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Thread: 8 stories ~ ~ ~

  1. #1
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    Cool 8 stories ~ ~ ~

    Two Weeks Into Camp, Storylines are Emerging on Both Sides of the Ball

    1. Excellent Depth at DL, RB & S: When you watch the Jets practice, three positional groups consistently stand out. Loaded with talent at both running back and safety, this defensive line might be the best group — top to bottom — in the NFL. It goes beyond Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Damon "Snacks" Harrison, hybrid Quinton Coples and super sub Kenrick Ellis. Leger Douzable and newcomer Jason Babin (who figures to be used primarily as a rusher in sub) were all over the field Saturday. Rookie Kerry Hyder has impressed and T.J. Barnes is a big fella who has made plays. You could name every one of the guys.On Saturday night, the Jets 1st unit offensive line played decent ball and Chris Johnson (5-14) and Chris Ivory (3-2) were held to 16 yards on seven attempts. You take away two Mike Vick scrambles for 35 yards and the Jets rushed 27 times for 49 yards. That's 1.8 yards a pop. I don't see anybody running on this front and Babin's addition should help with the edge pressure."Up front, we're deep," head coach Rex Ryan told me Saturday night. "You know what? That's how you win games and obviously right now we're kind of built from the front to the back."


    2. Geno in Charge: Oozing with confidence, Geno Smith told me he put on 10 pounds of muscle and he looks to be more of a factor in the run game.“A lot of that has to do with just my confidence in my reads and knowing when to pull it down and run to get us some extra yards,” Smith said. “I realized the longer we can keep our defense on the sideline and give ‘em time to rest — the better they’ll play.”

    “He’s as sharp as a tack and he’s been really spinning the ball well with accuracy, so I’ve been really impressed with him,” added Rex Ryan.


    3. Decker is Seven-11: The Jets new No. 1 WR has not disappointed. In fact, the only thing that slowed Decks down here early in camp was a tight hamstring last Friday.“It seems like the ball goes to Eric Decker a lot,” Ryan said. “He’s a good teammate, he blocks and obviously we brought him here to catch the football and he’s done that a bunch.”


    4. Landry Looks Spry: Always a sound positional player, veteran S Dawan Landry has been more of a playmaker this summer. The 6’1”, 212-pounder, entering his ninth NFL season, has had a knack for finding the ball in the back end in addition to his sturdy play inside the box.Despite Pryor’s concussion, the Jets have gotten strong player from their group as Antonio Allen and Landry have played alongside with the first unit. The Jets repeatedly told you not to forget about Landry and they were right.


    5. Folk is Fantastic: For a guy who complains that it isn’t quite hot enough in Cortland, NY, Nick Folk just keeps on knocking the stuffing out of the ball. If he is 60 yards or in right now, it's close to automatic. Folk did miss a 53-yarder Saturday, but he came right back in a drill and was good from 51.


    6. High Hopes for Coples: Not only did hybrid defender Quinton Coples shed 18 pounds to get down to 272, but Q is much more comfortable with his role.“It’s not just the physical part for Quinton that has impressed us — it’s his knowledge of the defense. He has a better understanding and grasp of what we expect of him,” said defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman. “If he can continue on the road he’s on as far as the mental is concerned — the sky’s the limit because the guy is physically as gifted as any of the guys we have up front.”


    7. Young Pups at Guard: The Jets are excited about their youth on the interior. Willie Colon has returned to his familiar spot at RG and there is an interesting battle at LG developing between Brian Winters and Oday Aboushi.“I think Oday’s been awesome,” Colon said. “The way he’s played has kind of opened up a lot of peoples’ eyes. Nobody though that he that kind of oomph in him… I always knew Brian had it in him. It was about him having confidence in himself and really growing into himself.”


    8. Johnson Still Can Fly: The Jets are going to get creative with Chris Johnson, moving him around the field to create mismatches. Opposition linebackers won’t be happy to see No. 21 split out wide.“Is he as fast as he once was? I don’t know, but he looks pretty darn fast though,” Ryan said.

    > http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/arti...8-8fca8b67425f

  2. #2
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    Warning to the NFL: Watch out for the New York Jets.

    Who says?

    The Jets, of course.

    Despite three straight years out of the playoffs, the Jets are back to the "swaggerlicious" ways that made them a team to watch (and listen to) in 2009 and 2010. Rex Ryan is fired up, and that means everybody around him is fired up, too. They've been yapping it up in training camp, claiming they have the best defense, the best cornerback (Dee Milliner's self-proclamation) and a future top-five quarterback (Geno Smith's opinion).

    What are we to make of their outward self-confidence?

    Frankly, it's not very becoming -- we're old school here -- but there's no disputing the Jets are a better team than a year ago. They added a couple of proven players on offense, Chris Johnson and Eric Decker, and their depth is better at almost every position. Smith looks more comfortable than last year and the defensive line has a chance to be scary. There's a lot to like about the Jets, who came together for Ryan at the end of last season -- and saved his job.

    • Training camp page
    There's more roster and coaching-staff continuity than a year ago, prompting Ryan to say the team is "a zillion miles" ahead of last year at this time. There's a positive vibe around the team, replacing the uncertainty that filled the minds of many last year. Ryan's job status, a major theme throughout 2013, is a backburner issue. The focus is on the field, as the Jets attempt to return to the postseason.

    "We've been gone too long," linebacker Calvin Pace said.

    THREE REASONS FOR OPTIMISM

    1. The defense can control the line of scrimmage against anybody. Led by Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013, the Jets have one of the best young lines in the league. They finished third against the run last season, and it would be a disappointment if they slip from that perch. The front seven can go from good to outstanding if a pair of third-year linebackers, Quinton Coples and Demario Davis, improve their consistency. Davis has been one of the best players in camp, showing better instincts than in the past. Coples is an enigma: Gifted, but his motor runs hot and cold. The Jets' middle-of-the-road pass rush needs a double-digit sack season from Coples.

    The Jets plan to get running back Chris Johnson, acquired in the offseason, out in space.
    2. The offense doesn't have to play in a phone booth anymore. With Johnson in the backfield and Decker on the perimeter, it has the ability to attack all areas of the field. The key is Johnson. If his surgically repaired knee holds up, he'll give them something they've never had under Ryan -- a legitimate home-run threat at running back. The Jets plan to use him in space, occasionally flexing him out as a receiver. That could put tremendous stress on the defense, assuming Johnson -- dumped by the Tennessee Titans -- still has enough in the tank. Decker isn't a game changer, but he'll be a reliable and versatile target for Smith, especially in the red zone.

    3. The quarterback situation is solid. Barring an injury, Smith probably will be the opening-day starter -- even though the team continues the charade of a Smith-Michael Vick competition. Smith will be better than last year, when he was a turnover-prone rookie, but there are still questions about his decision-making and ability to read defenses. If he stumbles, Ryan will turn to Vick, 34, who knows Marty Mornhinweg's offense and already has the respect of his new teammates. Unlike last year, when there was no proven backup, the starting job won't be a season-long appointment for Smith. Vick, a smart offseason pick up, is lurking.

    THREE REASONS FOR PESSIMISM

    1. The Jets, once known for great cornerback play, will have trouble covering people. And that's not a good thing, considering some of the premier wide receivers on their first-half schedule -- Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson and Demaryius Thomas. For the first time since 2006, they don't have Darrelle Revis and/or Antonio Cromartie at corner. It's a rebuilt group headed by Milliner, who has talent but still has a lot to prove. After him, it's all stop gaps and unproven players. If they don't get help from the pass rush, the Jets will regret not signing one of the big-name corners in free agency.

    2. They're still waiting for a No. 2 option in the passing game to emerge. Will it be rookie tight end Jace Amaro? Slot receiver Jeremy Kerley? Will Stephen Hill finally reach his potential? If no one steps up, the offense will be too Decker-reliant, and that will result in defenses rolling their coverage to Decker. That didn't happen to him in Denver, where he was the third or fourth option in Peyton Manning's prolific passing attack. The Jets say they can scheme up ways to keep Decker in single coverage, but the best way would be to have a legit weapon on the other side.

    3. The oversized draft class (12 picks) is off to a slow start. Injuries can be blamed for part of that. Safety Calvin Pryor, projected as a Week 1 starter, has missed a week due to a concussion. Cornerback Dexter McDougle and wide receiver Shaq Evans also have been slowed by injuries, although neither one was lighting it up before getting hurt. Amaro, too, is struggling, trying to master a complex position in Mornhinweg's system. No one expected them to duplicate the 2013 draft, which produced five starters, but the early returns haven't been too encouraging.

    OBSERVATION DECK

    How will Geno Smith (left) and Michael Vick handle questions about the Jets' quarterback position?
    Smith and Vick have a good rapport. That's important because it will allow them to weather the inevitable storm. What storm? Come on, we're talking about the Jets' quarterback position. There's always turbulence on the horizon. The beat writers chart every pass and every rep in practice; that's what you call scrutiny.

    Johnson, he of six straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, is the most accomplished player on offense, but that doesn't mean he'll be the every-down work horse. No, those days are over. He'll share time with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell, which should keep Johnson fresh for the long haul.

    There's a three-way guard competition between Willie Colon, Brian Winters and Oday Aboushi. Look for Colon and Winters to nail down the starting jobs, but Aboushi has impressed with his ability to block in space and get to the second level. That intrigues the coaches.

    The coaches have placed a big emphasis on takeaways. Since Ryan took over in 2009, the Jets rank only 15th in that category. They're hoping that Pryor, their first-round pick, can help remedy the problem, but he's not a big interception guy. In college, he made his bones as a "box" safety.

    In an attempt to revitalize their once-formidable special teams, the Jets may employ starters more than usual on various units. The focus is on the punt-returning unit, which disappeared last season.

    The most improved players are Aboushi, Demario Davis, safety Jaiquawn Jarrett and tight end Zach Sudfeld. Geno Smith needs to be on that list.

    > http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/jet...fidential-jets

  3. #3
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    Fullbacks are being used less by teams in what has become a pass-happy league, but Tommy Bohanon isn’t focused on that. As far as he concerned, he still has a job to do.

    “I think my favorite part is helping the running back get his yards and open up holes and be able to do a little bit of everything on offense,” Bohanon said after the Jets' training camp practice today. “Run the ball, catch the ball as well as be the lead blocker and do everything I need to do to help our backs succeed.”

    This year, his second in the league, he’ll be charged with blocking for RBs Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson and Bilal Powell, each with his own running style. Their differences, however, aren’t a big deal for Bohanon, who takes the same approach with all of the backs.

    “That’s something we talk about a lot, being able to block for the different types of backs we have,” he said. “I think that it’s just our understanding of whoever is back there that I’ll tell them how I’m going to come about it and just let them work off of me.”

    And they should work off him. Bohanon has quietly been one of the biggest hitters in sealing off incoming defenders for the offense at SUNY Cortland. He’s also adept on special teams, serving as a blocker on kick returns. His smashmouth, powerful style is something he loves about his position.

    “It’s definitely something I pride myself on. I work in the weightroom all the time,” Bohanon said. “I’m trying to work on my strength and being able to get down, get low and come out of my stance and things like that.”

    Although great at opening up holes for his backs, where he’s able to knock linebackers out of their lanes with hard, punishing blocks, he has the ability to become a weapon in the offensive game.

    Bohanon joined the Jets last year after being selected in the seventh round of the draft. While at Wake Forest, he provided reliable hands out of the backfield with 51 career receptions, seven of which went for touchdowns.

    During his rookie campaign, Bohanon recorded eight first downs on his 28 touches. He appeared in all 16 games en route to earning the Bill Hampton Award that goes to the rookie who conducts himself like a professional in the locker room.

    There will be improvement in his play this year, he said, because of his knowledge of the responsibilities of everyone on the offense, instead of just his own.

    “I think the biggest difference is the overall understanding of the playbook, knowing the ins and outs of everything about the playbook instead of just learning about my position,” he said. “So now I know what everybody’s doing and that kind of helps me know where I need to be exactly at every point in the play.”

    When he’s not working out or practicing, Bohanon said he’s doing one of two things because of the physical nature of his position.

    “I do a lot of recovery, honestly. I’m usually in the training room or in the ice tubs,” he said. “I like to watch movies a lot. I go in my room and just put on a movie and kind of just relax and get away from football for a few hours.”

    Bohanon will definitely want to get some rest before the Green & White practice Saturday at 7 p.m., one of the first opportunities for full-contact team drills.

    “It’s definitely something that we look forward to,” he said. “It’s finally being able to go out and go live and play real football for the first time. That’s something that we definitely look forward to putting on for the fans every year. It’s a great practice.”

    > http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/arti...6-07f361af7712

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    What Have We Learned ?

    After Two Weeks of Camp and Green & White, What Exactly do We Know About the Jets ?

    When people ask me to describe training camp, I always tell them that these are the longest days of your life and that camp literally flies by. So here we are already after the Green & White practice. What do we know about the Jets as we approach that first preseason game Thursday night vs. the Colts?

    Swag is Back: The Jets are feeling their oats. Belief is permeating throughout the organization and you have witnessed that every day.

    “We have a lot of swag, so we’re going to continue to talk and back it up at the same time,” said Quinton Coples. “So at the end of the day, that’s just what we do. That’s part of being in the Jets organization and on the Jets defense.”

    Playoff Draught: Veteran OLB Calvin Pace doesn’t mind the chatter. The 33-year-old, who appeared in six postseason games during Rex Ryan’s first two seasons, says the club has the goods to play January football.

    “It’s time for us to get back to the playoffs. Speak it to existence,” OLB Calvin Pace told me. “Why not? Sometimes people get tired of hearing us talk, but we believe and that’s what you have to do to be able to play in the postseason.”

    Slow Start for the Rookie Class: The transition to the NFL can be a difficult one and it has been for a number of recent draftees. Safety Calvin Pryor suffered a concussion on the first day of pads, TE Jace Amaro has had some drops and hasn’t always been on the same page as the quarterbacks and CB Dexter McDougle experienced ups & downs before a groin strain. Wideout Shaq Evans, who is bothered by a shoulder injury, is playing catch-up and QB Tajh Boyd has been plagued by turnovers. But take a deep breath — it’s early. WR-KR Jalen Saunders, LB IK Enemkpali and OL Dakota Dozier have flashed.

    Question Marks: The Jets do indeed have great depth, but questions reside on the outside at WR and CB. Decker, Jeremy Kerley and David Nelson all are consistent performers. Greg Salas has had a number of outstanding moments inlcuding Saturday night and Stephen Hill shows big-time talent on occasion like he did Friday. Jacoby Ford and Saaiim Hakim both have return ability and can scoot, Saunders hasn’t dropped off with the pads, Evans is struggling as one would expect and Clyde Gates has natural gifts. This is shaping up to be a fight to the end.

    On the opposite side of the ball, veteran Dimitri Patterson has brought an edge to the corner spot. Nickel corner Kyle Wilson has quietly had a strong camp, but Dee Miilliner has a lot of pressure on him. He needs more consistency and it will be interesting to watch Milliner practice the next couple of weeks.

    “He’s performing at a certain level. I expect him to work to continue to improve,” said defensvie coordinator Dennis Thurman. “Sometimes you want to be amongst the greats. I think he understands that —I think he knows that. Just be the best you can be each and every day and if you do that it will probably be good enough.”

    > http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/arti...b-a811c48bd6fe

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    Wilkerson's secret goal: It's a big one

    -- Muhammad Wilkerson doesn't smile a lot. When it comes to his job, he's one serious dude.

    On Monday, he smiled. Laughed, even.

    The Jets' Muhammad Wilkerson is looking to build off of his 10 1/2-sack season in 2013.
    It came in response to a question about his sack goal for the upcoming season. The New York Jets defensive end recorded a team-high 10 1/2 sacks last season, and he's aiming higher in 2014. But he won't say how high.

    "I've got a personal goal, but I'm not telling you. I don't tell it out to people," he said, chuckling. (I'm not sure a 315-pound man can chuckle, but you get the idea.) "I've got a number in my head and I'm going to do my best to get it and get past it."

    Just a hunch, but it looked like a 15-sack smile.

    That, of course, would be a monster season, but Wilkerson has that kind of potential. He was up to 10 sacks after the first 11 games last season, but a hand injury, coupled with increased double-teaming from opponents, caused his production to fall off in the homestretch. And maybe, just maybe, fatigue was a factor, too. He still deserved to make his first Pro Bowl, but he was overlooked -- a snub that defied explanation.

    That stung.

    "Yeah, it did, but I'm not even worried about the Pro Bowl," Wilkerson said. "Right now, it's all about getting back to Jets football and trying to get to the big game. I don't even care about the Pro Bowl anymore. If I make it, I make it."

    Wilkerson felt he deserved the honor two seasons ago, and he used that snub as motivational fuel for 2013. He said that doesn't drive him anymore, but, of course, every premier athlete covets recognition. When you're among the best, you want people to acknowledge it. Wilkerson is humble, but he also has a tremendous amount of self-confidence.

    "I consider myself an elite player," he said.

    Wilkerson is a "red dot" player, according to defensive line coach Karl Dunbar.

    "When opponents watch our tape, they put a red dot on him and say, 'We've got to stop that guy,'" Dunbar said.

    Dunbar said opponents changed their protection schemes late in the season, shifting them to neutralize Wilkerson. That, he believes, contributed to the decline in sacks. People also tend to forget that Wilkerson, though listed as an end, spends more time as an interior lineman than on the edge. About 70 percent of his pass-rushing chances came over a guard, not a tackle, according to Dunbar's estimate. That makes it hard to get to the quarterback.

    Nevetheless, there's a part of Wilkerson that feels unsatisfied by his '13 performance.

    "I feel like I got off to a good start, but I had some games where I could've done more," he said. "I want to play at a high level and get better every game. I don't want to have a game where I'm falling off. They may game-plan against me, but somehow, some way, I still need to have an effect on the game."

    But by drawing double-teams, Wilkerson helps those around him. He helped Calvin Pace to a career-high 10 sacks. He helped Sheldon Richardson win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He helped the Jets finish with a No. 3 ranking in run defense.

    "He's a Pro Bowler in my mind," Dunbar said. "I think he knows what he is now. Now, he has to keep doing it, be consistent, and let people know."

    If Wilkerson hits his sack goal, people will know. And, just maybe, he'll smile then, too.

    > http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/jet...-its-a-big-one

  6. #6
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    Jets' 4th-Year Safety Having a Strong Camp but Is Ready to Hit Some Colts on Thursday

    Despite the protective shield that the defensive front seven is sure to provide for the secondary come gametime, there is no such protection guaranteed when it comes to job security for the stacked group of young safeties competing for a spot on the 53-man roster this year.

    But as the position battle in training camp continues to heat up, so does veteran standout Jaiquawn Jarrett.

    Jarrett showcased his quickness and agility as the first defender to pick off long-time pro and former Eagles teammate Michael Vick at this camp. Jarrett’s performance has helped to earn him some recognition among a strong group of safeties in contention for roster spots.“Jaiquawn has been outstanding at this camp and might be playing as well as anybody,” head coach Rex Ryan said recently, adding of his safeties: “It’s an outstanding group.”

    The first depth chart of the season released by the Jets today lists Jarrett and first-round draft pick Calvin Pryor as the second-teamers at the safety spots, with Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen listed as the first-teamers. With the competitive nature of the position at this point of the preseason, the safeties find themselves all seeking out “The Mentor” for guidance.“We all look up to Dawan Landry,” said Jarrett. “We call him 'Mentor' or 'OG'. He’s been around, going on year nine. He has so much knowledge of the game as a pro so we just all tend to look up to him as a mentor, as an OG. We try to gain as much knowledge from him as possible."

    The secondary's dynamic is "real interesting,” he said. "All the DBs are real cool. We like to joke a lot. We have a lot of fun in the DB room, both on the field and off the field.”Aside from the short time he spent in Philadelphia with Vick, the third-year NFL veteran shares a connection with a few other former teammates from Temple, Muhammad Wilkerson and Michael Campbell.“It’s a brotherhood. We continue to stay close," he said. "Me and Mike are actually roommates in camp. And you know, playing with Mo has been great. He’s family. I’m always with Mo when we’re off the field. It’s always fun to go out here and watch them perform.”

    Jarrett started two of the 16 games he played in last season, registering 598 plays on defense and special teams combined. He also got in on the action at the Green & White practice on Saturday, the closest the team has come to playing in an actual game. In 12 possessions of play, he helped the defense held the offense to two field goals and 149 receiving yards.

    As a natural competitor, Jarrett believes he and the defense have room for improvement.

    “I did OK,” he said of his performance at the Green & White. “I got in on a few tackles, but as a whole, the secondary, we did a pretty good job of communicating. We were flying around, having fun and celebrating with each other when we made plays as a unit. So I think overall we did good, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

    Jarrett is looking ahead to the hard hitting ahead at the Jets' first preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium on Thursday.“In a few days we will be able to go out there and hit the opponent," he said. "You can’t always be banging against your own offense, but you always look forward to being able to hit another opponent.”

    > http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/arti...3-cd1ef20f2cbe

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