FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Tuesday morning’s mini-camp practice started out filled with a relaxed, but enthusiastic energy. Rex Ryan even made sure to get into the fun as he played quarterback during a set of tip ball drills for the defensive backs and later was seen giving a celebration jumping chest bump with the players.
The players all seemed to be enjoying themselves, as there was rarely a minute or two that went by without a player making a joke at another player’s expense. Both the intensity and trash talking picked up as the practice went on, with the defense winning most of the battles on the field. Kris Jenkins dominated the trash-talking game, by cracking one joke after another, and with this team and this coach it fits perfectly.
During the afternoon press conference Rex Ryan commented on Jenkins and how much weight he has lost, and the visible size difference is shocking in person, as well as touching on Jenkins’s ability to talk trash by taking a playful shot of his own at Jenkins. “You know he looks pretty good, like I said his weights down the lowest it’s been in a long time and he’s moving around pretty good. I hear him out there, I hear him talking a lot, I always think it’s funny he’s like, ‘Your not doing nothing,’ (Jenkins shouts from the sidelines) and I look over and I’m like Jenk, your not even out there.” HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” series should be thrilled with the amount of comedic quotable lines that will be littered throughout the show by some of the more vocal players and of course the coach himself.
Regarding Darrelle Revis, there’s no new news to report on his contract situation and although he revealed yesterday that he exaggerated injuries to “make a statement”, he still has not spoken to Ryan about the incident. Revis did make a statement today saying he “wants to be a Jet forever” and his goal is to stay on the team. Ryan, commenting on the situation said he has not had a chance to speak to Revis but if indeed it was true it was “uncharacteristic” of him.
In an interception drill for the defensive backs, Revis cut and turned around only to see the ball was thrown about a foot above his head. He tipped the ball in the air and dove, with belly-flop form, to try and still make the play. The ball fell just out of his reach, but the effort was clearly there. Later in 11-on-11 drills Revis made a great play to out jump Braylon Edwards for a high pass and as Revis got back up he could be heard loudly shouting, “Not today!” as he was determined to partake in the trash talking party.
The defense won most of the battles, but there were some nice plays and certain players, who stood out on offense today. The newest Jet’s receiver, Santonio Holmes, made a couple of great plays including an amazing diving, yet still dragging his feet inbounds, 35-yard touchdown pass in a two-minute drill. When asked about catch in the locker room and if it reminded him of his Super Bowl clinching catch with the Steelers he said, “When I say that making that catch in the Super Bowl was a routine catch, everybody looks at me and laughs, like how’s that routine? It’s the same thing we do everyday in practice.” If these types of plays truly stay routine the Jets will be getting even more than they had hoped when they traded for Holmes.
Sanchez was off and on, but made a couple of really nice passes besides the touchdown pass, including two consecutive completions to LaDainian Tomlinson as well as some nice passes to Edwards and Dustin Keller, who repeatedly received praises from the coaches on both his route running and blocking.
An interesting development took place during one drive in which Brad Smith lined up underneath the center playing quarterback for the entire drive and not one wildcat type of play was run. When Ryan was asked later if it was just some spring experiment he coyly said, “ I never saw him back there.”
The story of the day though is what one should of expected by now and that was the Jets defense. The NFL world already knows what Revis can do, and the freakishly lengthy Antonio Cromartie already makes their secondary more dangerous. However there were two new members of the Jets defense that really stood out today.
One of them was the rookie, Kyle Wilson, who made numerous nice plays, but the biggest was an interception off a deep ball thrown by Kellen Clemens that Wilson then took and returned for 50 yards before Brad Smith made a hustle play knocking the ball out of his hands and out of bounds. The player of the day award would have to go to Brodney Pool who made two sensational interceptions and had his hand on breaking up a few passes.
Overall there was nothing but positive notes to take away from this practice. Sanchez might not of seemed as sharp as he would like, but it wasn’t as much that he was making mistakes or throwing the ball to the wrong spot as it was the fact that the Jets secondary was absolutely smothering the receivers. Practicing against a defense this talented and that practices this hard can only help and improve Sanchez overall game. Of all the great plays made today, in the end it was the energy, intensity and enthusiasm that was percolating through the air that made today seem like such a successful day of practice.
The team has one more day of minicamp tomorrow at the new Meadowlands Stadium that will be open to the public. The team is expecting a big crowd as they do their first work at their new home.
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