FLORHAM PARK: The New York Jets held a media-only practice session on Friday as the team gets set for Saturday’s Green and White practice. So, what exactly went down?
The Walking Wounded:
It seems as two weeks of physical workouts has taken a toll on the Jets as the team’s injury list grew quite a bit today.
Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson continues to sit out as he deals with a nagging hamstring injury. Joining him on the side were PUP list occupants running back Stevan Ridley (knee) and defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson (hamstring). Receiver Shaq Evans also sat out with bruised ribs.
Cornerback Dee Milliner was missing afterhe had wrist surgery Friday morning, and receiverDevin Smith remains sidelinedwith broken ribs. Offensive tackleCharles Brown also remains sidelined. Safety Antonio Allen was not in attendance after being waived following his achillies injury.
During practice, several more Jets made their way over to the sideline, or to the locker room. Cornerbacks Keith Lewis and Charles Brown each left practice and did not return. Receiver Chris Owusu was hit hard late in practice and was taken back to the locker room with concussion-like symptoms, according to Todd Bowles.
The Jets worked quite a bit of punt coverage drills today, so there were only a couple of returners back there catching punts. They were receivers Eric Decker, Walter Powell and Jeremy Kerley. None muffed any, but their job was literally just to catch them.
The receivers and defensive backs again went 1-on-1. It looked like Brandon Marshall finally got the upper hand on Darrelle Revis. From my count, Marshall pulled in a pair of touchdowns against Revis. One came on a fade, the second on an in-out route. Credit quarterback Geno Smith with pinpoint passes on each. Revis didn’t really have a chance.
Eric Decker got in on the scoring as well making cornerback Antonio Cromartie look silly with a double move. He torched him on the first or second rep of the drill to reach the end zone deep down the left sideline.
T.J. Graham flashed his speed on a straight streak to beat Marcus Williams.
After watching a bit of the receivers and defensive backs go one-on-one, I turned my attention to the field just behind us which featured the offensive and defensive line’s version of the same drill.
The Jets line had some fun with the ‘cowbell drill.’ Essentially, the entire offensive line and defensive line line up facing each other. Then, one or two of the defensive linemen rush one or two of the offensive linemen. Standing behind the offensive linemen is a punching bag hanging out of a cowbell and being held about eight feet up in the air by a mini crane. The goal for the defensive linemen is to work around the offensive linemen, then slap the punching bag causing the bell to ring.
Rookie linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin simply stole the show during the drill as he made a mockery of anyone that attempted to line up in front of him. He worked in the spin, swim, strafe… everything. It got to the point where his teammates were throwing flags saying what he was doing “wasn’t fair.”
Offensive lineman Dakota Dozier had a solid showing with back-to-back stuffs of Deion Simon and Ronald Talley. He played center on the snaps, and simply wasn’t moved an inch. Defensive lineman Leonard Williams beat Brian Winters early in the drill. I.K. Enemkpali beat Ben Ijalana.
Linebacker Quinton Coples flashed a bit by beating D’Brickashaw Ferguson around the outside.
During the two-on-two portion of the drill, it was really fun to watch center Nick Mangold and guard Willie Colon work next to each other. The two perfectly executed two separate “switches” where they pass stunting defensive players off to each other. It honestly looked as if one passed the butter to the other at dinner. No hesitation at all. It really was something.
Jets coach Todd Bowles gave several players the day off, which opened the door for younger players to get some first-team reps, namely, Lorenzo Mauldin. Mauldin received every single rep with the first-team defense.
Willie Colon continues to receive the bulk of the work at right guard. Jace Amaro switched in-and-out at tight end, but also saw a solid amount of snaps at H-Back. With Antonio Allen out for the season, Rontez Miles was promoted to second-team safety. Taking Miles place at safety with the third team was cornerback Darrin Walls.
During the final portion of full-team drills, the Jets gave receiver Brandon Marshall a break. In his place, and with Owusu out with the injury, Quincy Enunwa and Saalim Hakim got reps with Eric Decker in three-wide sets.
Ok, on to the highlights…
Practice started off quite well for Geno Smith, who had another stellar day, and receiver Chris Owusu. The two connected early on back-to-back plays in team drills--both against Antonio Cromartie--for gains of five and 20 yards.
Final notes on Geno, he connected with Saalim Hakim on a long touchdown down the left sideline. The ball was placed perfectly to hit Hakim in stride. He beat Cromartie. It was probably the nicest throw Smith has made all camp.
Later during a red zone drill, Geno again showed the steps he’s taken in read progression. Upon taking the snap, Smith looked instantly for receiver Walter Powell on an out. The route was covered, so Smith decided to roll out of the pocket to the right. While moving, Smith kept his eyes down the field and eventually found receiver Jeremy Kerley. Smith fired the pass to Kerley in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
Rontez Miles had a good day that was highlighted by a would-be sack of Ryan Fitzpatrick on a safety blitz. He also lit up Austin Hill after the receiver made a catch on an out-route.
Linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin and offensive tackle Breno Giacomini got into it a little bit as Mauldin seemed to be getting under a lot of offensive player’s skin. Mauldin brought Giacomini to the ground on a bull rush, then the two got up pushing and shoving each other. It didn’t evolve much past that.
Mauldin finished with two would-be sacks in team drills, both with him coming flying in from the outside. One would have been on Bryce Petty, the other on Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Speaking of Petty, he connected on a long touchdown down the seam to receiver Arthur Williams.
Tomorrow the Jets will take part in their Green and White practice, which will be held at MetLife Stadium. The practice is open to the public. For tickets, visit nyjets.com.