Chris Ivory is out with a hamstring injury and Mike Goodson isn't in camp because of personal reasons. On Friday, Joe McKnight left practice with an undisclosed ailment. Suddenly, the Jets' backfield looks thin.
Rex Ryan didn't sound concerned.
"I haven't really noticed it," he said Friday. "We picked up [Chad] Spann. We're actually using Lex [Hilliard] and Tommy [Bohanon] in the one-back sets. When Chris come backs, obviously you'll feel better about your depth."
Hilliard and Bohanon, a seventh-round pick, are fullbacks.
FUN NIGHT: The highlight of training camp occurrs Saturday night, with the annual Green & White scrimmage. No starting jobs will be decided, especially not the quarterback competition, but Ryan said he's looking forward to having some electricity in the atmosphere -- and he didn't mean a potential lightning storm."I think when fans are there, and the spirit of the fans, [the intensity] does pick up," said Ryan, responding to a question about the Mark Sanchez-Geno Smith battle. "You can say what you want, but the tempo does naturally pick up. That'll be fun to watch."Ryan declined to say which quarterback will get the first reps. Based on the rotation, it should be Smith. But he said both likely will get first-team reps.
HALF FULL/HALF EMPTY: Ryan liked what he saw from his defense in the goal-line drill."Big Mo was impressive to say the least," he said of DE Muhammad Wilkerson. "With that defensive line, you have to create a new line of scrimmage or you're not going to be able to stop people. I thought last year we struggled on defense. They were able to run the ball down there on us some. We have to get better at that. Hopefully, today was an indication that we will."On the downside, they lost rookie C Dalton Freeman to a potentially serious injury. Ryan said they have to conduct live goal-line drills in camp because there's no guarantee that the situation will come up in a preseason game.
PRACTICE STARS: Ryan singled out OLB Ricky Sapp and WR Stephen Hill for top performances. Ryan said he was impressed by Hill's ability to rebound from a one-day illness that kept him out of Thursday's practice.
BIG WILLIE: Willie Colon grew up in the South Bronx and attended Hofstra, so he's as New York as a Nathan's hot dog. Ryan loves the attitude that the former Steelers guard has brought to the offense."I love the presence of Willie Colon," he said. "He brings a mentality. There's a certain presence. You're glad he's on your side. He's a guy you want in your fox hole. Obviously, it would have to be a big fox hole."
Scroll down the Jets’ training camp roster, past the players with the recognizable names. Past Mark Sanchez. Past Geno Smith. Past Antonio Cromartie and D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, until there, a few rows from the bottom, is No. 86.It belongs to Titus Ryan, whose name is recognizable in places like Alabama or North Texas or southern Alberta, but could be, should be, throughout the country. Of this, he is certain.
Ryan does not dwell on the past, but if only he had qualified academically to play for the Crimson Tide. Or had he not pulled a hamstring while on the Saints’ practice squad, costing him a call-up to the active roster. Or had he not broken his thumb returning the opening kickoff of the 2010 Hall of Fame game, destroying his chances of impressing the Cowboys.Instead, Ryan is with the Jets, his eighth professional organization, his fifth in the N.F.L., as one of 13 receivers striving to make the team.
Like many of them, he went undrafted.
Unlike many of them, he is 29. Around him are young men, and the older he gets, the more daunting his quest becomes.“For me to be doing this all these years and not play in a game, it kind of feels like I haven’t really proved anything,” Ryan said.“I’m not trying to prove anything to the world, but I know I can do this.”
Technically, Ryan has N.F.L. experience. It says so on that roster — one year of it.
It is just that Ryan spent that time in training camps and on scout teams, never among the final 53.
This latest opportunity materialized last December, about seven weeks after his stint with Las Vegas of the United Football League ended because the league ceased operations, and at a fortuitous time, too.
He was only a few days from applying for a position at a supermarket when the Jets called.
A strong workout earned him a three-week job on the practice squad, and it was also an audition of sorts.
In the N.F.L.’s cutthroat personnel world, every roster spot is precious, and so there is a reason Ryan is here, and why he has lasted this long.
“For developmental guys, you’re looking for traits — what is it that you do well?” said Brendan Prophett, the Jets’ director of pro personnel.
“He’s not a finished product, but he’s got a redeeming quality, and for him he’s got good size. Not great size, good size, and he could run.”
Ryan is 6 feet and 193 pounds, shorter and lighter than most of the other receivers, but he certainly can run. He could always run. At Tuscaloosa County High School, where he starred at running back, he won indoor and outdoor state sprint titles, finishing the 100-meter dash in a blazing 10.44 seconds.
“I didn’t know Titus,” said Jets receiver Ben Obomanu, who grew up about 90 minutes from Ryan, “but I’d always hear about how fast he was.”
His speed landed him a scholarship from Alabama, but his ACT score was too low.
He attended two junior colleges, playing football at one, before landing at Concordia, in Selma, Ala., where coaches converted him to receiver.
Ryan drew several pass-interference penalties but caught only six passes.
The Chiefs disregarded his meager statistics and focused on his film and his best time in the 40-yard dash, 4.36 seconds, inviting him to training camp in 2007.
That initiated his roundabout career path: Kansas City to New Orleans to Carolina to Calgary to Winnipeg to Dallas to Las Vegas to, finally, the Jets — and that omits places like Tennessee and Houston and Pittsburgh, where he tried out. When he wasn’t playing, Ryan trained in Alabama and worked odd jobs, including unloading trucks at warehouses.
At every stop, Ryan dispelled the stigma that tends to follow speedy players, that he was, as Jets receivers coach Sanjay Lal said, speaking generally, “a track guy who happened to play football.”
“Not at all,” said the Toronto Argonauts’ defensive coordinator, Chris Jones, who, while working for Calgary in 2009, helped bring Ryan to the Canadian Football League.
Jones, a native of Alabama who tracked Ryan’s career in high school and college, added, “He could get the ball in his hands, and he knew what to do with it.”
Ryan has plenty of good memories, such as his first game with Calgary, when he ran his first kickoff back 104 yards for a touchdown.
Or the instruction he received in New Orleans, where his position coach, Curtis Johnson, would tell him, “You’re not really running routes until your feet are bleeding.”
Ryan said, “When I actually saw it, I knew I was getting the hang of it.”
So far the Jets have been pleased with his body control and his retention, but they would like to see it more consistently — and more often.
Ryan hurt his hamstring running a deep route Monday morning, and he has not practiced since, preventing him from playing in Saturday night’s intrasquad scrimmage.
He would rather be healthy for the preseason opener Friday in Detroit, anyway. That is when he thinks he can distinguish himself.
And if not, he said, there will be other opportunities.
“I’m going to keep going, as long as it’s the Lord’s will, up until the end,” Ryan said.
The Jets had a scheduled day off after Saturday's scrimmage, but made a handful of roster moves.
The team announced it has signed Mossis Madu, a running back, Erik Cook, a center, and re-signed Michael Campbell, a wide receiver who was with the Jets last year during training camp. Jordan White, a wide receiver, was waived and got an injury settlement. Eric Crocker, a cornerback, was also waived.The signings compensate for to injuries suffered by Joe McKnight and Dalton Freeman in Friday's hard-hitting practice. McKnight, a running back, suffered a head injury, which has not been diagnosed as a concussion but is being monitored closely. Freeman, the No. 2 center for the Jets throughout camp, suffered a high ankle sprain on the final play of practice.Since Chris Ivory has not practiced due to a nagging hamstring injury and Mike Goodson has not reported to camp, the Jets needed depth at running back. Madu carried 15 times for 55 yards over nine games last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also caught 10 passes for 72 yards.
Cook, a seventh round pick by the Washington Redskins, played in six games and started twice in 2011. He is listed as 6-6 and 320 pounds.Campbell, a 6-2 receiver, participated in Jets training camp last season.White is expected to miss the preseason after he undergoes surgery to correct a sports hernia on Tuesday.Though he had an interception in Saturday's scrimmage, Crocker also was beat for a 47-yard touchdown.
To all Radar commenters: I have one bit of news for you and one change of venue to alert you all to.
The news is that the Jets’ first official depth chart of the season is now live on newyorkjets.com. You can find it here. This is the depth chart for the Jets’ preseason opener at Detroit on Friday night.Keep in mind that even though the depth chart is official, it is not a rigid document. Some players will play ahead of others that they’re listed behind. Some players will not appear at the positions they’re listed at. It’s all a work in progress.But note the newsworthy listings. QB is officially a “slash” situation, Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith being listed as co-starters at this time. On defense, Quinton Coples is appearing as a starting OLB, and both first-round rookies are being listed as starters — Sheldon Richardson at DT, Dee Milliner at CB.
As for the change of venue, you may have noticed a downturn in blogs appearing in this WordPress platform recently. That is by design. We are migrating all Randy’s Radar blogs and comments from WordPress to our NFL platform. We are consolidating all blogs with all news stories with an eye toward making a consistent and common experience across our Website for all our fans and visitors.The Radar commenting procedure will not change a lot but one thing will be required to submit comments and that is you must be a member of Facebook. Many of you here on the WordPress version of the Radar are Facebook members, some are not. If not, sign up for Facebook and you’ll still be able to leave your comments at the bottom of my blogs.
Over the next several days we will be phasing out the WordPress version of the Radar, which means that I’ll post your comments here for the next week but eventually comments sent to any WordPress blogs will not be posted. New comments will have to be submitted via Facebook under the blogs from this week forward.
Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following Wednesday's morning training camp practice at SUNY Cortland:
I just found out, Brandon Moore is retiring. A couple thoughts on him: What a tremendous player, obviously, that jumps out at me. As a coach coming in there and I’m like "OK, let’s see who we have ... we’ve got Alan Faneca at one guard and then Brandon Moore." I remembered Brandon, going against him, I knew he was big, strong and all of that stuff. But what a tremendous player. Absolutely a tremendous player. A great person. He was just a great teammate. A guy that was important to me and really being a first-time NFL head coach, I leaned on him some. He was absolutely tremendous. I guess you can’t play this game forever. But I certainly appreciate his time he had with us for sure.
On why Kyle Wilson practiced a lot today with the first-team defense…
Dee [Milliner] came in he had a little tightness in his leg. They ran a deep ball on him and I wanted to make sure I got him because I could see he had a little something there. I don’t know if it’ll be a big deal. I kind of doubt it. I just wasn’t wanting him to pull something if he felt tight there. So we pulled him out of there.
On if Dee Milliner’s tightness was a hamstring injury…
No, I think it’s in the lower part of his leg. I think he’ll be OK, though, calf area.
On if there is something about his defense that allows him to play players at safety that don’t look like your traditional safeties…
I think the number one thing is you take a good football player and you put him out there. The thing you mentioned, Jim Leonhard, Rod Woodson was a converted corner to safety. Shoot, we had Deion Sanders play there. When we ran out of everything, it was like, "Prime, do you mind playing free safety?" We had Adalius Thomas, who's just the opposite. The main thing is you get a guy who’s got instincts, smarts, has awareness, you can plug him in.
Certainly when I say that, [Kyle Wilson]'s a nickel, but he can also do some other things. Because he does have such a great grasp of our system. Now that’s not saying that, Jaiquawn Jarrett and Antonio Allenare doing a good job also. We’ll use everybody. In today’s game, even here’s an example. If this happened in a game, a guy’s tight, whatever it is, he comes out, you’re plugging guys in. You'd better have some depth at that position, and we certainly do.
On what you can learn about a quarterback when he is actually getting hit in a game vs. in practice…
I think you learn a lot. Now obviously in college they get hit, too, but they’re going to get hit in this league there’s no question about it, so we’ll see how they react. That’s something I’ve said that we really haven’t seen yet because they know they’re in a red jersey, you’re not hitting them. So those guys will be hit this week.
On what he has seen from Jeremy Kerley this training camp and what his expectation are for him this season…
Obviously he played really well for us last year, arguably might have had the best year of all those guys. The thing that I’ve been really impressed with is his punt returning, and not just that’s part of the game that, what’s that have to do with a receiver? Well, you'd better catch a ball back there. We had a couple drops last year, so that’s something that clearly he’s worked on and done a tremendous job for us so I’ve really been impressed with that, his commitment, he has not dropped anything, he hasn’t come close so that’s been impressive to me. Obviously his route running, all that type of stuff, and that’s a little football player right there now. I mean, whether he’s playing, running the option, whether he’s running an option route, all those types of thing this young man can do, so I think he’s had a great training camp.
On how much he views what he has seen in the past with Mark Sanchez in regard to the QB competition…
It’s interesting. Now first off I didn’t say they have to move away from the past. Oh do we have to do that? No. That was not a quote. Might have been a suggestion but was not a quote from me [joking]. But what that is, it’s interesting that you bring it up but I think, you’re in a different system, we’ll see how he is in this system, how things work out in this system. So I am in there with an open mind. Sure I know what’s happened in the past, but if you really are focused in the past, am I supposed to go back one season or how far am I supposed to go back. So to me I’d rather focus on the present and what’s in front of us to do the evaluating.
On if he can learn as much about Sanchez during the preseason as Smith…
Again, we’re definitely see. We’re running the same system. So I think it will be equal. It should be. We’ll see how it shakes out.
On being able to forget the past, but still remembering Sanchez’s past success…
Yeah, but I know all about the turnovers. I know about the goods and the bads. There’s been great moments, there’s been bad moments. We’ll start right now. Somebody has to take the first snap, and to me, it is going to be a fair competition, a fair and open competition. But we’re not going to put both quarterbacks out there, so we’re going to put one out there. And really, Mark has had a good camp. He’s had a good training camp, as has Geno. But being the incumbent, things like that, sure. I don’t think anyone would have been surprised that Mark would be the first quarterback in the first preseason game.
On if Smith will start a preseason game…
Again, we’ll let that play out. We’ll just take it one step at a time and we’ll let that play out. But he’ll certainly get opportunities with the one offense.
On Chris Ivory saying he will be able to practice full next week…
He knows more about it than I do. I haven’t talked to [head athletic trainer] John Mellody today. But that’s good.
On if Mike Goodson has been fined for not reporting…
Again, I’m not going to discuss Mike’s situation. We’re aware of it, but we’re not going to discuss his situation.
On if they have followed NFL policy with Goodson…
I’m following our policy that we’re not going to discuss it.
On Vidal Hazelton…
Not discussing him either, I’m just kidding. Unfortunately this young man, I’ll tell you what, he was really pushing to make this team, he really was, and it’s unfortunate he’s had a bad injury. To the extent of it, I’m not sure if we know one hundred percent what the extent of it is, but it’s a severe injury.
On who he does not expect to play due to injury…
I’ll tell you what we could do, if this would be alright. I would rather do this. I don’t want to give you an incomplete list and I don’t want to give you a, well I think he’s healthy enough to go. So throw a name out.
On if Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards will play…
I think they will, but I don’t know that to be a hundred percent accurate, but I believe both will.
On if Brian Winters will play…
Again, it might be as early as tonight that we will give you guys a list. Not that I'm trying to hold anything from anybody, or it's secretive — it's a preseason game. Even if it’s a regular season game, you know how I feel about that. I think we;; have a much better understanding of it. I wasn’t even on the offensive side today we kind of had a two field deal where they were kind of getting ready a little bit for Detroit showing their looks and things. Which we've never really done in the past, but we’re trying to do that. SO I really wasn’t even over on the offensive side. You guys would know more about it then I would.
On why Joe McKnight wasn’t at practice today…
Again, with Joe, he’s got a head injury and all that type of stuff so I don’t know if he’s getting tested or what but I know he wasn’t able to practice today. I knew that was going to happen, but where specifically he’s at, I’m not sure.
On if he has a concussion…
Guys I don’t want to say he has a concussion. That information has not been relayed to me. So it’s a head injury guys, it’s a head injury. It could be a headache, I don’t know.
On if the head coach should be more up-to-date on injuries…
I’m going to lean on our doctors and trainers for that information. If I knew it was a concussion, have I always said that it was a concussion in the past? If I don’t know, the man's out, I don’t know if that means he’s had migraines, he’s had what, I don’t know. But when Mellody tells me, “Hey, Joe is going to be cleared to practice,” then that’s fine. If he tells me he has a concussion, I'll tell you he has a concussion.
On if Mellody has given him any updates on McKnight’s symptoms…
No. He’s still out with a head injury.
On if that is all Mellody told him about McKnight…
Well, I think he might have said something else about him, but no, that’s about it. Guys, I’m not Bill Belichick, "He’s got a body part and something’s wrong with it." I’m not trying to say he doesn’t [have a concussion]. If I don’t know he’s got a concussion for sure, I don’t want to tell you he’s got a concussion and that’s not the case.
On if he is saying that Mellody has not given him an update on McKnight’s symptoms…
It’s not that I’ve asked specifically about a concussion thing. I’ve not asked that question. My thing is I know he’s being treated well because we have the best in the business. I know he’s being taken care of.
On if he would want to know if McKnight had an injury to be able to manage him…
Well, I’m going to know how to manage him as a player because I’m going to lean on the doctors and the trainers and when they say he’s cleared to practice, he will practice. If they said, a hypothetical, "He’s got a concussion, you’re not practicing him," I understand I’m not practicing. If they say, "He has a head injury and he’s not practicing," I’m not practicing him, OK? I may have slept in the dorms, but I’m not a doctor so I’m not going to tell you that he’s got a concussion [joking]. You know what, maybe I should check on that. Maybe I should check. I know he’s injured because certainly it seems like a deal. I’m not going to ever practice a player that is not cleared to practice ever. No matter if it’s a head injury or whatever.
On Troy Davis’ hit in practice and if it is hard to get players to follow contact rules…
We want them to. He’s an aggressive guy and things like that. I think he’s just a young man like a lot of guys are, trying to make an impact, make a name for himself and things like that. I can’t wait, I’m really excited to see him play on Friday because he is a very physical, aggressive player and that’s great to see.
The big message is just to make sure we’re taking care of each other, though. If it’s a live scrimmage situation, that’s great. If it’s not, we’ve got to practice like a pro. And not just picking on Troy, a young player, sometimes you say it and you say it but they need to understand that no, no, it’s unacceptable. If we say the drill’s going to be a certain way, then that’s the way the drill’s going to be. And there is something because in this league, you’re padded practicing about once a week so even though we had pads today, but he knew without pads there’s a certain tempo that you practice with. You have 16 regular season games and you don’t want to lose people on the practice field.
On where Greg McElroy fits into the quarterback situation…
He’s competing for the No. 3 job right now with [Matt] Simms. So he’s not competing for the starting job. But that’s where I see the main competition right now for Greg is competing for the third job.
Jets veteran Braylon Edwards (left) could pass down some lessons about playing in the NFL to Stephen Hill. (William Perlman/The Star-Ledger)
The Jets last played at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 23, when they lost to San Diego and gained just 225 yards. Consider that the Jets had three – yes, three – games with fewer yards than that last season. They gained 219 against Pittsburgh, 185 against Seattle and 145 against San Francisco. Not surprisingly, they lost all three of those games.Their second preseason game of 2013 – and first at home – kicks off Saturday night. The Jets are hoping to revitalize their offense with new coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast system.As the Jets wrapped up training camp Thursday in Cortland, N.Y., and moved their operation to team headquarters in Florham Park, here are some leftover items from interviews with the players and position coaches …
** Wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal has seen significant improvement from Stephen Hill, the Jets’ second-round pick in 2012 who caught just 21 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns after playing in a run-focused, option offense at Georgia Tech. And Hill feels better about himself, too.
“I feel like I’m better mentally,” said Hill, who is 6-4 and 215 pounds. “I always had the physical tools. I just needed to make sure I understand what’s going on out there on the field. That’s definitely been a plus for me this year.”
Hill said he is more in-tune this year with “what defenses are showing me.”
Or, as Lal put it: “He’s understanding why, rather than just what to do. Why are we doing it, and what is he trying to accomplish in the route? He’s done a great job with that, really getting a feel (of): I’m running this specific route to do this to the DB. I’m going to try to turn his hips because of this reason. I’m not just running from point A to point B.”
** Lal said free agent pickup Braylon Edwards is “getting into good football shape, so he’s on the right track.” Edwards, 30, has 359 career catches for 5,522 yards and 40 touchdowns. So he knows his way around an NFL field.
But he hasn’t done much the past two seasons. Edwards debuted in the league in 2005. From 2006-10, he never had fewer than 680 yards in a season. He peaked with a 1,289-yard output in 2007. Edwards declined to 15 catches and 181 yards in nine games in 2011, and 18 catches and 199 yards in three games in 2012. His days as a No. 1 receiver seem to be behind him, but can he provide support for the Jets’ passing game this year?
** With Santonio Holmes still out, it’ll be interesting to see how the Jets utilize Jeremy Kerley, their best healthy receiver. The third-year pro is not particularly big – 5-10 and 189 pounds – so he is more of a slot receiver. He had 56 catches for 827 yards and two touchdowns last season, and Lal said not all of that was from the slot.
“I think he’s best in the slot but he can play outside, as we showed all last year,” Lal said. “He had 800-something yards receiving, and a lot of it was from outside. Buffalo game, he ran a go route on the outside and made a nice catch. So he’s versatile enough to do both. Where is he best? That’s where we’ll play him.”
** Defensively, this week’s story on Sheldon Richardson covered a lot about the rookie defensive tackle.
But one thing that didn’t make the cut for the story was this comment from Richardson’s position coach, Karl Dunbar, about where Richardson needs to improve: “The thing that we’re trying to clean up is his eyes. Young guys get a tendency to look in the backfield. If you look in the backfield, they can trick you. You’ve got to understand reading your keys as far as attacking the offensive linemen first, and they’ll take you to the ball. That’s been probably the biggest thing we’ve been trying to clean up with him. A lot of young guys want to pop up and look in the backfield. If you do that, the play is over with.”
** Richardson was a versatile player at Missouri, sometimes standing up and dropping into coverage on a running back. With the Jets, he will be a more traditional 3-4 defensive tackle. But Richardson believes the versatility he showed in college will serve him well at this level, at some point.
“You just can’t be one type of player,” he said. “You want to last long in this league, you’ve got to be useful in some type of way. I’m just trying to make sure they know everything I can do to help the team win. I tell them what I can and can’t do. Or what I can do. I never tell them what I can’t do, because I don’t know what I can’t do yet.”
** As Richardson learns how to handle two gaps in the NFL – he was a one-gap player in college – he is getting some help from nose tackle Kenrick Ellis.
“I ask Ken how to two-gap because he’s a heavyset dude,” Richardson said. “I really can’t take on blocks like he does. He just tells me to use my hands and make sure I stay low and drive my feet because most d-linemen stop their feet when they’re driving, so I make sure I keep my feet turning and working up field.”
** Ellis started two games in each of the past two seasons. He played five total games as a rookie in 2011 and 12 last year. Ellis is currently dealing with a back injury that coach Rex Ryan doesn’t believe is serious.
When asked how he expects Ellis to hold up over a season as a starter, Dunbar said, “That remains to be seen. The last two years, he’s been hurt. He’s having a great camp. He’s moving around. He’s doing some good things. He’s doing some great things. That’s the thing with Kenrick. He’s a big guy who can move. A lot of times, big guys, when they get tired, that’s when they get hurt.
“I think the thing he’s done this year is his conditioning is better. He’s not worry about conditioning because he’s done a great job of that. You can tell. He came into camp in better condition. We’ve been running after practice just to make sure, because we’ve got a lot of sub packages, so he doesn’t get a lot of reps because he’s not on the field in sub. So we run after practice just to make sure he’s getting his conditioning.”
** One of the Jets’ best players is defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, who has started since his rookie year in 2011 and had five sacks and three forced fumbles last year. He is on his way to living up to his status as the No. 30 overall pick.
How good could Wilkerson be this year?
“I’m not Nostradamus,” Dunbar said. “I can’t predict the future. But if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s going to be great.”
** Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, the subject of another story this week, is learning from one of the NFL’s elite safeties – his position coach, Tim McDonald.
Jarrett detailed some of the pointers McDonald has offered: “Putting your eyes in the right place. If you put your eyes on your keys, they will take you to where you need to be. If you’ve got bad eyes, you’re not going to be able to play as fast as you want. If your eyes are in the right place and you get the perfect run/pass keys, you’re going to be able to fly around and make plays. You can’t make plays if you’ve got bad eyes.
“Sometimes if you’re in man coverage, you tend to look at the quarterback, but if that (receiver) is coming at you and you’re looking at the quarterback, you’re going to get beat. In coverage, if you’re in quarters (coverage), you’ve got to look at your man or look at the linemen, and if your eyes are in the backfield before you look at the key, you don’t know what’s going to happen. (McDonald) always makes sure he puts a lot of emphasis on putting your eyes in the right place, and that’s going to help you play so much faster.”
** McDonald noted that the Jets don’t split their safeties between free and strong. They just play two safeties who are both required to perform the duties of free and strong, depending on the situations. As McDonald has worked with Jarrett, he is focusing on trying to simplify what Jarrett sees on offense, by using a process of elimination, of sorts. This is the next step for Jarrett now that he has learned the Jets’ defensive system.
“I think that’s the biggest thing, understanding what the offense is trying to do to you,” McDonald said. “I think that, more than anything, he’s learning. He’s learned that this formation in this situation, eliminate the things that you know they can’t do and focus in on what you know they can do. In order to do it, you’ve got to understand the offense a little bit better. He’s learning the offensive sets and the offensive schemes, what they can and can’t do, and what it means when this guy goes that way, and that guy goes this way, what it means to him. I think that’s where I’ve kind of honed on with him now.”