New York Jets fans got a bit of good news recently as Dee Milliner, the Alabama cornerback who was taken with the Jets first round selection, affirmed to the media that he was ready to face his first regular season challenge against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The rookie corner will look to outshine Darrelle Revis who departed for the greater Tampa area earlier this offseason.
"I'm very excited, to be back out there on the field," said a cheerful Milliner. "First NFL, regular season game, so it will feel great to be out there. It's going to be at home. The fans (will) come out there (and) hopefully we have a good game."
Milliner appears ready to play after offseason shoulder surgery sidelined him for all of spring workouts and a majority of the preseason. Still, despite not being able to showcase his talents to the coaching staff, Rex Ryan named Milliner as the Week One starter opposite Antonio Cromartie. The two will have to work together to stop a passing attack led by Josh Freeman and newest standout Doug Martin. If the inside backers can hold Martin to just a few short gains, then Freeman will have to go to the air. While he is known to rack up yardage counts on defenses, Freeman often struggles with precision and can be taken back to his end zone on his mistakes.
Cromartie will be counted on to guard the savvy route runner in Vincent Jackson, leaving Milliner to face off against Mike Williams. Expect Freeman to pick on Milliner all game; hoping that he can exploit the rust due to surgery to his advantage.
"(They're) a good team, they do some good things with their offense," stated Milliner. "So, we just have to be accountable and be ready for every play they show."
"I feel great," the Crimson Tide alum added. "I'm back out on the field. I'm back doing everything 100 percent, so I feel good."
The Jets will be down one, possibly two starters on defense. Outside linebacker Quinton Coples (fractured ankle) has already been told that he won't play. Sources say he could miss the first month. Furthermore, nose tackle Kendrick Ellis (back) who was sidelined for three preseason games was a non-participant in practice earlier today and is rumored to be questionable to play against Tampa.