Jets Defense Dominates Green and White Scrimmage
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.
“Overall I was really pleased” Ryan said, “If we’re looking at it from the numbers standpoint, we never threw X amount of touchdowns… but it was more competitive than that.”
With that said, here is more from the Green and White scrimmage.
DEFENSE SHOWS WHOSE BOSS
After giving up a pair of 60 yard touchdown passes the day before, the defense recovered and showed why they are considered one of the better defenses in the NFL.
The tone of the scrimmage was set on the very first play when camp standout, linebacker DeMario Davis hammered running back Chris Ivory for a 3-yard loss after Ivory caught a short pass from starting quarterback Geno Smith. Antonio Allen also had a near interception on Smith during the first series of plays
Shortly thereafter, good pressure from the defensive line forced second-year quarterback Matt Simms to throw an interception to Jeremy Reeves, a first-year defensive back out of Iowa State.
Throughout the scrimmage, the defense did a good job of creating pressure on the quarterback, which resulted in hurried throws, tackles for losses and sacks. Although Rex Ryan said the offensive line did a good job protecting the quarterback during conventional four and five-man rushes, he did acknowledge that they had trouble handling the more difficult schemes.
“It got a little dicey when we had some exotics out there. Dennis (Thurman) put in a couple things. That was a little tough.”
The highlight of the practice for the defense was a tremendous goal line stand.After a pass interference penalty by fourth-year cornerback Darrin Walls set the Jets’ offense up with 1st and goal on the one-yard line, the defense recovered and stopped running back Alex Green three straight times. The defense ended any hope the Jet offense had at scoring a touchdown on fourth down when linebacker Garret McIntyre sacked Geno Smith.
“It was awesome” said Rex Ryan of the defense’s goal line stand, “You want to punch it in there. I love the fact that Marty (Mornhinweg) ran it four straight times. It was like “No, we’re going to knock it in there.” To the defense’s credit, that wasn’t the case. I was happy to see that” said Ryan.
Ryan was also impressed with the strong tackling performance by his defense saying, “Most of the time when you start your first real live tackling, minus goal line situations, you have a lot of missed tackles but I don’t think that was the case today. I was happy with the way our defense tackled.”
While the defense as a whole played great, there were a few players who shined among the rest.
Second-year player Quinton Coples looked really good tonight. Coples, who has lost around 13 pounds in preparation for his position change from defensive end to outside linebacker showed his enhanced quickness and got to the quarterback a couple of times.
Recent signee, Jason Babin also impressed Saturday evening. Babin had two sacks and a tip deflection off quarterback Michael Vick.
But the player who stood out the most was safety Rontez Miles. Miles dominated the scrimmage. He had a near interception off rookie quarterback Tajh Boyd, a sack on Michael Vick and was a presence on the field the entire night and Rex Ryan took notice.
“We have a lot of good football players. Rontez is one of them. He got his chance to shine a little bit. And sometimes the cream rises to the top and obviously Rontez had a big night.”
After coming off a break out practice yesterday, it seemed that the offense finally found its rhythm but tonight was another rough night for the Gang Green offense.
They did not score a single touchdown which “disappointed” Geno Smith
“We’re very disappointed that we didn’t score enough points. We understand that we have to take full advantage of our opportunities in the red zone and we’re going to get better from it. We’re going to look at tape and see exactly what went wrong and then correct it and get better at it.”
Running back Chris Johnson also shared Smith’s sentiments regarding the offensive performance but pointed out that the offense was scrimmaging against one of the best defenses in the league.
“There’s some disappointment. We are trying to get better and better every day. In this situation, I feel we are facing one of the top defenses there is going to be in the NFL. If we continue to practice and execute against those guys, I feel the game will be easier than practice.”
While the offense had its issues, there are still plenty of reasons to remain optimistic. One of which was the play of Stephen Hill. Hill, coming off a strong practice on Friday had the offensive highlight of the night when he caught a beautiful deep ball thrown by Geno Smith which resulted in a 41-yard gain.
Geno Smith did not play poorly. Although he showed shades of last season when he telegraphed a pass to Clyde Gates which would have resulted in a pick six if not dropped by Darrin Walls but other than that Smith showed improvement. In the second half he led a 15-play drive that resulted in a goal line stand by the defense but throughout the drive he was poised and made several strong throws.
Michael Vick also had a strong scrimmage. He showed that he still has the speed and elusiveness that can change the dynamic of a game when on a third down and 17 Vick scrambled for 20 yards and the first down.
Like Leger Douzable last year, there is always a player who unexpectedly stands out during the Green and White scrimmage. This year that player was wide receiver Greg Salas. Salas had a game high five catches for 54 yards and Rex Ryan took notice of his performance.
“He did (have a good scrimmage.) All Salas does is catch the football except that one drop. It’s funny but that’s what he does. He’s not a blazer by any means but he certainly gets the football. He gets open and he competes as a blocker, so those things are encouraging” Ryan said.
Salas was also happy with his performance not only during tonight’s scrimmage but training camp thus far.
“I’m pretty happy with the opportunities I’ve gotten. I feel like I’ve made the most of them. This is what I do in practice. I make catches, I make plays in practice and I was glad I could come out here and do the same in this little scrimmage we had.”
Although the offense did not score a touchdown, Rex Ryan remained optimistic about the offense moving forward saying, “I think when we tee it off for real on Thursday night, I think we’ll probably put up some points.”
NEWS AND NOTES
Rookies Calvin Pryor (concussion) Dexter McDougle (groin) and Shaq Evans (shoulder) did not participate in the scrimmage.
Bilal Powell also sat out the scrimmage with a hamstring injury.
Linebacker Jermaine Cunningham suffered an apparent right leg injury and had to be helped off the field. Rex Ryan said he was “concerned” about Cunningham’s health.
Rookie tight end Jace Amaro had no catches during the scrimmage. He was rarely even targeted.
Willie Colon started at right guard and Brian Winters started at left guard. Oday Aboushi who is having a strong camp did take some first team reps at the right guard position.
While Michael Vick started the second half with the first unit, Geno Smith took the majority of the first team reps.