2013 Jets Training Camp: Day Two Practice Notes

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Jets players practiced on the grass in shorts and shells with the practice running from 10AM to about 12:15PM.  Here’s some reactions to what we saw from the team today.

- Rex was heavily involved with the Jets defensive line today (as usual) and set up and explained the installation for the day, which revolved around the nickel package.  With some fluctuation in the secondary right now between the absence of Milliner and the injury to Aaron Berry, players like Royce Adams and others who might not be in the nickel package saw time on the field during the installation.

- The overall athleticism of the defensive line is scary good.  While we understand why the Sheldon Richardson move might have taken some people by surprise on Draft night, the flexibility and opportunity to use such an impressive group of athletes in a myriad of ways is going to be very fun to watch this fall.

- The offense looked a little disconnected in the individual drills with more than one player dropping a pass or making a mental lapse.  Even so, the offense did a much better and more focused job once they got into their work with the defense.  Rex threw a number of blitzes at the offense early, but on the whole they looked crisp, took advantage of what the defense gave them and broke a few plays deep.

- Kind of an esoteric note, but one of the things that I noticed in the past two days — more than any other time I’ve been to camp — is how drills flow into one another, like streams into a larger river.  Flyers and blockers working on the sideline, practice independent from the special teams line-work on snaps and protection.  Then eventually the two are merged together.  Quarterbacks toss the ball while receivers work on their route tree in separate, and then are paired together to work on passing routes.  Then, quarterbacks get four receiving options to throw to, all the receivers running different routes before joining up with the offensive line and running backs who had been working on runs and run blocking.

- For all the problems of Brian Schottenheimer and his offense, one of the things that the addition of Mornhinweg seems to have brought back is a coach who understands the importance of using short, medium and long routes in the passing game.  The difference, even in just a few days of camp is that Mornhinweg actually knows how to implement it properly to give his quarterbacks and receivers the chance to make plays.  Mornhinweg is also using a lot of moving pocket and rollouts for his quarterbacks, which is important for a group which doesn’t have the same height that other passers around the league have.  This leads to batted passes, etc.

Player Notes

- Smith ran a quarterback option where he kept the football and streaked up the sideline into the end zone on a long run.  Yesterday Quinton Coples prevented Smith from breaking the contain on a similar play, but I didn’t see Coples on the field, or at least on that side of the field on that play today.

- Smith is clearly a work in progress. He’s still getting comfortable with his footwork dropping back from under center. It tends to affect his ball placement, which was an issue at times again Saturday. It’s not worth getting really upset over, but it’s something that could hinder his ability to play — and play well — right away.

- Cromartie got into a little scuffle with WR VIdal Hazleton.  I was on the opposite field watching the offensive and defensive lines at the time, but as I understand it, Cro might have been a little chippy on the play (in character with his up tempo camp) and Hazleton might have made a comment to get him started.  There was a brief pause before Cro got up and launched himself at Hazleton.  As a note, Rex praised Hazleton for his WR play today, which had nothing to do with the fight.

- As I noted above the receivers looked a little rough early on in individual drills, but on the whole it’s hard to not like the promise of the group despite the problems.  Braylon has stabilized the group, Kerley is doing what he always does and will have some more players around him to help out.  Hill had another solid practice, struggling some in individual work with at least one drop, but he played well in the offense versus defense practice.  Once past the third man, Clyde Gates is surprising most people at camp and is shedding the “track star” label he came into the team with.  Zach Rogers and Spadola both look crisp.

- Antonio Allen had a nice interception on an overthrown Mark Sanchez pass to Stephen Hill downfield. He showed his promise as a safety and even drew some positive reviews from Rex in his post-practice news conference. The safety spot opposite Dawan Landry appears to be completely open for the time being, with Allen, Josh Bush and even Jaiquawn Jarrett in the running for the spot.

- RB John Griffin did have another unnecessary open drop, but he did have some excellent plays. Griffin’s shot at making the final 53-man roster is strongly connected to whether Mike Goodson shows up at all. If Goodson doesn’t show, Griffin could eke out a spot as the fourth running back. At the very least, Griffin appears to be positioning himself for some meaningful snaps in the preseason.

- Bilal Powell is not Chris Ivory. He’s not going to steal any headlines or wow anyone with his speed or agility. He is, however, a consistent contributor in all facets. He’s a good blocker, has solid hands and can read the holes the offensive line creates for him. At the very least, he’s a solid backup and could be a good platoon partner for Ivory, especially as a third-down back.

- In the, “I can’t believe it took them this long to talk about the kickers” department, Nick Folk and Billy Cundiff had a bit of a kick-off to close out practice today. Folks was 3 for 4 while Cundiff hit 2 of 4 field goals. It would be a big surprise if Cundiff unseated Folk this summer.