The first day of training camp is always a deluge for me. We’ll be rolling out lots more content on the site through the weekend as we spend time in Cortland, but here’s a first pass at what stuck out at us from the first practice. First up, defense.
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com
DE Jason Babin makes it official, clouds concern on when Barnes will return
With Antonio Cromartie out of the picture this year, the team’s secondary is younger and, as a result, will need to do their best to pressure the quarterback to add “suppressing fire!!!” for their defensive backs. The Jets signing of Jason Babin indicates to me that Antwan Barnes might still have some road ahead of him before he is ready to step back out onto the field. Recovering from an ACL tear is never easy for NFLers and the team seems to be hedging their bets in finding a situational pass rusher. Consensus on the sidelines is that Babin will still be on the roster come cutdowns. We’ll have to see how he looks, but unless he’s fallen far (he still had 7.5 sacks last year) from last year, the Jets can find a spot for him. Rex didn’t put a timeline on Barnes’ recovery, but did say it would be “slower” when compared to Willie Colon.
Platoon play rules the day at safety
Get ready for a lot of Safety Dance headlines. The Jets were rotating rookie Calvin Pryor, Antonio Allen and Dawan Landry early in work with the first team. For now, the Jets aren’t showing their hand about their intent, other than they like their top three safeties. “We’re deep,” Rex said, when asked about his safeties. Rex knows with young players “I want to keep ‘Double-A’ humming … but not … cheat Landry of [practice snaps].” Rex has loved using the Big Nickel before in the past and while he might get there, he seems content to experiment with different looks early on in camp.
Is it coming together for CB Kyle Wilson?
I didn’t get a chance to watch Wilson extensively during practice today, but he was playing physical football and not backing down. In on one-on-one I saw between him and David Nelson, Wilson stood his ground with the much larger (and rangier) Nelson before the receiver got away with a slight push to create space to catch the pass. Later, in the press room, Rex said that Kyle Wilson “could give a dissertation” on every role and responsibility in the defensive backfield. Last year Wilson led the league in coverage snaps per reception in the slot according to Pro Football Focus; that wasn’t a happy accident considering how much the secondary struggled last year. Rex Ryan and the coaches have been waiting for Wilson to step forward and he seems to be doing it. Don’t forget that this is the last year of his rookie contract … will Wilson make a case on why the Jets should keep him around?
Risk Versus Reward
If you spend three minutes with Dexter McDougle, you can understand why the Jets would elect to use their third round pick on him. McDougle ended practice with an extremely instinctive and athletic jumped route on Tajh Boyd, who was throwing to Shaq Evans along the sideline. The rookie is a smaller corner than they’ve sought in recent years, but his speed is sudden and his instincts are excellent. McDougle has been happy with seeing reps all over the field, but predominantly in the slot. McDougle’s a technician and seems to be able to do the back-of-the-envelope math on calculating risk versus reward and he explained it after practice on jumping the route”I was playing off coverage and the receiver ran a comeback. The quarterback was rolling out to my side and when [the receiver] ran the comeback I jumped.”
I questioned McDougle about what happens if he gambles wrong. “If you attack the outside shoulder, he is going to turn right into you. I saw the ball and broke on it. I was pretty confident that I was going to get it.”
Get it he did … and does.
- You know how good the defensive line is and your football jones didn’t need me telling you that today. I barely watched them but I think we can assume they were awesome.
- It made news that Coples lost weight, but wow does he look like a man tranformed. Not that he was ever heavy for his size, but you can see how lean he looks compared to two years ago.
- WR Michael Campbell was not pleased with Ras-I Dowling on a sideline coverage drill. Campbell must have felt that Dowling somehow interfered with him on a rout, but the ref was right there and didn’t blow the whistle.
- Dimitiri Patterson is playing the second cornerback spot across from Dee Milliner. To be honest I didn’t see much right or wrong from Patterson and will focus on him tomorrow.
- Jaiquawn Jarrett had a nice shoestring interception on Mike Vick. Rex later explained that the fault was that of the receiver who stopped his route short. Rex beamed that Vick was nonplussed by the matter and didn’t mind taking the blame though it was clearly on the receiver.