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Draft Notes: Davis, Hill on the Silver Screen

Posted by Randy Lange on April 27, 2013 – 11:28 am

If you’re a filmmaker and a draftnik, or a draftnik and a pro football player, what better way to celebrate the draft than to make a film about it?

That’s what second-year Jets Demario Davis and Stephen Hill, the third- and second-round picks respectively in last year’s draft, are doing at this time.

Davis and Hill have been cast in the upcoming film “Draft Day,” which has been filming since Thursday at this year’s draft. The two Jets will play fictional potential first-round draft picks in the Green Room on draft day awaiting their selection, and both were reported to be filming their scenes at Radio City Music Hall this weekend.

If you think this is a dinky little college cinema-class production, think again. The film stars Kevin Costner, Denis Leary and Jennifer Garner and is directed by Ivan Reitman. The NFL has given its imprimatur to the production, meaning that while all the league people in the film are fictional, actual NFL team names and league/team marks will be used. No Miami Sharks here.

The film will also have roles for real live members of the NFL Network and ESPN crews covering the draft. And for a couple of young actors by the name of Davis and Hill.

Geno’s in the Building

Second-round pick Geno Smith checked out the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center once, during his predraft visit. Now he’s here today taking in things in a different light, as a new Jets employee. He’ll speak with reporters here this afternoon and that news conference will be streamed live on newyorkjets.com with an expected start time of 1 p.m. ET and then archived for viewing at your leisure.

We’ll hear more about Geno in the coming days, weeks and months, but for now here are some athletic family connections from his Wikipedia page:

Smith was born in Miami to Geno Smith Jr. and Tracey Sellers. His great-grandfather, Cyril Smith, was a bodybuilder and boxing referee from the Bahamas. His great-uncle, Danny Smith, was a record-breaking All-America hurdler at Florida State. And his cousin, Melvin Bratton, was a top RB at “the U” in the mid-Eighties who also played two seasons for the Broncos.

Dee and Sheldon Trending

Dee Milliner joins the Jets’ exclusive Alabama Alumni First-Round Club. Joe Namath, the top pick of the 1965 AFL Draft, began the club, and two other members, QB Richard Todd in 1976 and DE Marty Lyons in ’79, joined it before Milliner’s entry Thursday night.

Milliner was also the member of another fraternity at the top of Round 1. After the Jets took the corner at No. 9, the Titans went with G Chance Warmack at 10 and the Chargers reeled in T D.J. Fluker at 11. That’s three Alabama players in three picks, the first time that’s happened in Round 1 of an NFL draft since at least 1967, which as we all know by now was the first common draft between the AFL and NFL.

And Milliner and Richardson at No. 13 were part of another first-round trend. The Southeastern Conference had 12 players drafted Thursday night, the most of any conference in. Since 2000 the SEC has a solid lead on the conference field with 540 total draft picks. (Missouri joined the SEC last season.)


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Future Jets’ Bests for Last 7 Combines

Posted by Randy Lange on February 21, 2013 – 10:39 am

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
 Player Time/Dist Year  Finish
40-Yard Dash
Stephen Hill 4.36 ’12 T-2nd; T-11th, ’09-12
Vertical Jump
Clyde Gates 40.0″ ’11 T-8th; T-12th, ’11-12
Stephen Hill 39.5″ ’12 T-5th
Demario Davis 38.5″ ’12 T-11th
Dustin Keller 38.0″ ’08 T-4th
Broad Jump
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
3-Cone Drill
Tim Tebow 6.66 ’10 T-6th
20-Yard Shuttle
Nick Bellore 4.00 ’11 T-7th; T-15th, ’10-12
Dustin Keller 4.14 ’08 T-12th
60-Yard Shuttle
Tim Tebow 11.27 ’10 T-13th
220-Pound Bench Press
Vernon Gholston 37 reps ’08 T-1st; T-10th, ’08-12
AMONG ALL AT A PLAYER’S POSITION
40-Yard Dash
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
Vertical Jump
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
Broad Jump
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
20-Yard Shuttle
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
3-Cone Drill
Tim Tebow 6.66 ’10 1st among QBs, ’06-12
Dustin Keller 6.88 ’08 12th among TEs, ’06-12
60-Yard Shuttle
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




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Hill’s Rookie Roller-Coaster Lands Him on IR

Posted by Randy Lange on December 19, 2012 – 8:17 pm

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).


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Wilkerson, Coples Put the Licks on Jags’ Henne

Posted by Randy Lange on December 10, 2012 – 4:20 pm

Not surprisingly, Jets head coach Rex Ryan liked the combination of rushing offense and mostly stifling defense that got the Jets past the Jaguars on Sunday. In particular, he enjoyed the play of a few of his young guns on the front line of that defense.

“Muhammad Wilkerson, I promise you he’s getting the Pro Bowl vote from Jacksonville,” Ryan said at his midday news conference today. “It was a dominant performance from Mo. For an interior lineman, he’s just doing an incredible job. Statistically, he had the one sack, but he beat his guy over and over. Backs were having to pick him up — that’s rare when you have interior linemen getting attention from the backs. Usually that’s for the outside edge rushers. It just shows you what teams are thinking of this guy.”

And top draft pick Quinton Coples came on in the second half with one of his most impressive showings as a Jet.

“Obviously, Quinton’s athleticism jumps out at you. We always say he’s country-strong, and he is,” Ryan said. “What we’re starting to do now with him is mixing him up as an inside player, then an outside player. He missed a sack when he went over the top of [Chad] Henne, but he got one sack and he affected three more throws, including that last one at the end of the game. It looked like he was eating that tackle up pretty good over there.”

“I think the pass rush has been incredible,” said DT Mike DeVito of the Jets’ Sunday pressure that produced an unofficial total of 10 QB hits, the most this season. “It’s something we’ve been working on since day one, and to see Mo and Q doing that for us, that’s great. You can do so many more things when you can rush the quarterback.”

The only black mark on Wilkerson’s game actually was incorrectly graded. Referee Al Riveron called No. 96 for a 15-yard facemask penalty on a Henne third-down scramble on the Jags’ TD drive, but replays showed it was No. 98, Coples, who got his finger hooked in Henne’s mask on the play.

Still, that was the Jets’ only penalty of the game, another aspect of the win that pleased Ryan. The Jets are now third in the NFL in fewest penalties and fourth in yards, and they lead the league in both penalty categories since the bye week.

With the push up front and the creative backside play led by Antonio Cromartie and a cast that yesterday included Ellis Lankster, Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen, the Jets rankings continue to rise. If their eighth overall defensive-yardage ranking and their No. 3 against the pass hold through tonight’s Houston-New England game, it will be their highest weekly rankings of the season.

The third quarter’s been the charm for the Jets D the past two games. The Cardinals gained 6 yards in their third quarter and the Jaguars had the same on Sunday. These totals were the best third-quarter showing by the Green & White defense since they allowed the Dolphins 5 yards in their 2007 win at Miami. And they’re the lowest yardage total in any quarter since the ‘Fins had 3 yards in the fourth quarter of their Meadowlands win over the Jets in 2010.

Walking Wounded

WR Stephen Hill has an LCL knee sprain and LB Bryan Thomas has a pectoral muscle strain. The Jets are listing both as day-to-day. As for TE Dustin Keller (ankle), who stayed home from the Jags game, Ryan said, “I thought he was getting better as the week went on, but not to the point where he could play. Adding another day this week [for the Monday night game] , hopefully that’ll get him back on the field.”

This week’s first injury reports from the Jets and Titans won’t be issued until Thursday.

Bucking the Trend

The Jets on Sunday at Jacksonville did something they had never accomplished in franchise history and that no NFL team had achieved in the 19 previous seasons. They went scoreless in the first halves of back-to-back victories.

This is one of those glass-half-full-glass-half empty deals, akin to winning six fourth-quarter comebacks in a season. It’s definitely a good thing that the Jets beat both the Cardinals and the Jaguars despite zero first-half points, but it’s not something they want to make a habit of, such as trying for three in a row next Monday night at Tennessee.

On 10 previous occasions, the Jets went scoreless in back-to-back games. Only once did they win even one of the two games, in 1971 when they won at Miami, 14-10, before losing at New England, 20-0. (The Jets actually went scoreless for the first three quarters in both those games.) The other nine times they were 0-2.

But the Jets aren’t alone in struggling through two games of not being able to put point one on the board in the first 30 minutes. The last NFL team to do it was New Orleans in 1992. From 1993 through 2011, there were 79 occasions when teams went scoreless in the first half of consecutive games. None of them won both. Less than a third won one of the two games.

Another interesting note is that after 19 years of none of these occasions, the NFL has two teams who have qualified for the distinction this season, and in fact did it the last two weeks. The Jets have been joined by the Rams, who beat the 49ers in overtime, 16-13, last week and took out the Bills, 15-12, on Sunday.

“Inside the Jets”

Radio play-by-play voice of the Jets Bob Wischusen hosts tonight’s “Inside the Jets” show at the Grasshopper in Morristown, N.J. The show begins at  7 p.m. tonight and will be aired live on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. Bob’s guests are WR Chaz Schilens, QB Greg McElroy and assistant GM Scott Cohen.


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Hill, Coples, Davis Tackle the Rookie Wall

Posted by Randy Lange on November 28, 2012 – 6:44 pm

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.”

Injury Picture

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).


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Rivalry Game? S. Hill Feels Strongly Both Ways

Posted by jlholt32 on October 19, 2012 – 4:48 pm

While many label the Jets-Patriots matchup as a rivalry, rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill isn’t approaching it that way.

“I’m just taking it as a regular game,” Hill said this afternoon after practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “Not doing too much, just going out there and treating it as that next game you’re trying to take to the next level. Just making plays, and going out there to help out the team, so we can get a W.”

Hill, who earlier this season missed two games sidelined with a hamstring injury, made his return to the lineup Sunday for the Jets’ 35-9 win over Indianapolis. No. 84 looked sharp in his first game back as he caught three passes for 23 yards and recorded the third touchdown of his career.

“It was good,” he said. “Not playing for two weeks, I was hurting. So I definitely had to come back as strong as I could to make plays.”

The 6’4″, 215-pounder said he feels no additional pressure heading into Sunday’s AFC East showdown. He said the Jets veterans have spoken with him some about the game but didn’t tell him anything noteworthy.

“They were just like, ‘It’s a big week, divisional week,’ ” Hill said. “That’s it. That’s how they treat it.”

Hill got to experience a special rivalry during his college days at Georgia Tech. Whenever GT would prepare to face Georgia there was always extra buzz and chatter being spread. Hill said the anticipation this week has been almost the same as a Georgia Tech-Georgia matchup.

“I like rivalry games,” he said. “It definitely brings a lot of excitement, of course, to the game. I’m just ready to take this on, especially being now in the NFL. It’s even bigger now.”

Many Jets players have said the level of focus has increased this week in practice. Hill totally agrees. Not only has he been studying the Patriots during film sessions at the Jets’ facility, but he also saved footage of them onto his iPad.

“I feel like this was my best week since I’ve been here,” Hill said. “I’ve been very dialed in, into the playbook and things like that. So I’ve just been reading as much as I can, just to get a feel of what they’re going to throw at us on Sunday.”

There are always challenges on the road, yet Hill said he enjoys the atmosphere of being away from home. A win in Foxboro and the Jets would return home with more enjoyment than they could imagine.

“It would do a lot,” Hill said. “We would be at the top of the division. That’d be great and definitely give us a boost of confidence.”

Coples on Jets-Pats “Logistics”

As a kid, Quinton Coples said he hardly ever watched the Patriots, the opponents the Jets will be facing Sunday afternoon.

“I was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan,” the Jets’ first-round draft selection said. “I watched them against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but no, growing up that wasn’t one of my teams at all.”

Coples will be participating in his seventh game as a pro. So far, there have been ups and down.

The former North Carolina Tar Heel has been informed of the yearly hype surrounding Patriots week. However, he couldn’t decide if Sunday will be the biggest game he’s played in his football career.

“I don’t know,” Coples said. “That’s hard to debate as far as whether it will be my biggest game. But I take every game seriously and I’m looking forward to getting back there and getting after it in this great rivalry.”

Without question, Coples will enter the game with plenty of confidence. Against the Colts he recorded the first two sacks of his NFL career. While the Patriots have the league’s top offense, No. 98 doesn’t seem fazed when analyzing the matchup.

“I think every game is every game,” he said. “At the end of the day, you have to take care of it and make sure you get a win. I’m not too big on turning it up a level. I’m trying to turn it up every game. A rivalry game is definitely a lot more aggressive and a lot more grimy. There’s no telling what could happen. But at the end of the day, it’s fun.”

Coples hasn’t heard anything about New England’s fan base but expects them to be loud and ready, especially considering the Pats are returning home off their heartbreaking 24-23 loss at Seattle.

Like with any rivalry, there probably will be plenty of trash-talking going on throughout this one.

“Since this is going to be my first one, I can’t really speak on it,” Coples said. “I can just go out there and make sure I take care of my job. I think after this first one, I’ll understand the logistics of how crazy this game is.”

Friday Injury Reports

Ryan pegs 10 of his 17 injured players as probable for the Patriots, including TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) and Hill (hamstring), who both strung together two full-go practices for the first time in weeks. Also probable are LBs Bart Scott (toe) and Bryan Thomas (hamstring), who were limited in practice all week.

As for the backup RB situation, the Jets coach didn’t elaborate but is letting the designations speak for themselves. RB-KR Joe McKnight (ankle) didn’t participate in practice all week but is listed as questionable for the game, while RB Bilal Powell (shoulder) was also a three-time DNP and is doubtful for the Patriots.

Other Jets doubtfuls: DTs Sione Po‘uha (back) and Kenrick Ellis (knee). Questionables besides McKnight: C Nick Mangold (ankle), who was limited at today’s practice after not going Wednesday and Thursday, and WR Clyde Gates (shoulder).

The Patriots have declared starting S Steve Gregory (hip), rookie RB Brandon Bolden (knee) and LB Tracy White (foot) out for the game. Rookies Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner are listed as the backup safeties behind Gregory and Patrick Chung.

Bill Belichick has also listed 11 players, all of whom were limited at today’s practice, as questionable for the Jets. Seven are or have been starters: Chung (shoulder), TEs Rob Gronkowski (hip) and Aaron Hernandez (ankle), LB Dont’a Hightower (hamstring), LG Logan Mankins (calf/hip), RT Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee) and WR Wes Welker (ankle).


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Inevitability on the Island: Revis Goes to IR

Posted by Randy Lange on October 12, 2012 – 3:58 pm

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.


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DT Kenrick Ellis Prognosis: MCL, Out 4-6 Weeks

Posted by Randy Lange on October 11, 2012 – 4:51 pm

The Jets’ injury picture had its ups and downs and situations that could have been worse.

In the snakebit category, Rex Ryan said the word on NT Kenrick Ellis is that he has an MCL sprain and could miss four to six weeks.

Then there was Eric Smith’s situation. He’d been coming back slowly from hip and knee issues suffered in the preseason opener at Cincinnati. He got in close to 45 snaps during the Texans game. But at Wednesday’s practice, he landed hard on his knee.

“It was a scary moment,” Ryan said. “Erick goes up to knock a ball down and comes down on his leg. It’s just a sprained knee, but I think he’s probably going to miss this week with it. Honestly, I thought it was going to be much worse than that. I think we’ve got enough of these, but fortunately it doesn’t look like it’s going to be too long.”

Otherwise, the Jets appeared to be healing OK. LB David Harris (hamstring), LB Bart Scott (toe) and WR Jeremy Kerley (finger/illness) were all limited Wednesday but full today, and S LaRon Landry (heel) was also full. TE Dustin Keller and WR Stephen Hill remained limited with their hamstring issues but Ryan said both remain on target to return to action on Sunday. C Nick Mangold didn’t practice again but the coach said, “I think Nick will probably be able to go.” He also wasn’t ruling out DT Sione Po‘uha (low back) but said he’s more likely in the questionable category at this point.

The Colts had their own good news/bad news health reports. Good news: LB Dwight Freeney (ankle) practiced full today in Indianapolis. Bad news: LB Robert Mathis (knee) remains a DNP and coordinator Greg Manusky said today that Mathis won’t play against the Jets. OLBs Jerry Hughes and Justin Hickman are expected to see extended playing time in Mathis’ absence.

And RB Donald Brown (knee) has been reported to be out for the next two or three weeks, meaning that rookie RB Vick Ballard will start Sunday for the Colts, giving the visitors four rookie starters on offense, five if you include third WR T.Y. Hilton.


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Mauga Goes on IR, Muir Comes Aboard

Posted by Randy Lange on October 10, 2012 – 4:41 pm

Updated, 6:35 p.m. ET

A new week, a new injury, a new Jet.

Head coach Rex Ryan confirmed at his midday news conference that LB Josh Mauga had torn a pectoral muscle during the Monday night game against the Texans. Mauga joins recently IR-ed players Santonio Holmes and TEs Dedrick Epps and Josh Baker as well as Darrelle Revis, who remains listed as “out” with his serious knee injury.

To take Mauga’s roster spot, the Jets have signed a DT with Indianapolis ties in Daniel Muir.

“He’s a former Colt, a former Packer, a guy that has some experience,” Ryan said. “We’re excited to add him.”

In keeping with the recent trend of newly signed Jets, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 6’2″, 322-pound Muir get some reps Sunday against the Colts, his team of the previous four seasons. NT Sione Pouha (back) didn’t participate in today’s practice after sitting out the Texans. Neither did Kenrick Ellis (knee), who “doesn’t look good for this week,” said Ryan.

“Do I want to play Sunday? Of course,” Muir told me after practice. “But my main thing is I’m going to let the coaches make that determination. It doesn’t matter what I want. They’ve got to see it and I’ve got to show it. I’m going through a crash course now.”

So who does that leave on the inside? Is Po‘uha definitely out again?

“I’m not sure. We’ll just see how the week goes on,” Ryan said. “We’ve got ‘Snacks’ [Damon Harrison], who’s doing a good job. And [Mike] DeVito can play in there. He’s done that in the past as well.”

Despite the IR-ed Mauga, who in the first five games was in for about 50 plays on defense and about 165 including special teams, the Jets’ injury list appeared to slightly improve ahead of today’s practice compared to last week’s 24-man list.

This week’s full post-practice list had 23 players. Four others besides Po‘uha and Ellis were DNPs — FB John Conner (hamstring), C Nick Mangold (ankle), WR Clyde Gates (shoulder) and S LaRon Landry (heel) with his regular midweek day of rest.

Seven others were limited, including TE Dustin Keller, who’s missed four games, and rookie WR Stephen Hill, who’s sat out the last two, both with hamstring injuries. Did Rex have confidence in either receiver’s return for Indy?

“I would say Dustin now — his injury’s had more time to heal,” he said. “But I’m hopeful both of them will be out there.”

Also limited were three LBs — David Harris (hamstring), Bart Scott (toe) and Bryan Thomas (hamstring) — plus WR Jeremy Kerley (finger/illness) and S Eric Smith (knee). Ten others were listed as full participants. The Jets’ full preliminary injury report can be found here.

The Colts’ first list of the week had 10 players, but eight who didn’t participate today. Familiar names were old pass-rushing nemeses Dwight Freeney (ankle) and Robert Mathis (knee), now both LBs in Indy’s 3-4 scheme, as well as CB Vontae Davis (ankle), RB Donald Brown (knee), and former Jets NT Martin “MTV” Tevaseu (ankle). The three other DNPs were LB Pat Angerer (foot), DE Fili Moala (knee) and G Joe Reitz (knee).

Cushing’s Knee

Ryan was asked about Houston LB Brian Cushing’s season-ending knee injury, which he suffered on a cut block by guard Matt Slauson in the second quarter on Monday. The Jets coach was unhappy to hear about the injury to the Texans’ defensive star but defended his player on the play.

“It’s an unfortunate thing. Clearly in this league it’s all about the players, and Brian’s a great player. I hate to see that,” Ryan said. “Obviously we’ve experienced our own [injury] issues.

“It’s something that definitely was not intentional. It’s a legal block. We don’t cut very often. Sometimes we’ll cut on the second level and things. … [Houston's] zone running schemes, they cut every single play. It’s not dirty. It’s a technique. Almost every single run on the back side, they’ll do that. With us, it was a thing that was unintentional. I feel terrible for Brian, and for the league. The league loses when you lose a player like that.”

Rex Cetera

Muir’s best seasons were 2009 and ’10, when combined he played in 34 games with 28 starts, including Super Bowl XLIV. He’s been more of a double-team eater than a pocket-collapser in his career with a total of 124 tackles but only 1.5 sacks. Interestingly, the only full sack of his career came in the 2010 AFC Wild Card Game, a first-quarter, first-and-10 sack of Mark Sanchez in the Jets’ 17-16 triumph.

Reporters are keeping Tebowmania on the simmer but Ryan declines to turn up the heat. About the questions he continues to get about his QBs, he said: “I’ve got no problem answering questions each week.” And about a perceived public clamoring to see more of No. 15, even as the starter, he said:

“We picked Tim up because we know he’s a good football player. One thing I know about the public is that the public wants to win. I understand that. The decision on playing Tebow is going to be my decision. It’s not going to be the public’s decision or anybody else’s. It’s on me. Quite honestly, I think I’ve learned through the years to tune out the public a little bit. That’s probably a good thing. Sometimes what you hear is not real flattering. You learn to walk off the field with earmuffs on.”


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Rex Confident Despite Latest Injury Setback

Posted by Randy Lange on October 3, 2012 – 2:15 pm

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.

Injury Picture

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.”


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