Florham Park, NJ– Rex Ryan was not pleased with the amount of drops the team had during Tuesday’s practice and he expected yesterday’s practice to be much better.
“What wasn’t outstanding was I think the way we caught the football yesterday (Tuesday) and it’s always funny because you have these press conferences after the fact, a day late, you guys saw what I saw. We dropped a ton of balls. It wasn’t just one player, it was several.” Ryan said before yesterday’s practice, “Obviously we will be looking for improvement in that area today.”
Surely Ryan’s frustration level continued to grow yesterday as the drops became even more commonplace, on Tuesday it seemed like everyone had at least a drop, but yesterday it was Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley leading the way with one drop after another. Kerley had a bad day, but it’s easy to dismiss considering he doesn’t usually have issues catching the ball. Hill, still recovering from some minor swelling in his knee, has definitely improved his route running, as he is running much crisper routes, but he’s still struggling with the basics of being a wide receiver like catching the ball.
“I think the biggest thing if you are a receiver, the number one thing you do is catch the football. So, I think we better learn. We got to get that figured out. You catch the football. Whether it’s focus, whether it’s just having your hands in the right spot. The old thing we used to learn around the clock and all that stuff.” Ryan said, “Catch the football, you’re paid to catch the football. We expect it caught. When the ball is there, catch the ball. You know for us, you should be surprised if anybody ever drops a ball, yesterday (Tuesday) I was surprised when we caught it. It was like, ‘Wow, how many of those things are we going to drop today?'”
The drops shouldn’t be all that surprising considering this young ragtag receiving group and the fact that they are installing a new offense, but that’s no excuse for not doing something as simple as catching the ball and Ryan simply won’t allow for such excuses.
“I think you’re dead on but we don’t want to give them the excuse. Ok, I want to say absolutely, I think that’s part of it.” Ryan said, “We have a lot of different routes that we’re running running right now. I can see, if you put that little number 10 (Eagles WR DeSean Jackson) in there, I can see him running that route for Philadelphia. Now it’s like we have our guys doing it, some different combinations and things. But again, the number one thing, (when) you get there, now catch the ball.”
Part of the problem is that the Jets are still without their best receiver, their own little number 10 Santonio Holmes. Holmes is still recovering from the Lisfranc injury that ended his season last year and refused to put a timetable on his return. Holmes said the injury was so severe he had to learn to walk all over again and while the team has been hoping he could return for the start of training camp that seems unlikely after Holmes told reporters yesterday he hasn’t even started running at full speed yet.
“Learned how to walk again. It’s been that hard to just get the feeling of your body to move in any everyday motion that you’ve been accustomed to for so many years.” Holmes said. “And to have something like this happen, it kind of puts a damper on your whole physical ability to do anything. So just learning how to walk again has been the biggest issue with me.”
Holmes said he’s, “taking it day by day,” and has been spending, ” a lot of time in my hyperbaric chamber at home,” but he’s still not sure when he’ll be able to fully participate in practice, but with the underwhelming performance of the receivers so far this offseason Ryan is certainly hoping it’ll be sooner than later.
“We need Santonio Holmes.” Ryan said, “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”