AFC East: New York Jets

Smith
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The sky is blue. The grass is green. And Geno Smith will start the New York Jets' intrasquad scrimmage Saturday night in Cortland.

It's not news at all, but since we're reporting every detail of the Smith-Michael Vick competition (or non-competition, as it were), it's only fitting to pass along Rex Ryan's acknowledgement Friday that Smith will work with the starters in the offense-versus-defense scrimmage.

"Geno will start with the first group," Ryan said.

Smith has taken about 80 percent of the first-team reps in training camp, so it would've been an upset if the routine was changed for the scrimmage. He also will start the preseason opener next Thursday against the Indianapolis Colts, but the Jets haven't made that announcement yet. Some things are obvious.

One wrinkle regarding the scrimmage: They will run more plays than usual, allowing the starters on both sides of the ball to get more reps.
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Michael Vick didn't get a single rep Thursday with the New York Jets' starting offense -- a training-camp first. He shrugged it off, claiming he's on board with the pro-Geno Smith plan, but apparently there's a limit to his patience when discussing the quarterback situation.

On the final question of an interview session with reporters, Vick was asked if he believes the coaches have made their decision.

Vick
Vick
Smith
"Decision about what?" he asked the questioner.

The quarterback job, of course.

"I'm outta here," the quarterback said, abruptly ending the interview session with his trademark burst.

Vick didn't seem angry. In fact, he acknowledged it was a "fair question" as he walked out of the interview tent, patting the reporter (yours truly) on the rear end.

After roughly 150 competition-related questions since signing with the Jets in March (probably not much of an exaggeration), Vick is tired of repeating himself. With no traces of animosity, he has said repeatedly he expects Smith to be the opening-day starter. Maybe it was one question too many, but it was relevant on this particular day, considering he worked exclusively with the backups.

Team officials refuse to acknowledge the obvious. They won't say it's Smith's job to lose. They won't say who will start the first preseason game next week. (It will be Smith, of course.) It's all about competition, they say. To his credit, Vick isn't afraid to deviate from the company line. He knows the deal: Smith needs the practice reps to get ready for Week 1.

"I think having all the first-team reps allows him to get into a rhythm with the receivers, develop that rapport with the first-team offensive line, with the running backs," Vick said. "You know, time is short. ... In four weeks, we'll be playing the first regular-season game, so it's time to buckle down and get everything situated, moving in the right direction and find the focus, as far as what our offense is going to be centered around."

In other words, Smith.

For those scoring at home, Smith has taken 104 of 131 practice reps (79 percent) with the first-team offense, unofficially -- slightly more than offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg anticipated at the start of camp. General manager John Idzik downplayed the disparity, insisting the so-called competition "isn't tilted." Right.

It's a delicate balance for Mornhinweg because he knows Smith, because of his relative lack of experience, needs as many reps as possible. But he doesn't want to leave Vick in the cold. Vick knows the offense, so it's not a mental thing, but he hasn't had much time to build chemistry with the starters. That could become an issue if, for some reason, he's forced into the lineup.

"I'm trying to get him more than a handful with the first team," Mornhinweg said.

Naturally, Smith is soaking up the situation. He needs the work. He knows it.

"As many reps as you can get will help you out, and I'm a living testament to that," he said. "I can just see the growth in myself and in the guys around me due to that."

Mornhinweg described Smith's camp performance this way: Several good days, one subpar day. In seven practices, he's thrown only two interceptions in team drills. Perspective is required, of course. It's still very early in the process. Nevertheless, Mornhinweg said of Smith's turnover problem, "He's got that thing fixed and we'll see if it stays fixed."

Vick knows it's Smith's team and Smith's time.

"I won't stand in the way of that," he said.

He just won't stand for certain questions.

Jets Camp Report: Day 7

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Jets training camp:
  • The Jets like to think they're an elite defense, but elite defenses make big plays -- meaning takeaways. Since 2009, under Rex Ryan, the Jets are only 15th in takeaways. It has been a point of emphasis in training camp, and the defense responded in a big way Wednesday -- five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. It's important to keep it in perspective because the quarterback wasn't Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but it still was a step in the right direction. A baby step, but a step nonetheless.

  • There are two sides to every turnover. The offense simply has to do a better job of protecting the football. Sound familiar? This has been a common theme throughout the Ryan era. Ryan's quarterbacks (read: Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith) have thrown 94 interceptions in five years, more than all but five teams. You can't win consistently that way. On Wednesday, Smith, Michael Vick, Matt Simms and Tajh Boyd (two) combined for five interceptions. Imagine how good the Jets could be if they can reduce the interception total by, say, five over the course of a season. That would be huge.

  • It's no secret that Marty Mornhinweg needs a pass-catching tight end in his West Coast offense. They invested a second-round pick in Jace Amaro, a record-breaking receiver in college, but he's learning a hard lesson about life in the NFL. Amaro struggled mightily, dropping a pass and running a couple of wrong routes. The only thing he caught was flak from coaches and teammates. The Jets still believe in Amaro, but another option is developing before their eyes -- Zach Sudfeld. "Absolutely tremendous," Ryan said of Sudfeld. He was a training camp star last year for the New England Patriots, earning the nickname "Baby Gronk," but he disappeared when the lights went on. It'll be interesting to see how he performs in the preseason.

  • Take a bow, Demario Davis. On this day, you played like Willie Davis.

  • You almost feel bad for Boyd, the perpetually upbeat former Clemson star who is having the kind of camp that gets players cut. "Oh, yeah, he's struggling, there's no question, he's struggling," Ryan said. But the Jets will be patient with him, hoping he'll perform better in games, with a game plan that will accentuate his strengths. He threw three interceptions in practice, including one in a 7-on-7 drill. Too bad they can't reunite him with his old college receiver, Sammy Watkins. That would make him and a lot of other people around the Jets real happy.

  • Moment of the day: Davis, reading Geno Smith, overplayed a wide-receiver screen to Clyde Gates. He made the interception and returned it about 20 yards for a touchdown, punctuating the score with a quasi-slam dunk.

  • Quote of the day: "It was a great pickup by our scouting department. You look at the guy, he's about 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8. I call him Sasquatch." -- Ryan on Sudfeld.
[+] EnlargeJace Amaro
AP Photo/Julie JacobsonRookie tight end Jace Amaro has been struggling thus far in New York Jets training camp.
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Jace Amaro is hearing a lot of voices these days.

After dropping a pass Wednesday, the New York Jets' rookie tight end was razzed by a defensive player, who barked, "Can't catch a cold!" A couple of plays later, Amaro ran the wrong route and got an earful from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who chided him for not studying his playbook. Even mild-mannered quarterback Geno Smith seemed frustrated with the second-round pick.

When practice was over, Amaro and general manager John Idzik had a long talk. Actually, Idzik did the talking, Amaro did the listening. It was a pep talk, not a scolding.

Consider it a day in the life of an overwhelmed NFL rookie.

"A lot of people have high expectations for me," Amaro said. "Right now, I'm trying to figure it all out."

Amaro missed a day of practice, dealing with knee tendinitis, so maybe he was a little behind in terms of picking up the offense. But this was more than a one-day thing. The former Texas Tech star, a record-breaking pass-catcher in college, has been on the training-camp rollercoaster. He admitted he was "confused" by a couple of route concepts in Wednesday's practice, adding, "I got some plays wrong."

The Jets expect big things out of Amaro, whom they envision as a Rob Gronkowski-type tight end some day. But he has a long way to go. To his credit, he knows it.

"I have high expectations for myself, I know what I can do," said Amaro, who caught 106 passes last season in the Texas Tech's up-tempo, spread offense. "I'm making a lot of things a lot more difficult than they should be, just because I'm not completely comfortable with the entire organization yet, from the playbook to not knowing how the coaches coach, little things like that."

Most of Amaro's growing pains are rooted in the X's and O's. At Texas Tech, he played in a relatively basic passing attack that used a numbering system, deployed almost exclusively as a flexed-out tight end. With the Jets, it's a sophisticated offense in which he's often required to be an in-line tight end. The systems, he said, are as different as Chinese and English.

"We know he's got the physical skills to do it," coach Rex Ryan said. "He's got to focus, and sometimes if your head is in other places and you're thinking (too much), it's hard to be at your best."

Amaro, who boldly predicted in minicamp that his goal is to be a 100-catch tight end, said he expects to have the same trajectory he did in college, noting, "I wasn't an all-American my freshman year." But his 2013 season was one for the history books. He believes he can get to that level even sooner in the NFL.

"Eventually, it's going to start clicking," he said. "When it does, I'll really be able to showcase what I can do."
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Not every player on the New York Jets thinks they're the best ... the greatest ... the (insert your favorite superlative). Linebacker Demario Davis, keeping it real, refuses to buy into the premature hype.

Davis
In an interview Tuesday with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller of SiriusXM NFL Radio, Davis -- one of the young leaders on defense -- didn't seem all that thrilled with the boasts from teammates. Davis also seemed to be questioning the team's work ethic. He said they have the potential to be the best defensive team, but there was a qualifier.

"... What it seems like is that, it seems like too many people are saying we can be the best defense or we are the best defense, but the work has to show it," he said. "You know, as far as me seeing it, have we been putting in the work to be the best defense? I would say no. In the first couple weeks, we’ve got to work a lot harder. Guys have to put more individual time in, you’ve got to watch a lot more film, you’ve got to stay on the field a lot longer, you’ve got to come out a lot earlier.

"It’s not just what is mandatory," Davis continued. "If you want to be the best you’ve got to do more. Being the best doesn’t just happen. So I’ve seen a lot of people saying that. I’ve said it myself, but personally, I don’t feel like we’re putting in the work right now to be the best. We have a long way to go and right now we’re not on pace to be the best. We’ve got to start fast this year. We can’t afford to try to catch fire late in the season. We’ve got to start fast.”

Wise words from a young player.
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- We're only five practices into training camp, a little too early to make bold proclamations ... oh, wait, the New York Jets apparently didn't get the memo. OK, forget about that stuff for now; this is about Chris Johnson, who indicated Tuesday that he hasn't felt this good in about a year.

Johnson
The former Tennessee Titans running back tore the meniscus in his right knee last season in Week 3, and it bothered him for the rest of the year.

"In practice, I wasn't able to do any lateral moves," Johnson said. "(Now), I've been able to do lateral moves and stuff like that with no problem. I feel good."

Those are three very important words: I feel good. If Johnson is saying the same thing in December, the Jets should be in good shape. A healthy CK2k will do wonders for the offense, which desperately needs a breakaway threat.

Johnson underwent arthroscopic surgery in January and sat out the entire offseason, building up his knee for camp. So far, so good. Rex Ryan, of course, expects big things out of the former 2,000-yard rusher. Asked why he's confident, Ryan said:

"Well, the whiplash that I got from watching him run 92 yards against me; (that's) one reason. You watch it on tape. Now, did we see the 2,000-yard guy? Maybe not, but I know one thing: He's still pretty darn effective. That was kind of the guy we saw. He still went for more than 1,000 yards last year."

Yes, he did -- 1,077 yards, to be precise. But it was a career low, as was his average per carry (3.9). Nevertheless, the Jets signed him to a tw0-year, $8 million contract.

Oh, by the way, that 92-yard run in 2012? It was actually 94 yards. Sorry, Rex.
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan didn't want to speculate on what would happen if Geno Smith gets off to a shaky start this season. Can't blame him. Why fuel a quarterback controversy? But the New York Jets' coach, in a roundabout way, suggested Smith will be on a shorter leash than last season because of Michael Vick.

Vick
Vick
Smith
Ryan has confidence in Vick, and that changes the dynamic of the quarterback position.

"When you've got two quarterbacks that know the system, that have been part of it, obviously that's a big thing," Ryan said Tuesday. "Last year, no offense to Matt (Simms) -- Matt did a tremendous job for us -- but here's a young guy coming in, you've got a young starter, a rookie starter, and basically a rookie backup. I don't know if you'd call that an ideal quarterback situation.

"But what we have now might be considered ideal."

The Jets were supposed to have an experienced quarterback last season, but Mark Sanchez suffered what would become a season-ending injury in the preseason. Smith won the job by default, with Simms moving up to the No. 2 role.

It was hardly ideal.

You know what's really ideal? Tom Brady ... Peyton Manning ... Aaron Rodgers, et al.

New York Jets' projected roster

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
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Examining the New York Jets' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)


As expected, Smith is getting about 75 percent of the first-team reps, so there's no controversy here. We had rookie Tajh Boyd over Simms in the previous projection, but the early days of training camp have shown that Boyd isn't ready to take the job just yet. He has some redeeming qualities, but he's rough around the edges.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

It's status quo in the backfield. Johnson still isn't 100 percent, but he's getting there and looks good. This is one of the Jets' deepest areas. Daryl Richardson and Alex Green have shown flashes in camp, but they'll need to do more than that to crack this group.

WIDE RECEIVERS (7)

No changes here, either. Rex Ryan called this his deepest receiving corps since he became the coach, but deepest doesn't mean best. They're still looking for someone not named Decker to separate from the pack. Clyde Gates is challenging the top seven, sixth-round pick Quincy Enunwa (hip injury) is not.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

This group has been uninspiring so far. Amaro has good days and bad days, which can be expected of a rookie. Chris Pantale, who spent last season on the practice squad, is pushing for that third spot. Sudfeld isn't a lock by any means.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

Colon (knee) began camp on the physically unable to perform list, but he should be cleared soon to return. His absence is allowing Aboushi to work with the starting unit, impressing the coaches. Dozier, a fourth-round pick, has caught some eyes as he attempts to play guard for the first time.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (5)

If the Jets had this much talent at a few more positions, they'd be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

LINEBACKERS (9)

The addition of Babin, signed last week to a two-year contract, changes things because he will have a significant role as a situational pass-rusher. In this projection, we're dropping Jermaine Cunningham to make room for Babin, although Barnes (knee), still not cleared to practice, could be in jeopardy. The unheralded Troy Davis also is making a push. Tough decisions ahead.

CORNERBACKS (6)

Milliner says he's the best cornerback in football. Huh? He's not even the best in the division (see: Darrelle Revis). All the Jets want is the Milliner from last December and they'll be happy. Patterson might not be Revis or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but he's off to a sneaky good start.

SAFETIES (4)

They've been using a three-man rotation with Landry, Pryor and Allen. The Jets like Allen's upside and want to give him as many quality reps as possible. Keep an eye on former practice-squadder Rontez Miles; he's fearless and hits like a truck. If he excels on special teams, he could push Jarrett for the fourth spot.

SPECIALISTS (3)

All set here.

Jets Camp Report: Day 4

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Jets training camp:


  • The Jets received a scare when rookie tight end Jace Amaro went down with a knee injury and wasn't able to finish practice, but the word from the team is that he's fine and will be ready for Tuesday's practice. Proving the "Next-Man-Up" philosophy is alive and well, Zach Sudfeld capitalized on the extra reps, delivering a strong practice. He finished with a team-high three receptions in team drills, showing speed and separation ability. This tight end situation could get interesting. Quite frankly, Sudfeld has outplayed them all, including incumbemt Jeff Cumberland, who has been relatively quiet after reporting late to camp.
  • No surprise here, as right guard Willie Colon was activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list. The big fella didn't do a whole lot in practice -- he stayed out of team drills -- but the plan is to ease him back gradually. It's important to build chemistry with new right tackle Breno Giacomini, whom they signed from the Seattle Seahawks. Remember, Colon missed the entire offseason, so he hasn't had any time to practice alongside Giacomini. They both have a history of being penalty prone, so continuity is imperative. They got some time together in positional drills, but nothing extensive.
  • One day after Geno Smith said he expects to be a top-five quarterback and Dee Milliner proclaimed himself the best cornerback in the league, linebacker Calvin Pace told the New York Daily News they have the best defense. Enough already. It's July.
  • Rookie quarterback Tajh Boyd is a former college star with a lot of charisma and the ability to throw a nice deep ball, but he struggles with short and intermediate throws. Sound familiar? Boyd's head is spinning as he attempts to learn a new offense, so that could explain some of his Tebow-esque throws. It'll be interesting to gauge his progress as the summer progresses. With every rep by Boyd, Matt Simms gets closer to nailing down the No. 3 job.
  • Rush linebacker Quinton Coples delivered another solid practice. Rex Ryan said Coples' last two practices were "off the charts," noting how it's "interesting" that Coples perked up once veteran Jason Babin arrived in camp. Hmm, very interesting, indeed. It's called competition, players pushing players, and somewhere general manager John Idzik is smiling.
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The New York Jets' meandering search to replace cornerback Antonio Cromartie included flirtations with Vontae Davis (a rejection) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who had the audacity to take an offer from the New York Giants. Despite some pro-Darrelle Revis sentiment in the organization, the Jets decided not to pursue Revis 2.0. In the end, they made Dimitri Patterson their Big Free-Agent Cornerback.

The response from Jets Nation?

A collective groan.

Patterson
Who?

Patterson understands the sentiment, but he has a message for the skeptics: I'm just as good as the big names.

"Fans like high profiles. I don't have a high profile, but my film is legit," he said during a break at training camp. "When the season comes, I'll show everyone why I've been in the league so long.

"Vontae and all those guys, they were first-round picks," Patterson continued. "That's all cool, but as far as ability and responsibility, are they asked to do more than I've been asked to do over nine years? No. Have they been more productive on the perimeter? No, that's not the case at all. My tape shows that it's just a matter of me coming out and showing fans, 'Hey, let me show you.'"

The Jets have an interesting pair of cornerbacks. Dee Milliner thinks he's the best in the NFL (child, please) and Patterson, with his sixth team in 10 years, believe he was one of the biggest steals in free agency. The Jets signed him for one year, $3 million. If they turn out to be right, they will have their best cornerback tandem since 2011, when it was Revis and Cromartie.

Patterson said he has no intention of tainting the Jets' reputation at corner.

"There's a lot of scrutiny at this position because you had Revis and Cromartie," he said. "They were consistently competitive, year-in, year-out, with those guys at corner, so there's a standard that has been set. That's what the fans are accustomed to, so it's only natural to be concerned. My message to them is, don't be concerned."

Patterson is one confident dude for someone who hasn't played much in recent years due to injuries. In fact, he's missed 32 games the last three seasons (the last two with the Miami Dolphins), but he believes in his ability and he believes he's an ideal fit in the Jets' man-to-man scheme.

"Jets fans aren't familiar with me -- they don't have game tape -- so they have to trust that John Idzik and Rex (Ryan) did their due diligence, researching me," Patterson said. "If my résumé said, 'Cover-2, zone corner,' I wouldn't be here."

To get a complete evaluation of Patterson, the Jets had to study his pre-2012 tape. They see a savvy corner with elite ball skills and versatility, capable of playing outside or in the slot. Opposing scouts say he's much better in the slot, that it might be a stretch to play him on the perimeter.

"The guy understands the game and he understands the big picture, and you don't find a lot of guys like that," secondary coach Tim McDonald said.

Ryan said they didn't sign Patterson because he was the last man standing in the free-agent pool, claiming he was on their radar from the outset. Idzik probably didn't want to spend money on a big name, so he took the cheaper route -- a one-year stop gap and a draft pick (Dexter McDougle in the third round). It's risky, considering all the top quarterbacks they face in the first two months of the season. If the Jets get torched, oh, boy, the decision makers will get criticized.

Don't worry, Patterson said.

"I'll show the fans," he said.

Jets Camp Report: Day 3

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Jets training camp:
  • Top pick suffers possible concussion: Calvin Pryor came to the Jets with a reputation for delivering punishment, but he was on the receiving end Saturday in the first full-pads practice. The hard-hitting safety was knocked out of the first contact practice before getting a chance to strut his stuff on defense. He suffered a head injury while blocking as the personal protector (Tim Tebow's old spot) on the punt team. The team said Pryor was being evaluated for a possible concussion. I'm no doctor, but I think it's a good sign that he returned from the locker room to watch the rest of practice. You never want to see a player sustain a concussion, especially someone at a position involved in so many collisions. With Pryor on the sideline, Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen worked as the starting safety tandem. Allen delivered a nice hit on running back Chris Ivory, knocking him out of bounds on an outside run.
  • And on the third day : Chris Johnson rested. It wasn't a total day off -- he participated in positional drills -- but he was kept out of the heavy stuff. He'll probably get a break every third day. It's a smart move. It makes no sense to push a player of Johnson's stature, coming off knee surgery, in the early stages of training camp. It doesn't matter what he does in Cortland in late July. The objective is to have him humming on all cylinders Sept. 7, the season opener.
  • Slick Vick: Michael Vick, who admitted he was mediocre in the offseason camps, has raised his game in training camp. He completed 14 of 17 passes over the last two practices, working primarily with the second team and facing mostly the second-team defense. It's too early to make any definitive statements, but the quarterback situation is working out exactly the way the Jets had hoped. Vick is keeping the pressure on Geno Smith, who has responded nicely. Now, if it stays this way for the entire season, it'll be a controversy-free team. But what are the chances of that happening?
  • On guard: In terms of positional battles, quarterback and safety are getting the most pub, but what about guard? Oday Aboushi continues to impress the coaches, shining in a 9-on-7 drill. What happens when Willie Colon returns to action, which should be any day? Ryan all but handed a starting job to Colon (no shock there), meaning Aboushi and Brian Winters could be competing for left guard. The edge goes to Winters, but don't write it in ink just yet. Rookie Dakota Dozier appeared on the radar screen with a strong practice, so there's that.
CORTLAND, N.Y. – Rex Ryan said he is impressed with the depth of this year’s New York Jets wide receivers, and thinks this could be his strongest overall group since he became the head coach in 2009.

Ryan was asked to confirm – he thinks is the best group he’s seen?

“Well top to bottom, I have,” Ryan confirmed.

This offseason, the Jets have added some veterans at the position in Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford in addition to tenured Jets David Nelson and Jeremy Kerley and rookies such as Shaq Evans and Jalen Saunders.

In 2009, Ryan inherited Jerricho Cotchery, and the team had Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes during his tenure.

“Maybe when we had Braylon and we had 'Tone, there were a couple of guys who looked awesome, but I don’t know if we were that deep,” Ryan said. “Right now I would say so, (Clyde) Gates looked like he’s all the way back, Stephen Hill has had his moments and it’s just all of them, there’s no easy out out there. Whether it’s one-on-ones or team, we’ve got some legitimate receivers out there.”

Ryan, a defensive guy, hasn’t always been lauded for his decisions when it comes to skill positions on offense. The Jets have also gone through three offensive coordinators under Ryan, with Brian Schottenheimer and Tony Sparano in the role before the Jets landed Marty Mornhinweg. But Ryan thinks he has something this year.
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Takeaways from Saturday's practice at New York Jets training camp:

1. Big names sit: Rookie safety Calvin Pryor suffered a head injury early in practice and didn't finish. He's being evaluated for a possible concussion. He was involved in a collision while blocking as the personal protector on the punt team. Running back Chris Johnson didn't participate in any team drills. This was hardly a surprise, considering the Jets are being cautious with his surgically repaired knee. Afterward, Rex Ryan hinted that Johnson will rest every third day as part of the team's plan for him in camp.

2. Break out the pads: The Jets practiced in full pads for the first time, which made for spirited competition in the 9-on-7 and pass-rushing drills. Safety Dawan Landry and nose tackle Damon Harrison delivered big hits in the 9-on-7 drill, which features the running game. Without Johnson, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell got the bulk of the reps. Ivory impressed with his ability to get to the outside. Daryl Richardson, battling for a roster spot, showed some giddy-up. Right guard Oday Aboushi stood out, according to Ryan, who gave the second-year lineman a shout-out for his improvement since the end of last season.

3. Double-D: Rookie guard Dakota Dozier, a fourth-round pick, jumped out in the pass-rushing drill. It's always fun to watch this drill because it's one-on-one, in pads, with offensive and defensive players cheering on their teammates and talking smack to the other side. Dozier got beat on one play, but rebounded on the next two, handling bull rushes. That caught the coaches' eye. I remember talking to an opposing scout after the draft about Dozier, and the scout said he considered Dozier is a finesse player who'd struggle with the transition to guard after playing tackle in college. He didn't struggle in this drill.

4. Ebb and ebb: One day after general manager John Idzik said there would be an ebb and flow with the distribution of quarterback reps, Geno Smith received 16 of 19 first-team reps. After three practices, Smith's rep count is 42, Michael Vick 12. I guess we're still waiting for the ebb to turn into a flow. Anyway, both quarterbacks performed well in practice, especially Vick, who completed six of seven passes in team drills. His best throw came in a 7-on-7 drill, a 50-yard touchdown pass to Clyde Gates, who beat Dee Milliner down the sideline. Smith (3-for-5) didn't get many opportunities, as they took advantage of the padded practice to concentrate on the running game. He was almost intercepted. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson jumped an 'out' route and broke up a pass to Eric Decker; it would've been a pick-6 if he held on.

5. Babin moving up: In his second practice, Jason Babin got some work with the first-team nickel. He rotated with Quinton Coples. Speaking of Coples, he recorded a "sack" for the second straight day.

6. Sleepers: After practice, Ryan gave a shout out to two unheralded players, safety Rontez Miles and linebacker Troy Davis. They've impressed the coach so much that Ryan, trying to give them a good opportunity to make the team, will play them with the starters on special teams. Davis plays "100 miles per hour," according to Ryan. Miles recorded a sack on a safety blitz.

7. Medical report: Rookie wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, a sixth-round pick, missed practice for the second day with a hip injury. Linebacker Tim Fugger (ankle) and defensive end Zach Thompson (shoulder) sat out.

8. Odds and ends: Right tackle Breno Giacomini, oft-penalized throughout his career, was flagged for a false start and sat out a play. ... Rookie receiver Shaq Evans caught a 50-yard pass from rookie Tajh Boyd in a 7-on-7 drills. Boyd throws a good deep ball, but he struggles with his accuracy on short and intermediate throws. ... Rookie tight end Jace Amaro, off to a quiet start, caught two passes from Vick in a two-minute drill.

Jets Camp Report: Day 2

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A review of Friday's developments at New York Jets training camp:
  1. Babin makes debut: Two days after agreeing to terms, veteran pass-rusher Jason Babin found his way to training camp and participated in his first practice, providing a glimpse of how he might help the defense. Working primarily with the second team, Babin moved around, playing left and right end, standing up in a two-point stance and even dropping into coverage. Officially, he's listed as a linebacker, but we all know he'll be a situational pass-rusher. His versatility makes him a nice fit in coach Rex Ryan's defense. Ryan called Babin a "proven commodity," saying he never would've been available if he had been a few years younger. Ryan, no doubt, recalls how Babin abused right tackle Wayne Hunter in 2011, when the Jets were embarrassed by the Philadelphia Eagles.

  2. Two-dreaded monster: Encouraging news in the backfield: Chris Johnson, who is seven months removed from knee surgery, practiced for the second straight day. That might not sound like much, but there was talk before camp about him being on a modified practice schedule. That still could happen; it'll be interesting to see if he takes a rest Saturday, the first day in pads. Chris Ivory, who tweaked a hamstring during an offseason workout (sound familiar?), made it through practice without any complications one day after sitting out with his cranky hammy. With Johnson and Ivory, it's all about staying healthy.

  3. Special K: Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, whose importance was highlighted last season when the Jets went 0-4 without him, is off to a fast start in camp. On Friday, he led all pass-catchers with three receptions, including a long touchdown. He took a short pass from Geno Smith, found a seam in the defense and raced up for the sideline. Kerley tends to get overlooked when pundits discuss the wide receiver situation, but the dude can play. It was the play of the day. Later, Smith tainted an otherwise solid day by the offense by throwing an interception, his first turnover in camp.

  4. GM speak: John Idzik, addressing reporters in one of his periodic state-of-the-team chats, was bombarded with questions about the pseudo- quarterback competition. He refused to give any edge between Smith and Michael Vick, even though it's obvious to everyone in Cortland that Smith is the presumed starter. Even the customers at the iconic Doug Fish Fry know it's Smith's job to lose. Nevertheless, Idzik insisted, "I don't think it's tilted at all." He probably thinks the Tower of Pisa is straight.

  5. Q's time to shine: This is a huge season for linebacker Quinton Coples, who jumped out early in practice by blowing past the right tackle and sacking Smith. Later, Ryan defended Coples to a certain degree, disagreeing with Joe Klecko's harsh assessment of the former No. 1 pick. In the offseason, the Jets legend said in a radio interview that Coples "looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane." Ryan noted that Coples recorded a team-high 50 quarterback hits last season. That's fine, but he had only 4.5 sacks. He has to be better than that.

  6. Should Wilkerson get "Mo" money? Ryan was uncomfortable when asked if defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson deserves a contract extension. He called Wilkerson an "ascending player," but he didn't go full gush, as he used to do with Darrelle Revis. Wilkerson told the New York Daily News that he feels underpaid ($1.2 million this season), but he said he won't squawk about wanting a new deal. Here's the bottom line: Yes, he's underpaid, but he's signed through 2015. There's no sense of urgency to lock him up. If they do it now, they would set a precedent that could come back to bite them in 2016, when Sheldon Richardson is in the same boat.

Jets camp report: Day 1

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
9:00
PM ET
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A review of the hot topics from Thursday at the New York Jets:

1. Sunglasses needed: Rex Ryan was fired up after the first practice, radiating enough sunshine to raise the tanning index to a 10. The coach said the Jets are "a zillion miles ahead of where we were last year" at this time, claiming this team is further along than any of his previous teams. He raved about Geno Smith, Michael Vick, Chris Johnson, Calvin Pryor, Antonio Allen and Kyle Wilson. Even rookie quarterback Tajh Boyd got some love. Said Ryan: "He's got a little magic in him." Sitting in the news conference, I thought for a moment that I was covering the '85 Bears. But you know what? This is who Ryan is. He's the enternal optimist, and it's one of the reasons why the players still like playing for him after five years.

2. Geno wins the day: On Day 1 of the pseudo quarterback competition, Smith outplayed Michael Vick, who threw an interception that wasn't entirely his fault. (Rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders ran the wrong route.) There will be more days like this, especially if Smith continues to receive three-quarters of the first-team reps. Vick is working with an inexperienced cast of characters, and that's bound to impact his performance. You'll be reading a day-by-day analysis of the quarterback situation (hey, it's what we do), but know this: To nail down the job, Smith needs to show up in the preseason games. In other words, he can't throw a pick-six on a screen pass on his first attempt. (See: Mark Sanchez, 2013).

3. Three-headed safety: Dawan Landry, Antonio Allen and rookie Calvin Pryor rotated with the starting unit at safety. It's not hard to read the handwriting on the wall: The Jets prefer a Allen-Pryor tandem, but they're not ready to abandon Landry, the wise head of the secondary. Ryan said he wants to keep Allen "really humming because I think he's really stepped up, and I'll try to put him out there with the 1s as much as possible." The same could be said for Pryor. Unfortanately, you can't play with 12 players.

4. Early glimpse at the receivers: Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and David Nelson were the best receivers on the field. The others had drops at various points in practice, with rookie Quincy Enunwa (hip) taking an early seat because of an injury. No reason to reach for the panic button. Just stating the facts. Obviously, the Jets need one or two receivers to emerge from the pack.

5. Rex rocks the house: Several players, especially the rookies, were still buzzing about Ryan's speech to the team Wednesday night. Ryan knows how to bring it, especially on the eve of training camp. According to several players, he spoke about the playoffs, how the drought has lasted long enough. This is how Boyd described it: "I'm sitting in there and I don't know what to expect. He gets up there and he's very modest and he's talking, 'It's going to be a great camp, I'm excited.' Then he just flipped the switch five minutes into the talk. You could just feel the fire burning inside the guys. He made me want to run through a brick wall. I think he's got an opportunity to be a legendary coach one of these days."

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