EAST RUTHERFORD: More than 10,000 fans showed up to MetLife Stadium to watch the New York Jets ‘Green and White’ practice. Unlike previous years under Rex Ryan, new coach Todd Bowles elected not to have a ‘scrimmage,’ per say, but rather an intensified practice.
The Jets ran through special teams, individuals, 7-on-7 and then 11-on-11. The full-team drill included a rotation between first, second and third team with drives being tracked. For example, a gain of three would set up second-and-seven, not revert back to the original line of scrimmage.
On to the report…
THE WALKING WOUNDED
The Jets rested a ton of players on Saturday: Defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson (hamstring) andKevin Vickerson (hamstring, PUP), receivers Chris Owusu (concussion), DeVierPosey (hamstring) and Shaq Evans (bruised ribs), running back StevanRidley (knee, PUP) and cornerbacks Curtis Brown (hamstring) and KeithLewis (groin) all did not work. Cornerback Dee Milliner (wrist) and receiver Devin Smith (broken ribs) remain sidelined.
During practice, a few more Jets came off the field and didn’t return, they were receivers Walter Powell (groin, hamstring) and T.J. Graham (hamstring), running back Zac Stacy (unknown) and tight end Steven Maneri (unknown).
The Jets worked both punt and kick teams Saturday evening with the same players getting the majority of the work as returners. For punts, receivers Eric Decker, Walt Powell, Jeremy Kerley and T.J. Graham all got reps. For kicks, it was Powell Graham and Salim Hakim.
Graham is a player that may separate himself in preseason when it comes to kick returning, as he seems perfectly fit for it. See, the thing with kick returning is you can’t be a player that likes to dance around and wait. You need to find your hole, then burst your way through it and run much more north and south, compared to east and west. Graham does just that, and once he gets going, he has an extra gear where he can simply run away from people.
When the Jets start playing games, don’t be surprised if he breaks a few.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis had a real impressive jam on receiver Brandon Marshall on the second rep of seven-on-sevens. Revis hit Marshall with such force it quite literally knocked Marshall over. The route was completely ruined after that.
Receiver Austin Hill had a nice practice, and it began early. He caught just about everything thrown his way. He’s not really a player that excels in any one area, but rather just does everything pretty good.
Fitzpatrick really didn’t have a nice practice. He struggled a bit with his accuracy, missing passes high, low, left and right. He didn’t necessarily look ‘bad,’ but just didn’t look good.
The same lineups that have been taking the field all of camp took the field again during the team portion. Willie Colon was at guard and Jeff Cumberland at tight end. Leonard Williams was in at defensive end.
On to the highlights…
Quinton Coples and Damon Harrison had a would-be sack of Geno Smith on the first play of the scrimmage. Harrison came right up the middle and Coples got around D’Brickashaw Ferugson. Smith held the ball a little longer than he should have on the play, though.
Safety Rontez Miles continues to flash and made a tremendous break on the ball to bat down a Ryan Fitzpatrick screen pass attempt. Looked like Miles was coming on a blitz, but re-directed his body to bat down the ball.
It was not a good practice for receiver Jonathon Rumph. From my count, I had three drops. For a player on the roster bubble, he can’t afford too many more outings like this.
Kicker Nick Folk had a really nice practice, connecting on field goals of 43, 43 and 56 yards.
Receiver Brandon Marshall really is going to bring another element to the Jets offense and he’s beginning to show it each practice. Saturday night, Marshall caught a pair of touchdowns. The first came on a 35-yard strike from Geno Smith where he beat Antonio Cromartie. In a red-zone drill, Marshall beat Darrelle Revis with a slant.
Speaking of Smith, he really didn’t have the best start to practice, but rebounded well. After nearly throwing an interception and missing on a few miscommunications, he came back firing. From watching all but two of Smith’s practices this year, this was easily his worst outing, but hardly ‘bad.’
For the first time in camp, Zac Stacy flashed. The running back made a pair of really nice moves to break into the open field for long gains.
The two Powells had solid showings. Walter Powell had a 65-yard touchdown reception on a quick slant. After catching the ball, he simply ran away from the defense. Bilal Powell had a 39-yard touchdown run after freeing himself with a nice juke in the hole.
Linebacker Calvin Pace had a strip-sack of Geno Smith. After the scrimmage, Smith said had it been a game, he would have scrambled with the ball and not held on to it so long.
The Jets will have a day off Sunday before returning to practice Monday.