Defense Dominates Final Day In Cortland
CORTLAND, NY – Today’s practice was the last in Cortland, NY for the Jets this year. Tomorrow the players will leave their isolated hideout and return to civilization, but today the defense was determined to get the most out of their last day in seclusion.
Rex Ryan was extremely pleased with what he saw out of his defense today, saying, “Today was a day that was really dominated by the defense. That’s why I think Schotty (offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer) had, we had our practice schedule then it looked like the offense had a little bonus work afterwards.”
After yesterday’s practice Ryan wasn’t exactly thrilled with the intensity of his defense. Apparently they got the message as they made play after play, whether it was Jim Leonard getting a sack, Lowery or Wilson tipping the ball or David Harris picking off Sanchez at the goal-line. If Ryan was pleased with the play of his defense then it’s safe to say there were some devastating hits as well as some fighting. Today the fighting was between the defense because of missed plays and the day ended with a rookie CB getting a little hazing, getting hogtied to the goalpost only to have Gatorade dumped on him, all for talking back to secondary coach Dennis Thurman.
The players took it upon themselves to teach the rookie he hasn’t earned the right to talk back yet. The vets asked for Thurman’s permission for a little fun, some safe good old fashioned hazing to teach the rookie a lesson and Thurman obliged. Bart Scott channeled his inner rodeo cowboy, breaking out a rope and swinging it around and Kris Jenkins grabbed the rookie, Brian Jackson, so they could tie him to the goalpost. If you can’t wait until the next episode of, “Hard Knocks,” to see what happened here’s a little preview thanks to Jane McManus of ESPN.go.com/new-york/(http://twitpic.com/2g7ya6)
The defense might of dominated the day, but the offense did manage to break a couple of big plays, including a gorgeous 55-yard pass from Sanchez that was placed perfectly over Braylon Edwards shoulder and a nice quick powerful bounce outside for a 25-yard run by, rookie Joe McKnight. Anyone who watched, “Hard Knocks,” last night saw a glimpse of the struggle for consistency McKnight has been dealing with. McKnight, however wasn’t one of those people watching last night saying, “Yes. They came and told me I was going to be on the show tonight. I just didn’t feel like watching.” He might not of watched the episode, but he understands he needs to continue to improve and stay consistent. McKnight said, “I have some good days and I have some bad days. I just have to be more consistent. That’s what I’ve heard was said. I know for a fact that I have to be more consistent.”
When Ryan was asked where he has seen the biggest improvement in the team during camp, he had a clear cut winner. Ryan said, “I think the biggest thing I see, is I see Mark (Sanchez). Mark’s improvement, I think if you had to pick one thing, that’s where we’ve improved the most, in my opinion.”
And what parts of his game does Ryan think have improved? Well it is Rex Ryan so don’t expect him to be bashful. Ryan said, “Everywhere, just every facet of the game. His knowledge of the offense, being able to read defenses. Knowing where the hot’s are, knowing how to check the ball down, all those kind of things. I think he has definitely improved his game and his accuracy has always been a strength, but it’s even better now.”
Sanchez says he feels a lot more confident and comfortable with what is needed out of him in this offense. Sanchez said, “Confidence wise, I feel so much better in the huddle. I feel like I’m in command of the offense and knowing the situation. Play calls just roll off my tongue. I’m speaking the language with Schotty in between plays. and that really helps. It helps our chemistry on offense and I feel it’s grown this entire camp. A lot smoother camp this year, which is nice.”
The players get a night out tonight, with an extended curfew, the only rule is they can do whatever they want as long as they are hanging out with teammates. Tomorrow they get to return to their homes and families, but they won’t get too much of a break as they have to travel to Carolina to play the Panthers on Saturday. The starters will not see nearly as much time on Saturday as the did against the Giants Monday night. Ryan said he expects maybe a quarter at most out of his starters.
Ryan said he talked to former Colts coach Tony Dungy and they had a man to man talk and Dungy will be joining the Jets for a day of practice. Ryan said, “I did talk to Tony Dungy. He is going to take me up on my offer, he hasn’t set a date yet, but he’s excited to come out and see us and we’re excited to have him.” Imagine that, excitement out of Jets camp for something, who would of guessed?
Other news and notes:
Nick Folk has had a strong camp and he might of just closed out his year in Cortland with his best day yet. Folk ended practice today hitting 5-5 FG’s including a 56-yard blast.
Ryan said everyone should expect to see Laveranues Coles get a lot more playing time this week.
Ryan has loved what he has seen out of Kris Jenkins saying, “In fact I think he is better than he was last year. Just the way he approaches practices, the way he is working, he and Mangold are going after it all the time and their making each other better…. We are seeing a phenomenal Kris Jenkins, which he was phenomenal to begin with, but he’s even a better technique player, which is scary for the league I’d think.”