With all eyes focused on the battle between Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemens, it was Shonne Greene who made a name for himself at Thursday’s intrasquad scrimmage at Jets camp.
The rookie running back showed power, speed, and flashes of play making ability in the team’s first simulated game.
The former Hawkeye came out the gates running, literally. In the first quarter, he compiled a number of impressive runs against the starting defense, including a play where he bounced off the pile and ran to the outside for an 11-yard gain.
Later on in the half, Greene caught a screen pass from rookie QB Chris Pizzotti, and eluded tacklers for a gain of 33 yards.
Greene’s strong debut could signal a good problem for head coach Rex Ryan; having too many talented running backs.
“We’ve got a pretty good stable of backs, that’s for sure,” said Ryan. “When he’s in there, we know what he can do. I would think he’s going to get his fair share of carries.”
Greene, who looked fully healed from an ankle injury he sustained earlier on in camp, is expected to challenge Thomas Jones and Leon Washington for carries.
“It was good to get the pads on,” said Greene. “When I got out there everybody was running around, everybody was flying around on defense and offense. I think we still have some work to do, but I think we’re doing good so far.”
Sanchez may have finally gained slight edge over Clemens in the quarterback competition, outplaying him throughout the scrimmage.
The rookie, Sanchez, completed 9 of 16 passes for 70 yards, without a lot of help from his receivers. Four of Sanchez’s passes were dropped by Jets’ receivers. Undrafted rookie receiver Britt Davis dropped two balls and tight end Jack Simmons had a pass go right through his hands. Despite his poor luck, the Southern California product left strong impression on Rex Ryan.
I’m not a quarterback expert, but when a guy’s open, he was putting the ball on the mark,” said Ryan. “(They all) would have been first downs. He was impressive to me.”
Sanchez completed several passes to WR Wallace Wright, a fourth year receiver out of North Carolina. Wright also expressed high praise for the rookie QB.
“He throws a great ball. I can’t express it enough,” said Wright. “he ball is always right there when I turn around. He has good feet, he is mobile. He can get out of the pocket. He is just a good player. Once he learns the offense he is going to be dangerous.”
Clemens’s performance was underwhelming to say the least as he completed 5 of 7 passes for a total of 26 yards. He was unable to lead the offense to a first down in his first three series. In the second quarter, on a 3rd and 21, Clemens badly underthrew WR Chansi Stuckey who had beat CB Drew Coleman and would’ve easily had the first down.
“The thing we need to get corrected is first and second down efficiency,” said Clemens. “We were left with the third-and-longs throughout the evening. And, there were some self-inflicted wounds.”
Despite Sanchez’s strong performance, WR Jerricho Cotchery wasn’t ready to take sides just yet.
“They’ve both been doing a great job of leading the offense,” said Cotchery. “I think the competition is bringing out the best in them. They’ve been improving everyday. So from that standpoint I think they’re going to benefit from this competition and the offense and the team is going to benefit.”
DT Kris Jenkins (calf), S Keith Fitzhugh (rotator cuff), and FB Tony Richardson (hip) all sat out the scrimmage.
CAMP CORTLAND TIDBITS
-The team has tomorrow off and resumes two-a-days on Saturday at 8:20AM in Cortland.
-Coach Ryan mentioned that several team members are going to take a roadtrip tomorrow to Cooperstown, NY (aprox. a 2 hour journey) to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame.
-Jets owner Woody Johnson was in attendance and told reporters that the team is trying to get a deal with disgruntled RB Leon Washington done.
“We love Leon,” said Johnson. “He’s one of our best players and we are trying to get something done. Until it happens, it hasn’t happened”
OVER 150 EXCLUSIVE CORTLAND SCRIMMAGE PHOTOS! For the largest gallery of exclusive Jets Green vs. White Scrimmage photos on the internet: CLICK HERE