THE WALKING WOUNDED
The same five Jets that missed practice Tuesday remained sidelined on Wednesday. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (hamstring), defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson (hamstring), running back Stevan Ridley (knee), offensive lineman Charles Brown (to be determined) and receiver DeVier Posey (hamstring) all were stationed in the trainer’s area throughout the practice’s duration.
After practice, Bowles mentioned that the team was acting on the side of caution with all of the above.
RANDOM FACTS AND TIDBITS
Minor, completely irrelevant note: Receiver Brandon Marshall is sporting a nice, amber-shaded sports visor. It looks quite sharp, but I doubt it makes its way to the regular season.
Something real interesting took place during Jets practice today. Coach Todd Bowles elected to run a full-contact, bring-the-ball-carrier-to-the-ground drill. We’ll have a separate post breaking all of that down later today.
The Jets switched things up a bit on Wednesday as the team transitioned out of the punt team, and into kickoff and kick return. Specifically, New York worked their starting kick return unit on two separate occasions.
It looks like the Jets are going to use a combination of receivers as kick returners, and running backs as up-men.Walter Powell, T.J. Graham, Chris Owusu and Salim Hakim all got reps as returners with Bilal Powell, Daryl Richardson and Zac Stacy blocking in front of them.
Graham specifically stood out, simply for his speed. When he hits his second gear, it’s quite impressive. Actually, during the drill, an entire section of the bleachers started chanting Graham’s name.
Hakim also moved up the field well.
Nothing of note truly stood out when it came individuals—After back-to-back practices of 1-on-1’s, the Jets chose to just work both the offense and defense separately. So, we’ll move into some team-period highlights.
Willie Colon again got the first of the first-team reps at right guard for the Jets, followed by Brian Winters. It didn’t look like Brent Qvale or Oday Aboushi got any first-team reps. Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Chris Owusu again comprised the team’s base receivers in three-wide sets. Jace Amaro got a few reps with the starters, too. It really appears this Jets coaching staff loves the idea of Decker in the slot.
On defense, little surprise here as Lorenzo Mauldin got in a few times with the first team at outside linebacker. Bowles said after practice it’ll be awhile before Mauldin surpasses Calvin Pace for the No. 1 job, but the increased action in practice shows the coaches are curious what the rookie can do.
Now, on to the highlights…
Geno Smith again had a solid outing and didn’t waste much time before drawing cheers from the fans. Just a few reps hit, Smith hitEric Decker for a touchdown from about 20 yards out. He split a (I believe) zone coverage between Darrelle Revis and Calvin Pryor. The play was just the start of another solid practice for the third-year pro.
Smith made another nice pass to Decker near the far sideline. Locked down by Buster Skrine in 1-on-1 coverage, Smith noticed that Skrine had his head turned and wasn’t facing the play. As a result, Smith threw the pass at Skrine’s back, and Decker slowed up and jumped back to the ball to make the play. In the red zone, the Jets defense came with an all-out blitz on Smith, who responded with a quick dart to Chris Owusu on the slant. A couple plays later, Smith hit Brandon Marshall for a touchdown on a slant from a few yards out.
While Smith impressed, Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled a bit. He missed a few throws, bobbled a handoff and threw a pick-six to Jamari Lattimore. Fitzpatrick wanted something in the flat, felt a little pressure and just rushed the throw. Lattimore then took it to the house.
Jordan Williams had a would-be sack on Fitzpatrick.
Watched a ton of Lorenzo Mauldin today, who seemed to be at home when the Jets worked in the red zone. On back-to-back plays, Mauldin made a would-be TFL, then followed with a pressure on Smith that forced an errant throw. Overall, Mauldin didn’t stand out as incredible, but solid. He made a few nice plays, a few ‘eh’ plays.
Leonard Williams flashed a ton today. He made a few plays against the run, applied a few pressures and at one point nearly dropped James Brewer in Fitzpatrick’s lap. Williams simply went with a bull rush and overpowered Brewer. It was impressive.
Jaiquawn Jarrett had a nice practice as he continues to hit just about anything that moves. The safety caused quite a few reactions with some of the hits he put on his fellow teammates. The one play that stood out was when he came flying in to lay quite a hit on tight end Wes Saxton, then rip the ball out for a forced fumble.
GOAL LINE, FULL-CONTACT DRILL
The Jets ended practice with a full-contact goal line drill in which the team lined up the offense versus the defense on the two yard line. The offense looked quite impressive.
At one point, the Jets offense scored on four consecutive plays (Chris Ivory, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Bilal Powell) before the defense finally got a stop on an incomplete pass from Fitzpatrick. The defense then stuffed Zac Stacy, allowed a rushing touchdown, and then Jake Heaps botched a handoff to Daryl Richardson. Practice was called after the drill
The Jets will return to practice on Thursday for a 2:20 p.m. session.