Wide Receivers Take Center Stage As Final Cuts Loom

August 26th, 2014

Florham Park, N.J.- While most of the concern and interest surrounding the Jets this training camp has revolved around issues with the team’s secondary, another area of intrigue is the wide receiver position.

With final cuts approaching and several wide-outs vying for a roster spot, the receiving corps is preparing to take center stage. In his post practice press conference, head coach Rex Ryan said, “we’re still evaluating that receiving group and we’ll see how it shakes out.

Ryan has already announced that receivers Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, and David Nelson will not play in the final preseason game Thursday night against the Eagles so it’s clear that their roster spots are safe. Read the rest of this entry »

Jets Make First Cuts, Release Seven Players

August 24th, 2014

Florham Park, N.J.- The New York Jets have announced that they have released seven players to reduce their roster to 81 players. Tackle Bruce Campbell, linebacker Steele Divitto, offensive lineman Patrick Ford, kicker Andrew Furney, punter Jacob Schum, running back Michael Smith, and offensive lineman Markus Zusevics were the players released Saturday night.

The Jets have made their first cuts of the preseason with the release of seven players on Saturday night. (Jetsinsider.com Photo)

The cuts come after the Jets suffered their first preseason loss in the Snoopy Bowl to the Giants Friday night 35-24. There were no surprises among the seven players cut tonight and the Jets still need to make six more cuts and reduce their roster to a league mandated 75 players by 4 pm on Tuesday.

Jets Drop Snoopy Bowl to Giants, Geno Named Week One Starter

August 23rd, 2014

East Rutherford, N.J.- The Jets were finally handed their first loss of the preseason Friday evening as they lost the sixth annual MetLife Bowl to their in-stadium rival New York Giants 35-24.

The Jets played much better than the final scoreboard indicated. It can be argued that the Jets won the varsity game but lost the J.V. game because the Jets first units dominated the Giants first team for much of the first half.

Geno Smith, who played very well Friday night, was named the week one starter by Rex Ryan. (Jetsinsider.com photo)

Geno Smith and the offense were able to move the ball with ease against the Giant defense.  In the first quarter, Smith led a nine play 72-yard drive, which ended with a Nick Folk field goal. Read the rest of this entry »

Jets Return To Hofstra

August 22nd, 2014

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.- For the first time since 2010, the New York Jets held practice at Hofstra University, their previous training camp home for forty years.

Michael Wilson a Jets fan of four decades was excited about the Jets’ return to Hofstra saying “It’s nice to have them back here.” Wilson was also excited about the prospect of the Jets possibly holding training camp in Long Island next summer.

“I think it would be a lot better that way” Wilson said. ”Stay where the fans are.”

While the practice was nothing special with the first team offenses and defenses working against scout teams, the stars of the night were the Jets’ Long Island fan base.

11,000 Long Island Jet fans came out to James M Shuart stadium creating a high school football like atmosphere and head coach Rex Ryan enjoyed every minute of it.

“It’s great to come out here and see so many fans here. It’s fantastic” said head coach Rex Ryan.

When asked if Ryan felt the passion of the Long Island fan base Ryan said, “It’s always amazing when you get in here, the electricity here… the fans are awesome [and] it’s clear that the Jets are their team.”

Hofstra graduate Willie Colon was excited to be back at Hofstra Thursday night. (Jetsinsider.com Photo)

Former Hofstra University star Willie Colon was also excited to be back at Hofstra, “It was fun. It brought back some old memories… it’s an honor to be back, especially back with the guys, it’s fun.”

Freeport Long Island native and left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson said although it has been four years since the Jets have practiced at Hofstra, the fan support hasn’t dampened.

“It’s been a long time since we ‘ve been back but it’s good man” said Ferguson. “It’s a feeling of nostalgia but it’s good that we had a strong showing of fans [to] let us know that we’re still loved out here and it’s always good to be back home.”

Snoopy Bowl

While tonight’s practice was a fun and had an enjoyable atmosphere, the upcoming Snoopy Bowl against the Giants was still very much on their minds and with the starters expected to play into the third quarter, Rex Ryan expects to see a better effort than last weeks preseason game against the Bengals.

“I just want our guys to get better” Ryan said. “And on defense especially, I’d like to make sure the communications good and still keeping up with the physical make up of how we’ve been playing. So those are the things I am looking forward to watching.”

With each team exchanging trash talk this week, Ryan expects a physical game but not a chippy one. “It’s going to be a physical game. That’s what we want. Believe me [when] the Jets and Giants play there is extra energy in it… It’s a physical game. It’s not chippy and I think that is what the fans can look forward to on both sides.”

D’Brickashaw Ferguson also expects an intense game tomorrow. “It’s always a great game, we like going out there competing against our neighbors, I guess its for bragging rights but we enjoy it year in and year out.

Jet’s fans know that no matter when the Jets play the Giants it is more than just a regular game and Willie Colon acknowledged that fact.

“It just means something because I’m a Jet. I’m competitive and I want to win and obviously the bragging rights and all that kind of plays a part into it but at the end of the day that’s (MetLife Stadium) is our house and we consider it our house and (the) only one way to solve it is to win and beat them.”

Colon also said the Giants defense will serve as a great way to gage where the Jets are offensively, “They’re a stout defense. So it’s going to be a great test for us up front. They do a lot of things, they mix it up, they have a lot of guys that can get after so it’ll kind of be a big dress rehearsal for us and we’ll see if we’re as good as we say we are.

Jets Wrap Up Cortland Portion Of Training Camp

August 13th, 2014

CORTLAND, N.Y.- It is hard to believe but the Jets wrapped up the Cortland portion of their training camp Wednesday. With no agreement to return to Cortland next year, it is possible that the Jets will look elsewhere for a training camp home. One idea being considered is a return to Long Island, specifically hosting training camp at Farmingdale State College. The Jets have had camp at Cortland since 2009 with the exception of the lockout shortened training camp of 2011. Before that the Jets held training camp at Hofstra University for 40 years. Read the rest of this entry »

Dee Milliner Helped Off The Field By Trainers, McDougle Tears ACL

August 10th, 2014

CORTLAND, N.Y.- The Jets’ secondary was already a question mark heading into the season and now that question mark has gotten a lot bigger.

Dee Milliner had to be helped off the field by trainers after injuring his left ankle at practice. (Jetsinsider.com Photo)

Cornerback Dee Milliner who has had a great training camp and looked good during the preseason game against the Colts, went down with an apparent serious injury to his left ankle during today’s practice.

Early reports indicate that Milliner suffered a high ankle sprain rather than a fracture although it is still unclear how much time he will miss.

Head coach Rex Ryan said Milliner injured his ankle while defending rookie wide receiver Quincy Enunwa.

“He goes and tries to defend the (ball),  going against Quincy, tries to make a play on the football and [he] came down and rolled his ankle.”

Ryan was clearly concerned about the injury to Milliner.

“Well again, you’re concerned with everybody’s injuries. That’s part of the business; You go through it and [the] next man has to step up or we’ll see. Obviously you’re always concerned with guys injuries there’s no question about it.”

Earlier in the day, cornerback Dexter McDougle injured his left knee and had to leave practice. After practice the Jets announced that McDougle tore his ACL in his left knee and will miss the season.

According to Ryan, McDougle hurt his knee during one-on-one drills in the red zone.

“We were doing one-on-ones in the red zone and apparently he came down and his cleat got caught.” Ryan added that McDougle felt a “sharp pain” in his knee.

The loss of McDougle is a tough one for the Jets. The 3rd round pick out of Maryland had a strong start to camp and was looking like a draft day steal. During the first preseason game against the Colts, McDougle broke up a pass and played with the second unit. However, with the inconsistent play of Dimitri Patterson, McDougle began to take reps with the first unit Sunday.

While Ryan was clearly concerned about the injuries to both Milliner and McDougle he was confident that the team had enough secondary depth to overcome any serious injury.

“We’ll put the best 11 out there and we’ll be able to play defense. We have a lot of good football players… we’ll be fine.”

When asked what he thought of cornerbacks Darrin Walls and Ellis Lankster, two potential replacements for Milliner and McDougle, Ryan had nothing but positive things to say about them specifically Lankster.

“Ellis is a guy who has really worked hard… and to me he is playing really well, this is probably the best I’ve seen Ellis play.”

Ryan also complemented Walls but stressed that he still needs to improve,

“I wish Darrin could catch the ball a little better, he seems to lead the league in PBUs (Pass Break Ups) so that was something he was working on even after practice with Eric Smith…to be a great one, you’ve got to able to make those plays and I know he wants to be as good as he can be and he’s working hard at that. “

Cornerback Dimitri Patterson also missed practice today with injuries to his quad and ankle. Ryan was noncommittal on a timetable for Patterson’s return only saying that he is “hoping to get him out there pretty soon.”

Ryan also downplayed the possibility of adding a cornerback via free agency saying, “I think we have enough depth here.”

The injuries to Milliner, Patterson and McDougle leave the Jets without three of their top four cornerbacks. With the loss of McDougle to an ACL tear and Patterson’s injury history, the potential of a serious injury to Milliner would be a huge blow to an already depleted Jets secondary.

PREVIEW: PRESEASON GAME #1 COLTS (0-0) @ JETS (0-0)

August 6th, 2014

After two weeks of training camp it is finally time to hit somebody else

August 7th marks the 221st day since Jet fans last saw their team play. Thankfully, that long wait ends when the Jets open up the preseason against the Indianapolis Colts.

It is fair to say that the Jets exceeded expectations last season, after a disappointing 6-10 season the year before, many predicted the Jets would be one of the worst teams in the NFL. In fact before week one, ESPN.com’s NFL Power Rankings had the Jets ranked as the worst team in the league.

The Jets proved their doubters wrong and were in playoff contention well in to December. Ultimately the team finished 8-8 after beating division rival Miami in the final week of the season.

The roller-coaster ride of a season was headlined by rookie quarterback Geno Smith. Smith had tremendous highs, like leading the team to a come from behind victory on Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons, and tremendous lows like when he was benched for fellow rookie Matt Simms in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins.

Smith however finished the 2013 season incredibly strong. Over the last four weeks of the year, his Total Quarterback Rating  (QBR) of 78.9 was second only to Peyton Manning.

2013 also saw the emergence of the defensive line. The young group, led by 2013 Second-team All-Pro selection Muhammad Wilkerson and 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson, quickly established themselves as one of if not the best defensive line units in the NFL.

Eric Decker has looked good so far during training camp and will be a key to the Jets success this season. (Jetsinsider.com photo)

During the offseason, the Jets made some much-needed improvements to their offense. The big splashes were signing former Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker to a five-year deal to bolster their receiving corps and adding running back Chris Johnson to strengthen an already impressive running game.

The team also drafted free safety Calvin Pryor and tight end Jace Amaro and added former Seahawk tackle Breno Giacomini.

But the addition that everybody was talking about was the signing of Michael Vick. Contrary to popular belief, Vick was not brought in to usurp Geno as starting quarterback but rather to mentor him and push him to improve from his first year.

With a revamped offense and a highly talented defense, the expectation among Jets’ players and head coach Rex Ryan is for the team to return to the playoffs.

The playoff push will officially be underway when the Jets kickoff against the Colts on Thursday and here is a preview of that matchup.

WHEN: Thursday, August 7, 2014 @ 7pm EST (TV-CBS, Radio-ESPN)

WHERE: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

INJURY REPORT:

JETS- INACTIVE S Calvin Pryor  WR Shaq Evans  RB Bilal Powell  WR Greg Salas  CB Johnny Patrick  OT Brent Qvale  OT Markus Zuesevics  LB Antwan Barnes

COLTS- INACTIVE WR Josh Lenz CB Vontae Davis S Laron Landry FB Stanley Havili RB Ahmad Bradshaw LB Andrew Jackson LB Kelvin Sheppard LB Josh McNary T Xavier Nixon WR Reggie Wayne

GAME KEYS/WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

Get the offense going- While they won’t play a lot, an interesting thing to be on the lookout for during this game is, can the Jets first team offense put points on the board against the Colts’ first team defense?

The Jets offense has struggled at times during training-camp and those struggles were evident during the Green and White scrimmage where they scored only six points. While some of that can be attributed to Gang Green’s staunch defense there were opportunities to score but the Jets couldn’t capitalize.

Rex Ryan said that he anticipates his offense to rebound from their poor scrimmage performance and “put up some points.”

The Colts had a pretty good defense last year, only surrendering 21 points per game, so it should be a good test for Geno Smith and company. With that said, the Colts’ defense has weaknesses which leads into the next key…

Ground and Pound- The Colts defense gave up an average of 125.1 yards per game last season which was seventh worst in the NFL. The three-headed monster of Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powel (who practiced Tuesday after missing time with a hamstring injury) should be able to find the holes in the defense and exploit them for big gains.

In addition to Johnson, Ivory and Powell, running backs Alex Green and Daryl Richardson should also be able to take advantage of the Colts defense. Both Green and Richardson had nine carries in the Green and White scrimmage so if one has a big game he can create a little separation from the other and inch closer to earning a spot on the roster.

Secondary Play/Put pressure on the quarterback- The secondary has been a position of strength in recent years but for the first time since Rex Ryan took over the team there are question marks. Antonio Cromartie, the teams best DB last year was a salary cap casualty, leaving Dee Milliner as the number one corner on the roster. Milliner, who struggled at times last year has looked good during camp, will get an early test against the Colts who bolster one of the better receiving corps in the NFL.

One way to cover up your weaknesses is to play to your strengths. The main strength for the Jets is their pass rush. If the Jets can put significant pressure on Andrew Luck and his backup, veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck, they won’t be able to find the holes in the secondary.

X-FACTORS:

Jace Amaro- Amaro has had a tough camp so far. He has dropped plenty of passes and has had trouble picking up Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. Yet by all accounts Amaro is hard at work trying to clean up his mistakes. When right, the 6’5” Amaro, is a matchup nightmare.

He is currently number two on the Jets depth chart behind Jeff Cumberland. Amaro should see plenty of action in this first game and with question marks at the wide receiver position, Amaro can serve as a safety net for not only Geno Smith and Michael Vick but for Matt Simms and rookie Tajh Boyd as well.

Matt Simms and Tajh Boyd- What preseason games come down to is how well the backups play. Geno Smith and Michael Vick probably won’t play a whole lot and the Jets defense whether it be the first, second or third team has looked great during camp. Therefore the game will come down to the play of the reserves on offense.

Boyd and Simms are competing with each other for the third-string quarterback role. Neither has stood out during camp. At times, Boyd has looked great. Rex Ryan praised Boyd saying that he “has a little bit of magic in him” and was also impressed with Boyd’s elusiveness and escape ability.  While Boyd has had his moments, he also has had struggles with interceptions. According to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg Boyd has been working incredibly hard and spending late nights with quarterback coach David Lee to fix his mistakes.

Simms has also had an up and down camp. He has a cannon for an arm but also struggles with accuracy. In the Green and White scrimmage he had an interception and only completed two of his six pass attempts. But Mornhinweg has been very complementary towards Simms saying, “Matt Simms has this thing [the offense] down, I have very good confidence in Matt. (If you) put him, in he’s going to run the show and do the right thing.

Neither Simms or Boyd got many reps in the Green and White scrimmage so this preseason game will be their first extended game action of the season and look for one of them to prove to the coaches why they deserve to be the third-string quarterback.

THE PICK- Preseason wins and losses don’t really matter. What the Jets want to take away from this game is valuable in-game experience and perhaps most importantly no injuries to their impact players. With that said I expect the Jets offense to rebound from their poor showing in the Green and White scrimmage and for the defense to continue their stellar play and slow down the Colts high powered offense.

Jets win 24-17

Jets Ready For Preseason Opener On Thursday

August 5th, 2014

CORTLAND N.Y.- The Jets hit the field again on Tuesday and went through a light practice in anticipation for their preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium on Thursday.

Overall, it was an uneventful pad-less practice.  The Jets offensive and defensive first and second teams practiced against scout teams and worked on plays  After a strenuous Green and White scrimmage led to a sluggish practice yesterday, today’s light workload should not come as a surprise.

One thing to take away from today’s practice is that the Jets players are ready to play against someone other than themselves.

“Yeah it’s about that time [to play another team]” said wide receiver Eric Decker “I thought these last two weeks, we put in good work, (the) scrimmage, we got some good work in, really live action. And now it’s just fun because you go up against the same guy, installing the same stuff,  so it’s fun to see kind of where you’re at with a different opponent.”

Quarterback Michael Vick is especially looking forward to going up against another opponents defense. “I’m looking forward to playing against a different opponent. I’ve been (playing against) our defense every day.  It’s been a great camp (and) been rough though going against those guys. But hey, it feels good to put the pads on against somebody else. “

Here are some other news and notes coming out of Jets’ camp on Tuesday.

Geno Smith said the game has "slowed down" as he enters his second year. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

GENO CONTINUING TO GROW

Geno Smith is coming off an incredibly inconsistent first year. At times he looked like the franchise quarterback the team hoped he would be and other times he looked overmatched out there.

But during training camp it is evident that the experience Smith gained by starting all 16 games his first year has been incredibly valuable to him.

When asked what was different for him now in comparison to this time last year, Smith said, “The mental side of it, I’m not thinking as much, not swimming as much. I have a better grasp of the offense. Really just understanding my surroundings a lot better.”

Smith also said that the game is beginning to slow down for him, “Yeah it is [slowing down.]… It definitely slowed down for me a ton.”

Smith’s growth has impressed many including his competition for the starting quarterback job Michael Vick.

“Geno’s working extremely hard to be the best quarterback that he can be in this game,” said Vick. “You see guys around the league around his age going out having success and doing some good things for their ball clubs and I think he wants to fall right into that echelon… he’s going to be great. He’s going to be 10 times better than where he was last year and I’m looking forward to it.”

EXECUTE OFFENSIVELY

It has been well documented that the Jets offense has had their good days and their not so good days so far in training camp. One day the offense looks fantastic and another it looks like a work in progress.

After a sluggish Green and White scrimmage the main thing that the Jets are looking to do offensively according to Geno Smith is to execute.

“Execution. It’s always about execution” said Smith. “Its always about us doing the right things on the field. We want to execute to the best of our ability. Go out there and be sharp mentally, be sharp physically, be accurate, be sharp with the reads, and get good plays in.”

Smith’s number one target, wide receiver Eric Decker echoed similar sentiments, “Well I think the biggest thing for us offensively is that we execute, as far as moving the chains get some first downs, (and) if we get in the red areas, scoring a touchdown is key. Just the little things that right now we’ve been working on as far as execution, everyone doing their job, eliminating penalties, having some explosive plays if possible. I think all in all, fluently playing the game.”

NEWS AND NOTES

Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley missed practice today because of an illness but he should be fine to play against the Colts on Thursday. Without Kerley in the lineup last season, the Jets went 0-4.

Calvin Pryor will not play Thursday against the Colts. Not because of any lingering injury, in fact Pryor returned to full contact practice on Monday but because he has missed a lot of practice time. Head coach Rex Ryan said, “ He [Pryor] missed a lot of work. We’ll get him back and get him up to speed for the next one.”

Things are not looking good for fellow rookie wide receiver Shaq Evans who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury. Today Ryan described Evans’ injury as “severe” and hinted that Evans could be done for the season.

Rex Ryan said that there is a “good chance” quarterback Michael Vick will get a series with the first team offense. This should be no surprise because Vick also got one series with the first unit during the Green and White scrimmage.

Jets Defense Dominates Green and White Scrimmage

August 3rd, 2014

CORTLAND, N.Y.- The Jets held their annual Green and White scrimmage Saturday night in front of a packed crowd at SUNY Cortland. Other than the 7,000 plus fans in attendance and firework show at the end, the scrimmage was not much different than the eight previous practices because once again the defensive was outstanding while the offense struggled.

The offense was only able to muster six points on two field goals, a 33-yarder by Nick Folk and a 47-yard one by Andrew Furney.  Although the offense had their struggles, head Coach Rex Ryan said he was pleased with the level of play in the scrimmage. Read the rest of this entry »

Sloppy Practice for Jets on Day 5

July 29th, 2014

CORTLAND, N.Y.- After an off day on Sunday, the Jets hit the practice field at Cortland on Monday well rested. However, it seems the off day may have done more harm then good because today’s practice was a rough one filled with penalties, turnovers and the level of play was not up to par with the first four days of practices.

“Sometimes you give guys you know an off day and things… It’s like I don’t get it you know you’re not as sharp, the focus doesn’t seem to be there. We came out of practice, we started pretty good and then at the end of it kind of waned a little” said head coach Rex Ryan.

With that, here are some other things to takeaway from Monday’s practice.

Read the rest of this entry »