TE Dustin Keller (hamstring), C Nick Mangold (ankle) and LB Bryan Thomas (hamstring). Keller and Thomas are both probable to play vs. the Colts. As Keller said in one last visit with reporters today, “I would never guarantee anything, but I think I’m pretty much 100 percent.”
Mangold is listed as questionable with the ankle he injured early in the third quarter against Houston. Although he returned at the end of the third quarter and finished the game, he was held out of team drills all this week. But Ryan said today, “I definitely am hopeful he plays” against Indy.
Five players did not participate and all are listed as doubtful: FB John Conner (hamstring), DT Kenrick Ellis (knee), WR Clyde Gates (shoulder), DT Sione Po‘uha (back) and S Eric Smith (knee).
The Colts are listing six players as out for the Jets — LB Pat Angerer (foot), RB Donald Brown (knee), LB Robert Mathis (knee), DT Fili Moala (knee), G Joe Reitz (knee) and DT Martin Tevaseu (ankle) — and one player as doubtful — CB Vontae Davis (ankle). All but Angerer and Tevaseu, the former Jet, are starters.
Three Colts are probable for the game: LB Dwight Freeney (ankle), RB Mewelde Moore (ankle) and C Samson Satele (knee).
Cena Steps into the Ring Sunday
WWE Superstar John Cena will lead the Jets chant pregame and serve as an honorary team captain before Sunday’s game against the Colts at MetLife Stadium. WrestleMania XXIX will be coming to MetLife Stadium on April 7, 2013. Cena will be playing his new role six days after comedian Kevin James handled the chant duties at Monday night’s game against the Texans.
Tags: Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, Eric Smith, Indianapolis Colts, injured reserve, Josh Mauga, Nick Mangold, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill
Posted in Randy Lange | 25 Comments »
Updated, 4:02 p.m. ET
The Jets, having lost their second starter and star in two weeks with word that Santonio Holmes is out for the season with a Lisfranc foot injury, are now in fragile football territory. But Rex Ryan said today, as expected and as he should say, that he believes these Jets are made of the right stuff to overcome this latest setback.
“It does test the resolve of your team, but I think that’s one of our strengths,” the Jets head coach said at today’s midday news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “I know the character of the men in the locker room. That’s what I’ll lean on.
“I absolutely know how confident I am. I’m going to lean on them and I expect a lot from them. Are they as confident as I am? You’ll have to ask them, but I would think we are.”
Also as one would expect, the players after practice also expressed confidence in the face of the longer odds these days as the undefeated Houston Texans come to town for some Monday Night Football:
“Every game’s important, but this is one where we definitely need everything in the forefront,” safety Yeremiah Bell said. “Obviously we’re not happy about how we played Sunday. We can’t wait to get back on the field.”
“It’s always difficult to lose guys to injury. It’s a tough task for our guys to overcome,” center Nick Mangold offered. “But that’s what we expect and that’s what I think we’ll do.”
DT Mike DeVito hasn’t wavered from his belief in his unit. “I always say about this defense, we’ve got to be the rock on this team. We’ve got to be the constant.”
And rookie LB/special teamer Demario Davis replied: “You have injuries, that’s part of it. You can’t win with players you don’t have. You have to win with players you’ve got. We have to go play.”
In regard to the Jets’ battle readiness, Ryan was asked to address 49ers corner Carlos Rogers’ comments about the Jets on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday night that “It really kind of shocked me to see that those guys were really just ready to get in the shower” during Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium.
“Certainly we didn’t play well,” Ryan said. “I think we have a reputation in this league of playing with tremendous effort and we didn’t play that way. As far as us quitting, no way. We got beat, no two ways about it, and we talked about that. But it does show that other teams expect a lot out of this defense, but obviously not any more than we expect from ourselves.”
“Did we get fatigued? I think we did, we wore down at the end of the game. But there was no quit. You can look at that tape. There’s no quit.”
Yet the Jets will now have to fight woe-is-us syndrome, and fight it off quickly because the Houston Texans have been flexing their muscles to a 4-0 start and come into MetLife for the Jets’ first primetime game of the season on Monday night.
It’s hard to say how soon the newest arrivals will be able to contribute to the Jets’ effort and performance in the coming weeks, but several sore spots or openings have been filled this week. Jason Hill was signed to help out at the aching wideout position, Aaron Berry has come in at the Revis-less CB position, and Lex Hilliard comes in at RB/FB with three straight 16-game seasons of production on the Tony Sparano Dolphins from 2009-11.
Ryan said while his video from Sunday’s game doesn’t show the Jets heading for early showers, it does show errors that again must be worked on and corrected this week. He and his coaches huddled Monday and Tuesday, and the players will practice from today through Saturday to be ready for their closeups on ESPN.
“We have to get better. We can’t worry about who we play,” the coach said. “The fact that we’re playing a team regarded as the best team in the National Football League … we have to improve ourselves, go back and look at our team, what we’re trying to do, what we ask of ourselves before we get into game-plan specifics for Houston.
“That tape doesn’t lie. We have to improve. We have to get better. And I think we will.”
The New Hill at Wideout
Hill (6’0″, 202), San Francisco’s third-round pick (76th overall) out of Washington State in 2007, has had some production in three full seasons with San Francisco and parts of two seasons with Jacksonville. His career numbers are unimpressive (five seasons, 76 catches, 1,028 yards, 13.5 average, eight touchdowns).
But he picked it up in 16 games over those 2010 and ’11 seasons with the Jaguars, making 36 catches for a 17.1-yard average and four TDs. He’s also 27 and had the second-fastest 40 at the 2007 combine workouts with a 4.32 timing.
“I’m very excited,” he said today after his first practice in green and white catching a few passes from his new QB, Mark Sanchez. “This is a new beginning for myself. I’m looking to start something fresh here, pick it up and go in a positive way.”
Hill also, you’ll recall, was quoted as referring to the Jets in general and Darrelle Revis in particular as being “overhyped” before last season’s Game 2 Jets-Jags game — a game Hill was inactive due to a hip injury. But Hill, after no-commenting a few questions about that quote, said he felt things were taken out of context, especially in Jets territory.
“It’s in the past. We’re teammates now,” he said. “We’re going to move forward accordingly.”
Hill means it. He was in the middle of a workout with the Saints when his agent, Peter Schaffer, called him and told him of the opportunity with the Jets, “so I stopped the workout there and came here ASAP,” he said. “It was surprising, but that’s the business.”
More Giveaway Trivia
Several more notes from the Niners game:
Carlos Rogers not only had the longest fumble-return TD against the Jets since Rashard Anderson at Carolina in October 2001 but the Niners corner also had the longest FR TD in a Jets home game since DT Chukie Nwokorie (remember him?) went 95 yards with the aborted handoff from Vinny Testaverde to short-yardage FB David Loverne in the 2001 opening-day loss to the Colts.
Rogers also recovered the fumble forced by Dashon Goldson on Dedrick Epps’ reception, giving him two for the game. He’s the first opponent with two fumble recoveries in a game since LB Sam Cowart was a Bill and did it at Buffalo in 2000, and he’s the first opponent to recover two in a Jets home game since Bill Romanowski did the same, also for the Niners, in 1989.
Perhaps more significant than those trips down Bad Memory Lane is that the Jets lost three fumbles for only the second time since 2006. The only other time came at Baltimore last season.
As Monday night participants, the Jets and Texans don’t have to list their injuries until Thursday. Ryan said today about TE Dustin Keller (hamstring), who’s missed three games, “I always feel confident that he’s got a chance to get back and I’ve been wrong. … Really, I’m not sure. Maybe we’ll know more about it in the next couple of days. I don’t think he’s practicing today, though.” Rookie WR Stephen Hill (hamstring) also will not participate in today’s first practice of the week.
As for Holmes’ prognosis, Lisfranc surgery is ahead, no date yet announced, but Ryan said the Jets doctors and trainers “have confidence he’ll make a full recovery and be back next year.”
Tags: Carlos Rogers, Dustin Keller, Houston Texans, Jason Hill, Lex Hilliard, Rex Ryan, San Francisco 49ers, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill
Posted in Randy Lange | 99 Comments »
Updated, 5:45 p.m. ET
For some games, there are no silver linings. It’s all just dark clouds.
Hopefully for the day only, though. Now is there a chance that the Jets’ 34-0 loss to the 49ers on Sunday is a harbinger for the season?
Well, there is a chance. But the Jets are hardly throwing in the towel. Today and tomorrow are off days for the players, yet many will be at the Atlantic Health Training Center searching for mirrors and solutions. And the coaches are closeted here over the next two days doing the same from their end of the operation.
“I think it was pretty evident after the game,” head coach Rex Ryan said at today’s midday news conference of these coaches-only sessions. “Once you win, sometimes it’s harder to look, sometimes you don’t take as close a look at yourself as you need to. After you get beat like this, it’s not hard to. It’s something I just felt we needed to do.
“We have to come up with solutions. If we keep repeating the same things, how can we expect the results to change? That’s the challenge to the coaching staff. We’ve got to put our guys in the best positions to be successful and move forward.”
What gives Rex and the players confidence that they can right the ship?
“Because you have to,” guard Brandon Moore said on a conference call with reporters today. “There’s no other option.”
I think it was Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy who put it elegantly in an interview that aired Saturday on Sirius/XM NFL Radio. With the Packers coming off a difficult setback of their own (the last-second defeat at Seattle, which admittedly was not a 34-point home loss), McCarthy was asked about the mindset of his team.
“We welcome the opportunity to show how much we appreciate this game and how well we respond to adversity,” he said, or words to that effect.
There’s another reason not to raise the white flag for the Jets, even with the undefeated Texans riding into town for a primetime showdown with the Jets a week from tonight. History says things will get a lot closer in a week’s time.
Since 2000, for example, 25 teams lost home games by 34 or more points, by an average score of 42-6. Ooof. Their composite record in their next weeks’ games: 10-15 and an average score of 22-18, still in favor of the opponents but a lot
The success stories: The 2011 Tim Tebow Broncos lost at home to Detroit, 45-10 in Week 8, then went to Oakland and pillaged the Raiders, 38-24. The 2007 non-Tebow Broncos lost at Mile High to San Diego, 41-3, in Week 5, then hosted Pittsburgh and prevailed, 31-28. The ’05 Browns were smelted by the Steelers at home, 41-0, in Week 16, the finished up by beating Ryan’s former team, the Ravens, 20-16.
The Jets’ record in similar situations — 34-point home loss — showed no wins in five tries but with improved play the following week and the weeks after that. In 2002 they were crushed at home by the Patriots, 44-7, but overcame their 1-4 start to finish 9-7 and in the playoffs.
Open it up to performance after difficult defeats on the road and we have the ’06 playoff team that lost at Jacksonville, 41-0, and Rex’s ’10 model, which suffered their post-Jim Leonhard-injury letdown in the 45-3 rout at New England, then won four of their next six, including two road playoff games.
Of course, history reveals failures to bounce back from such adversity as well. It’s up to Ryan, his coaches and his players to show what it’s going to be in 2012.
“We have to challenge ourselves, and that’s what I think our team will do,” he said. “That’s why I needed the time away for the players. We can focus on the game, obviously, and focus on the solutions. By Wednesday we have to have some solutions ready to go.”
Holmes: Good News, No Break
Ryan said WR Santonio Holmes had X-rays on his left foot, injured early in the fourth quarter Sunday, and the results were negative, no break. He understands it’s not an Achilles injury but had no other details while the team doctors and trainers wait for the MRI results to return. How soon could Tone return? “Obviously, it looks doubtful for this week,” the coach said. “Further than that, I’m not sure.”
He didn’t rule out signing a wideout or a player at another position but said he and GM Mike Tannenbaum “will certainly look at those possibilities” that give the Jets the best chance to be successful.
One of those possibilities is CB Aaron Berry. The Jets hadn’t announced this addition but Ryan confirmed that Berry is coming aboard.
“We feel Aaron has a chance to be successful on and off the field here, and if we didn’t believe that, we wouldn’t bring him here,” Ryan said. “As a player, he has the physical skillset we look for in our corners, and No. 1 is man cover skills. He has that.”
But the 5’11″, 180-pound third-year man out of Pitt also comes with baggage, two arrests in a month that led the Lions to cut him July 23 and the NFL to suspend him for three games for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.
“Everybody’s made mistakes in our lives. I’ve always talked about it, and certainly I’ve made more than my share,” the coach said. “But we do background checks, Matt Cavanaugh was on the staff at Pitt when he was there. We feel good about Aaron.”
Rex had no timetable for how quickly Berry can get up to speed, but one result of the signing is that “We can put Joe McKnight back full-time at running back.” McKnight was pressed into potential emergency duty as a cornerback and who knows, may still pop up there down the road. He was in on two first-quarter plays against the Niners, blitzing from the slot both times.
McKnight also got in two kickoff returns vs. SF for 73 yards and the NFL’s defending KOR leader moved up to 10th in the current rankings with a 27.1-yard average on 10 returns.
Update: The Jets announced the signing of Berry, while TE Dedrick Epps was waived/injured. Berry will wear uniform No. 22.
Inside the Jets
Tonight’s guests on the weekly “Inside the Jets” show on ESPN 98.7 FM will be LB Aaron Maybin and DT Kenrick Ellis. As usual, the show will air from 7-8 p.m. ET and will be hosted by voice of the Jets Bob Wischusen from The Grasshopper Off the Green in Morristown, N.J.
Tags: Aaron Berry, Aaron Maybin, Brandon Moore, joe McKnight, Kenrick Ellis, Rex Ryan, San Francisco 49ers, Santonio Holmes
Posted in Randy Lange | 152 Comments »
Last week, in Tone’s Flags Drawn, Chapter 1, we examined the four penalties Santonio Holmes forced the Steelers into as they tried to cover him at Heinz Field, and how rare that accomplishment was in recent Jets history.
It’s so rare that in Miami, Holmes did it again. A pass interference against CB Nolan Carroll and an illegal contact and a PI against Richard Marshall were marked off for first downs. And a hold on Marshall was declined, because of course it came on Tone’s 38-yard hookup with Mark Sanchez that set up Nick Folk’s winning field goal.
Holmes thought about it when asked how to explain this case of yellow fever he’s been inducing in opposing DBs, and he came up with a few thoughts.
“It’s Coach Sanjay [Lal] telling me to play fast,” he said. “He studied a lot of film on me, from the moment he walked in, and that’s all we’ve been talking about: How can Number 10 play faster? I think just playing faster and being smarter, knowing I have an advantage with my stride length, my speed, my quickness, my ability to catch on these defensive backs. These guys are going to play to their advantage. I would rather take the penalty if I was a defensive back than to give up a big play by Number 10.”
Needless to say, Number 10 would prefer the catch over the flag.
“It’s really messing with my catches, I can honestly say that. It’s keeping them down by having the penalties drawn,” he said. “If we can keep stats on penalties per game per player, I think those yards would add up. We can add them to our receiving yards. They really do count.”
That’s why we’ve been counting the penalties drawn against the Jets as well as those caused by the Green & White since the mid-Nineties. These numbers are not official, since the Elias Sports Bureau only recently has been even unofficially charting penalties by individual players. But what Holmes has done in three games, in addition to his nine catches for 147 yards vs. the Dolphins, has been stunning.
He already has forced eight penalties this season (seven marked off). The only Jets wideouts who forced eight penalties in an entire season since ’95 are Keyshawn Johnson (13, 1999), Wayne Chrebet (14, 2000), Laveranues Coles (eight in 2005, 10 with one coming in the playoffs in 2006), Plaxico Burress (eight last season), and Holmes (10 for 120 yards last season).
So in his three Jets seasons, Holmes has coaxed 24 flags. And by maintaining his pace of the first three games, he should end up with, oh, 42 or 43 penalties drawn this year.
But then again, with the NFL referees replacing the replacement officials this week, perhaps Tone’s flags will taper off. But Santonio’s fine either way.
“It really doesn’t make a difference who’s out there calling it,” he said. “We could have guys off the streets just come in and call fouls on the football field. It’s according to what we do and how well we execute. For me as a receiver, my job is to continue getting open and drawing penalties, no matter what.”
So far, so good.
McKnight’s Still Wanted at RB
Head coach Rex Ryan let fans — and Joe McKnight — know today that McKnight’s days on offense are not over, despite the concentration this week on his new role in the secondary.
“I think Joe misunderstood,” Ryan said at his midday news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “He still has a role on offense. It’s not that he’s being forgotten as a running back. I want him to learn the coverages and things like that on defense because the way the league is now, you almost can’t have enough corners. They’re going four or five wide receivers.
“From a talent and physical standpoint he can definitely match up. He has some natural instincts. When we used to put him on the scout team, that’s what we saw. I’m putting him in defensive meetings right now because I think he needs that. He has enough grasp on the offense. We’re going to work him on defense and he still will have a role on offense.
Thursday Injury Reports
The Jets’ injury report grew by one to 20 today with the addition of G Matt Slauson (knee), but Slauson practiced full. LB Bart Scott was elevated from not participating Wednesday to limited participation today. So was S Eric Smith (hip/ankle), while S LaRon Landry did his usual Thursday deal, sitting out practice to help keep his heel at its so far optimum level.
The Jets could get one offensive weapon back for San Francisco on Sunday but lose one as well. TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) was limited for the second day this week. “Hopefully, Dustin will be out there this week,” said Ryan. “I assume he will be.”
But rookie WR Stephen Hill’s aching hamstring, which resurfaced late in Miami, has kept him sidelined this week and could keep him out of the 49ers game.
The Niners’ five-player I-report was identical to Wednesday’s report. Isaac Sopoaga (ankle/knee), their starting NT, remained a DNP while WR Ted Ginn (ankle) and RB Brandon Jacobs (knee) were limited.
Tags: Dustin Keller, joe McKnight, Keyshawn Johnson, Laveranues Coles, Matt Slauson, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Randy Lange | 27 Comments »
The Jets will be playing a doubleheader this weekend as they attempt to topple the Miami Dolphins in part by triumphing over the Miami heat.
Not as in LeBron-Dwyane-Chris but rather as in hot-hot-hot. The forecast for Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla., at the 1 p.m. ET kickoff is expected to be around 85°, with a heat-index reading close to 100°. As new Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin reminded Dolfans this week after beating the Raiders last week (and the Jets perhaps subliminally), “Obviously, establishing a presence on your own home field is important, and September 1 o’clock games historically have been successful for this team.”
The Jets are mindful of the heat ahead and have been taking steps to be ready for the blast of South Florida air inside the now aptly named Sun Life Stadium.
“We definitely practiced it all week long,” head coach Rex Ryan said at today’s post-practice news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, adding that one major component was in simulating the Dolphins’ up-tempo offensive pace. “This team is averaging snapping the football probably with more than 15 seconds on the [play]clock, 20 seconds maybe. They’re super-quick, unlike really any team in the league.
“We challenged our guys during the week, every team period. Our scout team and our coaches did a tremendous job getting lined up and ready to roll.”
Ryan and his trainers also stressed optimum hydration and rest. And you don’t have to tell a player like LB Aaron Maybin twice about hydration.
“I’ve been taking extra Gatorade, Pedialyte and water. I’ll probably have a couple of extra IVs the night before,” Maybin said. “I sweat a lot. And the heat can wear on your defense especially as the game goes on.”
Some Jets wore extra layers of clothing and did extra cardio work this week outside in the mid-70s temps around Florham Park, N.J. It’s all done with an eye toward leveling the playing field somewhat against those heat-tempered Dolphins.
“It’s definitely an advantage because it is hot and humid,” said S Yeremiah Bell, who knows the situation well since he played for Miami his first eight seasons in the NFL. “Why wouldn’t you want to play in the same place you practice? It’s kind of like a cold-weather team playing in the snow.”
But, Bell counseled, “You know what’s coming. All these guys in here know what they’re in for. It’s only an advantage if you let it be.”
It’s also maybe less of an advantage than the Dolphins would like opponents to believe. Their win over the Raiders actually was their first “September 1 o’clock” game in four years, since from 2009-11 their early home games all kicked off either shortly after 4 p.m. or at night. Before last Sunday, the last time they played at home in September at 1 p.m. was against the Jets in the 2008 opener. And the Jets, with Brett Favre in his first game at QB, prevailed, 20-14.
The point being, the Miami heat is an edge but hardly an insurmountable one.
“Most of us have been playing football our whole lives, and we’ve played in hot weather before,” Maybin said.
“Obviously we’ll see when we get out there,” Ryan said. “We feel pretty good about it.”
Final Health Report
The Jets’ injury report grew by one to 21 names today, yet their health should be OK for Miami.
CB Darrelle Revis, after declaring on Thursday that “I’m going to play,” practiced full-contact today and is listed as probable for the Dolphins. And Ryan when asked about Revis specifically, pointed to the 16 probables and said, “I’d say every one of those guys I expect to play.”
LB Bryan Thomas (hamstring) and FB John Conner (knee) are doubtful. It looks as if Garrett McIntyre will start again at OLB and Konrad Reuland will add his increasing number of plays. “Konrad’s got fullback reps, tight end reps, U reps at the other tight end,” Ryan said. “It’s a good thing he’s got that Stanford education. He’s had to use it these past couple of weeks.”
Two more are questionable: TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) and CB Ellis Lankster (low back). Keller, despite his opinion that he’s ready to roll again, is iffy, with Ryan saying Dedrick Epps could be active again, especially if Keller is deactivated but possibly even if DK is active.
As for the probable list, it includes QB Mark Sanchez (low back) and the newest listee, DT Kenrick Ellis (illness). But all the probables practiced full today and appear ready to roll at Miami.
We’ll wrap up Miami’s Friday injury report here when it comes in.
When Flags Flew
Pittsburgh wasn’t a game that will go in WR Santonio Holmes’ time capsule. But say what you want about the flags, Tone caused a bunch of them to fly.
The four penalties for 52 yards called against Steelers Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis in covering Holmes were the most marked off due to one Jets player since at least the mid-Nineties. The only other time in that span that a Jet drew four penalties in a game was last year when Plaxico Burress forced four penalties on the Raiders, primarily Stanford Routt, but only three were marked off with one declined.
Prior to that, just six other Jets have caused three major penalties by opponents since 1995. WR Keyshawn Johnson did it in ’99 at Denver. WR Wayne Chrebet followed suit the next year at home vs. the Broncos. Keller as a rookie TE got a trifecta at Tennessee in 2008, and Holmes coaxed three penalties out of the Chargers (two on Quentin Jammer) last season.
DE John Abraham is the only Jets defender to get a trio of penalties thrown at his opponents in a game. Abe did it twice — three holds vs. Kansas City in 2002 (one against Hall of Famer-to-be Willie Roaf), and three more holds at Buffalo in 2005.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, Ellis Lankster, Miami Dolphins, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Sun Life Stadium, Yeremiah Bell
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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
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The Jets’ offense could get that little extra boost it’s been searching for the previous two preseason games with Rex Ryan’s announcement this afternoon that both WRs Santonio Holmes (rib) and Jeremy Kerley (hamstring) are probable to get in their first reps of the summer games on Sunday night against Carolina.
“Unless there’s a setback, I think both those guys are playing,” Ryan said at today’s news conference following the final open practice of training camp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
Minutes earlier, Kerley said in the Jets’ locker room that he hoped to learn he would be green-lighted for the Panthers.
“I think it’s very important,” he said. “I’ve got to get my timing back, get my feet underneath me. I’m hoping to get a couple of reps in, 15 or so.
“I hope it’ll be a big spark,” he added of what Nos. 11 and 10 could provide to the only NFL offense yet to score a touchdown in a preseason game. “It’ll put some new legs out there and give Mark [Sanchez] some more targets.”
Some other seemingly, hopefully, minor injury issues crept up during Friday’s midday practice.
S Yeremiah Bell “had a little knee thing, nothing serious, but if there’s any issue at all, we won’t play him,” Ryan said.
Same with DT Mike DeVito, who had “a calf injury today. That’s not a good thing for a D-lineman. If there’s anything to that, he won’t play.”
Also out of this national-TV game are DT Sione Po‘uha, CB Ellis Lankster and S Eric Smith. Dinged up but probable for action are KR-RB Joe McKnight, WR Patrick Turner, TE Jeff Cumberland and LB-FB Nick Bellore.
Returning to Returns
Both Ryan and Kerley agreed that it would be nice to get JK some punt returns. He is, after all, listed as No. 1 on the PR chart, the incumbent returner, yet his hammy has kept him sidelined since the first week of camp while rookies Jordan White and Royce Pollard and third-year CB Kyle Wilson have done all the punt-returning in the first two games.
“Definitely, definitely,” Kerley said of that idea. “That’s not something you can just roll out and do. Hopefully I get a rep there.”
“Yeah, we’d like to see that,” Ryan said. “But again, we’re going to make sure he’s ready to go opening day. The same thing with Holmes. Is that 10 plays, 12 plays? We just want to be real cautious here. We need these guys.”
We may be jumping the gun a little on this because even with a punt return or two vs. the Panthers, it wouldn’t help Kerley to bust a move for a punt-return TD at the expense of re-busting his hamstring. But the second-year man is aware of the Jets’ dearth (no relation to James) of scores off of punt returns. They’ve had none in the preseason since 2008 and none in the postseason since 2004 and none in the regular season since ’02. Here is the short list of players who’ve had punt-return TDs for the Jets in the new millennium:
|10.27.02||RS||Santana Moss||vs. CLE||63|
|11.03.02||RS||Santana Moss||@ SD||52|
|8.21.04||PS||Ian Smart||@ IND||59|
|1.15.05||PO||Santana Moss||@ PIT||75|
|8.07.08||PS||Dwight Lowery||@ CLE||62|
Ryan huddled the whole team for a relatively long time before the end of this relatively short practice. There were no brawls today but the message was “team” again, similar to the one he had for his players up in Cortland after their second day of infighting.
“I thought it got a little chippy there during practice,” he said. “We don’t need that. I love the competition. I want guys going full-speed, competing against each other to the whistle. But things after the whistle, hitting a player when he’s in a vulnerable position, shoving a guy after the whistle, grabbing hold of the ballcarrier, we don’t need to do that. We don’t need to do things after plays, especially with our own guys. I just wanted to make sure I reminded them of that and that we’re a team.”
Rex’s recommendation to Austin Howard on handling the glare of publicity as the new RT starter: “You’ve just got to do your job. I think that’s where the focus needs to be, and that’s it. Whether we’re looking at right tackle or left guard, whoever it is, obviously there’s more media covering us than with other teams. He’s just got to focus on doing his job, executing his assignments, and when in doubt, listen to Brandon.” That’s Brandon Moore, next door at RG, of course.
Attendance at today’s final open practice of Jets training camp was 2,772. Attendance for past two days at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center: 5,157. Attendance for all Jets open offseason and preseason practices, at SUNY Cortland, MetLife Stadium and AHJTC: 46,157. Thanks to all who came out to cheer on the Jets.
Tags: Austin Howard, Brandon Moore, Carolina Panthers, Jeremy Kerley, punt returns, Rex Ryan, Santana Moss, Santonio Holmes
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Rex Ryan got hit with questions at this morning’s news conference about his right tackle situation, his quarterbacks and his offense. All to be expected. After all, with one game to go in the second full week of the NFL preseason tonight, the Jets have the 32nd-ranked offense in terms of total yards, passing yards, first downs, sacks allowed and points scored and in fact are the only team not to have scored a touchdown.
The only team with no TDs? “Yeah, it bothers me,” Rex said. “But hey, again, we don’t need to be at our best right now. We need to be at our best on opening day. And I’m confident that when we get going, we will be. I see encouraging signs that we’re heading in the right direction. It might be obvious to everybody in the public, but again, I’m confident in our offense, I’m confident in our coaching staff, I’m confident in our players, and I believe we’re going to have a very productive offense when it’s all said and done.
Ryan wasn’t throwing in the towel yet, nor should he. We’re only two games into the preseason.
On the other hand, we have only two summer games left, and only one with most of the starters in action, and the Jets coach knows the countdown clock is ticking toward Sunday, Sept. 9, 1 p.m., vs. the Bills.
Topic One has been right tackle, with Wayne Hunter having his hands full against Jason Pierre-Paul and the Giants on Saturday night.
“Wayne’s not the only one in the league that’s going to get beat by Pierre-Paul — that’s one heck of a football player,” the head coach said. “Now that being said, could his fundamentals be better? Of course, absolutely. And that’s what I’m stressing to him. We’ve got to get back to playing techniques and fundamentals, not just him but across the board.”
On three other questions regarding the position, Ryan had these points to ponder:
Is he committed to Hunter as his RT starter against Buffalo? “To sit back and say this guy’s definitely the starter, I’m not ready to do that. Maybe with Darrelle Revis or Brandon Moore, Nick Mangold, but is it a slam-dunk 100 percent? I like to see guys compete and earn their jobs out there.”
Could Austin Howard work with the ones this week? “We’ll see. I think he’s had his moments in camp where you really are impressed with him. Then there’s other things where he’s got to pick his game up as well. We’ll see how it goes later this week.”
Will his opening-day RT starter be either Hunter or Howard? “I’m not going to paint myself into a corner because things happen.”
Ryan supported Mark Sanchez on 10 of his 11 throws vs. the Giants (nine complete, one incomplete), but the 11th, the 77-yard interception return by rookie Jayron Hosley, was the one outlier.
“It’s hard to say he’s not throwing the ball with accuracy — he’s over 75 percent now, which is a good thing,” Rex said. “Clearly we want to be able to make bigger chunks down the field. We left a few of them out there in the game. Overall I’ve been happy with the way Mark’s been throwing the ball.
On the pick, Ryan said, “He slid to his left, throwing to his right, so the pressure came up the middle. If the ball’s delivered a little sooner, it’s going to be a completion. Instead, Mark throws it a little later in the down than he would like and than we would like.”
One item that would help Sanchez, Hunter and the offense in general is a return of some of the injured wideouts at the top end of the depth chart. Ryan thinks two of the three could be available this week in practice and for duty on Sunday night vs. the Panthers.
“I think one of them probably won’t, which would be Chaz [Schilens],” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll see the other two, [Jeremy] Kerley and [Santonio] Holmes, out there. We’ll see how they progress during the week.”
Does he doubt Holmes will be in the starting lineup for the Bills? “I think he will be ready,” Rex said.
So there is that. But while Ryan, his coaches and his players aren’t singing the blues after the 26-3 loss to the Giants, they aren’t kidding themselves, either. There’s still much to accomplish on offense. And the countdown clock ticks ever onward.
Sanchez’s 76.5 percent accuracy (on 13-of-17 passing) is third in the NFL after two preseason weeks among QBs with at least 10 throws, trailing only the Chargers’ Philip Rivers (16-of-20, 80 percent) and the Falcons’ Matt Ryan (27-of-34, 79.4 percent). … Holmes and Kerley are doing position drills at this afternoon’s return-to-North Jersey practice. Schilens, LB Ricky Sapp and CB Ellis Lankster are on the bikes. … The Jets did make one tackle transaction today, announcing that Stephon Heyer, signed as an unrestricted free agent on May 29, has been released.
Tags: Austin Howard, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Jeremy Kerley, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Wayne Hunter
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The ‘Cat will be let out of its cage to do some battle with the Bengals on Friday night. As head coach Rex Ryan said at today’s midday news conference, “The Wildcat is something Cincinnati needs to prepare for.”
That’s really no secret tipoff about the Jets’ game plan for their preseason opener. Ryan and coordinator Tony Sparano haven’t installed all of the offense yet, and most of the plays that have been installed with Tim Tebow awaiting the shotgun snap hasn’t been shown to fans and reporters. One exception was last Thursday, when a “live” Tebow spread the offense, then took the snap and ran over between the tackles for the score.
Tebow, starter Mark Sanchez and the rest of the Jets will be live and ready to thrive vs. the Bengals, the team that took advantage of the Green & White’s late-season meltdown to grab the AFC’s sixth playoff seed in January.
Ryan didn’t give any rotation plans, at QB or any other position, although he said the first teams would likely play the first quarter, about 15 plays, give or take, before leaving the field for the twos, threes and fours.
Asked later about his plans for Sanchez and Tebow, the coach expanded a little bit, saying, “With us it’s a new offense and everybody needs reps. Will we extend the first offense more than a quarter? We’ll see. I think Tim and everybody else needs the opportunity to go against live competition. I think that’s where he excels.”
Tebow got some extended playing time at this morning’s practice, but not because Sanchez was struggling. Rather, Mark was sharp as a tack in going 4-for-4 ahead of defenders in the first-team blitz-pickup period.
But TT also had some nice throws today. He hit Patrick Turner for a score against Antonio Cromartie (although he might have been sacked by Bart Scott before firing), Jeff Cumberland on a seam route, and a well-covered Josh Baker on a deep out-route. And when he took Sanchez’s reps with the ones in the two-minute period, he got the offense close enough for Josh Brown to bang home a 53-yard “gamewinner.”
Ryan may be getting amped to get a preview of how his and Sparano’s offense will look this season.
“I’m excited to be looking at all the guys,” he said. “Let’s see, this is a new offense for us. I’m excited to see where that is right now, where we’re at. Also the defense … I hate to be singling out this person, or that person. I’m really excited to see ‘em all play, I really am.”
Sidelined for Cincy
The offense will have to proceed without two of its top wideouts as Santonio Holmes (rib) and Jeremy Kerley (hamstring) won’t play. The O may also be without RT Wayne Hunter (back), in which case Ryan said Austin Howard would step into the starting lineup. But the O-line will get the return of Nick Mangold, who missed Saturday’s Green & White practice to watch his sister, Holley, compete in the London Olympics.
On the defensive line, NT Sione Po‘uha will also sit out with a stiff back and the stitches for the gash on his forehead.
Throttling Down Maybin
LB Aaron Maybin continues to have a high-speed, productive camp, but he committed a gaffe today when, in the non-tackling two-minute period, he hit and spun to the ground WR Eron Riley after a catch, drawing a personal-foul penalty.
“That’s something we’ve talked about,” Ryan said. “I love the way he plays, I love his passion, I love the way he practices, but you still have to protect [teammates]. You don’t have to throw the guy on the ground and things. He loves to get there, he loves to participate, practice and compete. But that’s still a work in progress.”
David Harris continued his nice pass defense with an artful PD of a pass for Dustin Keller in 7-on-7s. … CB Darrelle Revis made a deft tackle for loss on a pitch play. … Rookie LB Demario Davis had a sack of Greg McElroy up the gut. … Donnie Fletcher plucked a pick on a Matt Simms pass for Bilal Powell that may have been deflected by Maybin. … Today’s attendance: 2,496. … Thursday’s walkthrough is closed, then the team will fly out to Cincinnati.
Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, Jeremy Kerley, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Sione Pouha, Tim Tebow, Tony Sparano, training camp, Wayne Hunter, Wildcat
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