Gloomy Day Equals Gloomy Practice for Jets Offense
FLORHAM PARK, N.Y.- The rain came down in spurts today, just like the Jets offense. On a day with little sunlight peering through the overcast sky, there was few bright spots on the offensive end. Over 2,700 fans came out to the Jets practice facility Tuesday to watch the team prepare for the most important preseason game of the year.
The fans may have showed up in full force, but the Jets, in particular the offense, didn’t hold up there end of the bargain.
“They had a good day yesterday, but wasn’t very good today,” head coach Rex Ryan said in his post practice press conference. “The offense definitely struggled a bit today.”
Mark Sanchez agreed. “I think overall it just wasn’t our best practice. I think we were a little sluggish, a little stagnant and that’s not the kind of tempo we like. That’s what kind of happens when you transition out of training camp. I think it showed in the Carolina game, and I think it showed today.”
The offensive struggles carried over from Friday’s Panthers game as receivers were overthrown, balls fell through hands and missed blocking assignments by the linemen. During the live-action drills, Sanchez went 7-11 with three red zone touchdowns and an ugly interception by Marquice Cole, in which he was waiting for the ball to enter his hands. Yet even on one of his touchdown passes to Dustin Keller on a play-action rollout was under thrown and Keller was forced to make a good play slowing up on the ball.
Kellen Clemens didn’t fair any better as he went 2-12 while getting sacked four times, twice being chased down by Jason Taylor in the backfield.
Sanchez and the starting receiving corps (Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and Jerricho Cotchery) even stayed after practice to work on some drills.
“We were just working everything to perfection,” said Holmes after practice. “The little things you do after practice can help decide the outcome of a ballgame. When everyone’s on the same page there’s less communication issues. I think us working together with Mark will only make us that much better.”
They all down-played the extra time, citing that–like any job–you want to get the work done early in the week to rest up for the weekend. The key word all the players used was communication. With the new weapons that surround Sanchez, it will take time to develop a rhythm with everyone and get on the same page.
“[Communication] not an issue.” said veteran wideout Jerricho Cotchery. “We’re just working on everything at this point. We’re just making sure we’re communicating well and on the same page, so that it doesn’t become an issue. We’re trying to avoid the communication problems.”
It may not be a pressing issue yet, but it’s evident communication a small problem as Sanchez missed a wide-open Holmes badly in the back of the end zone. Then on the very next play threw the ball to seemingly no one as a receiver didn’t look to be within five yards of the ball.
“It definitely wasn’t our best day from the QB spot all the way down the line,” admitted Sanchez. “It was just some communication errors. We just don’t want to play into that stigma of this is Wednesday practice it’s OK to screw up. We have a lot to learn from watching the film today, but there were some highlights too.”
The offense focused not only on the red zone scenarios but on check-down plays to the running backs and tight ends. Last week against Carolina, the Jets deployed many of those screen/check-down plays but with little success, which led to sputtering offensively. Despite their talent, this team will have to learn how to walk together before competing in the marathon that is the NFL season.
LB Joshua Mauga and S Donovan Warren (head injuries) were both out of practice today as well as OG Charlie Tanner who has an unknown knee injury that will keep him out roughly 2-4 weeks. Ropati Pitoitua (Achilles tendon) went in for surgery today with Dr. Tim Montgomery.
Redskins QB Donovan McNabb will not play in Friday’s game against the Jets. While he has received the OK to remove the boot from his left ankle, the Redskins are acting with caution with their new star player. WFAN 106.7 in Washington is reporting that the injury is very similar to a high ankle sprain. McNabb was injured in last week’s preseason game against the Ravens.