NFL: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

Milliner looking to continue momentum into 2014 Season

By Alexa Pappas

Confidence and morale have been surging throughout the Jets team this offseason, and second-year cornerback Dee Milliner is no exception after ending the 2013 season with a bang.

Milliner has dominated the headlines recently with comments regarding his stance on the best cornerbacks in the league.

“I’m not going to say somebody that plays the same position is better than me,” Milliner told ESPN.com. “[I] don’t care if they’ve been in the league 10 years and I’ve been here five months. I can’t do that.”

Coming off of a lackluster rookie season after a dominant three years at Alabama, Milliner has improvements to make if he wants to remain the Jets’ top cornerback for the 2014 NFL season.

After missing three games in the first half of last season due to extensive hamstring injuries, Milliner turned his season around after being named defensive rookie of the month for December. He earned the title by picking up his first professional interception in Week 16 against the Browns and snagging two more in the final game of the regular season in Week 17 against the Dolphins. These catches also won him the AFC defensive player of the week for the final week of the season.

In these two games, Milliner broke up a combined 10 passes and picked off three interceptions to end his rookie season. Milliner’s surge in the second half of the season led to him being the first player since 1994 to record five passes defensed in back-to-back games, according to Stats Inc.

Milliner ended the season strong, prompting head coach Rex Ryan to likely name him the No. 1 cornerback this coming season with the losses of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to other teams. He is the Jets’ most viable option ahead of Dimitri Patterson, Darrin Walls and Kyle Wilson.

With what Milliner struggles with in potential hamstring injuries, he makes up for with incredible upper-body strength and quickness on his feet to change directions easily. He is fast enough to keep up with the receiver after contact and has a vertical powerful enough to win jump balls against large receivers.

As of minicamp in early June, Milliner said that he was feeling 100 percent and without any pain in his hamstring—one of the main problems that held him back early last year.

It didn’t help that Milliner was viewed as Revis’ heir apparent in his rookie season. Also adding to the learning curve, Ryan is known to favor a man-to-man defense, putting a more-than-average amount of pressure on the cornerback position. But with a few years of training under Ryan, Milliner will more likely than not be able to step up, work through the injuries and improve on his defensive footwork.

There are always adjustments coming into the NFL from college competition. But Milliner’s speedy recovery from a rough start deserves praise, and the momentum is likely to spill over into the 2014 season.


Alexa is an intern for MLB Advanced Media, a partner with SNY.tv




15 comments
Juliet Beason
Juliet Beason

Optimism is always ripe at the beginning of every season. I share the same optimism. However, may I remind all you Jets fans that Bears, Broncos, Lions, Patriots, Chargers,  Green Bay Packers and Steelers will be playing against the Jets? These teams have premier Quarterbacks and receivers that will likely decimate the Jets defense, especially in trouble will be the cornerbacks.

At least, there are seven sure games that the Jets will loose. And the remaining eleven games, they will probably win six games. This is sure going to be a very tough, brutal year for the Jets defense, because they will carry the brunt of the work-load to keep Jets relevant. The offense is still in shambles, compared to the other teams. 


I can only pray that I am wrong. Because, in the end, Coach Ryan's head will be served on a blatter, especially by the New York sports writers. And I love Coach Ryan! I shudder at the impending hardship and competition they are about to face. Go J. E T S, Jets, Jets, Jets!

levi
levi

Nice write up Alexa.

JCuratola3
JCuratola3

I don't think Milliner will ever live up to how high they picked him. I hope he proves me wrong though. And for the record he wasn't wrong for saying he's the best. Name me one other professional athlete who will admit to something of the same position being better? I'll wait all day

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

This is a perfect example of the idiom a "Tempest in a Teapot", where NY is the Tempest and Milliner is squarely IN the Teapot !!

What he said (and feels) is absolutely correct and as a professional can NOT shortchange himself into feeling or saying anything less!!!

The hope is that this kid has the maturity to let all this roll off his back and continue to cultivate the growth he demonstrated last December !!!

Ian O'Brien
Ian O'Brien

He doesn't need to be Revis.  He doesn't need to cover perfectly for 7 seconds every play, QB's are going to be running for their lives from the d-line this year!  Totally different d, doesn't matter that Rex like cb's this is a high pressure d from the front, not a bunch of high motor run stuffers with elite coverage over the top- for the inevitable pass after the qb stood there for 7 seconds looking downfield untouched!

fourbten
fourbten

Milliner was horrible last season, as maybe only Mike Westhoff and I noticed.

Just pray that he improves.

bklyndude
bklyndude

Dee Milliner,  Calvin Pryor,  Antonio Allen and if Dexter McDougle earns some playing time,  this group is young and talented and should be together for the next couple of years.  Playing behind one of the best defensive lines in the league should make this group develop very quickly.  

Good times are a-coming. 

Brendan
Brendan

@Hanknaples Do you see this, Hanker? You said something fair and reasonable and I liked your comment. We'll celebrate this anniversary for years to come. 

Bytor
Bytor

Your best comment...ever! Bravo!

tsjc68
tsjc68

@fourbten

Dee Milliner improved down the stretch last season after initially being horrible (and new to the NFL, and injured).


Maybe everybody but you and Mike Westhoff noticed.


Just pray that he continues to play at his improved level for a full 16 game season, because the level he played at down the stretch after he improved is "best corner in the game" level good.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@Brendan 

I've always strived to be fair but, also directly to the point Brendan! However, most of the time honest, diametrically opposed views are not well received by the chain gang !!

Bytor
Bytor

De nada. Buenos noches.