Calvin Pace praises Jets’ defense

The New York Jets are certainly confident in their defense – linebacker Calvin Pace was the latest in a string of Jets players and coaches to claim the Jets as a postseason team (CBS, July 28).

“(Compared to) the rest of the defenses in the NFL? S***, man, we’re the best,” Pace said.

Pace isn’t the only one singing the Jets praises as second-year cornerback Dee Miller told the Daily News on Saturday he’s the best in the league in his position.

“You ask anybody around the league, we’re not the team you want to see coming in, even in a down year,” he said.

As the Jets defense come off an 11th-overall finish in 2013 – the unit’s worst ranking ever under Ryan – Pace is excited about their potential this year. As he should be with Muhammad Wilkerson and Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richarson back in the defensive line.

“We’re the benchmark when we’re doing well,” said Pace. “I’ll take these guys and Rex and this system any day.”

Brian Bassett,

There’s no question that this defensive line is going to be one of if not the best unit in the league.  There are more questions around what sort of secondary this group will wind up being.

Between the solid coverage I saw in camp from linebackers like Demario Davis and the rise in play from Dee Milliner, the back-end of this unit has the potential to be put in a good position to succeed.  What makes it hard for many analysts is that we don’t have the historical evidence with the lack of proven players like Revis and Cromartie in recent years.  This is without question an “under the radar” group.

All eyes on on Dee Milliner, but I’ll be watching Dimitri Patterson.  Patterson is a very physical playmaker and will be a good addition to this defense, but it will come down to his ability to stay healthy.  As Rex said Sunday about Patterson, “sometimes he might be a little too physical for his own body.”

Calvin Pryor with Roger Goodell

Pryor treated for concussion

The Jets’ first-round pick, safety Calvin Pryor, was treated for a concussion. The concussion came during a special team drill on Saturday and he is now subject to league concussion protocols (NY Daily News, July 27).

“Pryor now will go through the protocol, so it is a concussion,” head coach Rex Ryan told reporters. “Apparently it was on a kick when we were doing a kick return drill and he was blocking and the returner kind of got knocked into him and kind of just hit him right. It’s one of those things. One of those heavyweights hit you in the chin, the lights go out I guess.”

Pryor tweeted “I’m fine everyone, no worries.”

He also posted a photo on Instagram late Sunday with the caption “Minor setback… no concussion & I’ll be back in no time.”

Brian Bassett,

We are very glad that Pryor is taking a positive approach to his injury and getting back on the field but the fact that he is essentially denying that he has a concussion is a little concerning.  Pryor was nowhere to be seen during the entirety of practice Sunday, a fact that aligns with his injury.

Rex very clearly stated yesterday to the media that Pryor did in fact have a concussion.  From a posturing standpoint, we get why Pryor would want to downplay the situation; Pryor might not have a history of concussions but high speed collisions are effectively a job requirement.

We’re glad that the Jets caught it and are doing the right things.  But it is understandable that seeing him suffer such an injury during the early part of his first practice in pads during camp is a little concerning.

GEICO SportsNite from Jets training camp

Jeane Coakley has the latest from Cortland where she caught up with injured tight end Jace Amaro and assessed the offensive line’s chemistry now that Willie Colon has been activated.

Brian Bassett,

Willie Colon’s presence brings a sense of stability to a group that is most likely still feeling out who their fifth starter will be this season.  With Colon back in the lineup, he can work on communication and chemistry with Breno Giacomini and the Jets can take a longer look at who will best suited to play in the team’s second guard spot.

What I Saw at Training Camp: Defense, Day Four

Sunday is our last day in Cortland.  Despite some soggy weather, here’s what we saw on the defensive side of the ball.

Brian Bassett,

The Big Nickel

There was no sign of Calvin Pryor today, but the safeties still came up during Rex’s press conference.  Rex was asked about why he likes using three safety sets in his defense and he answered that it’s the versatility that it provides his defense.  “They don’t know who is playing what” said Rex.  According to Rex, safeties provide plus coverage and have larger bodies like linebackers and can be deployed in coverage, run support, or pass rush situations.  In fact, Antonio Allen’s ability to rush the passer is one of the aspects of AA’s game that Ryan likes best. With  deep group of corners, it is hard to tell how much the Jets will use their Big Nickel package, but it’s good to know that they are right there should Rex need them.

As for Pryor, Rex didn’t seem that this concussion for Pryor was a concerning start for a player who is known as a big hitter and who the team hopes to make a cornerstone of this defense in coming years.  Rex indicated that this was more of a random injury and that Pryor’s lack of history with concussions makes him hope this was just and unfortunate event.

The Rise of Demario To read more of this story, click here

What I Saw at Training Camp: Offense, Day Four

Sunday is our last day in Cortland.  Despite some weather that threatened to rain, here’s what we saw on the offensive side of the ball.

Brian Bassett,

Land of the Giants

It must be noted that the receivers on this team are massive, by recent standards.  Gone are the days of the sub six foot receivers with Tone, Cotchery and the rest.  In their place are a massive front line of receivers.  Eric Decker (6’3″) , Stephen Hill (6’4″), David Nelson (6’6″) the Jace Amaro (6’5″) / Jeff Cumberland (6’4″) platoon with the one exception, Jeremy Kerley (5’9″).  Football Outsiders wrote about Geno’s penchant for larger targets, so this should be a group that he works well with as he develops more rapport.

Bigger doesn’t always mean better, of course, but it isn’t without their own merits.  Bigger players can be better red zone targets for Geno, bigger players can be better perimeter blockers for the frisky Chris Johnson and Bilal Powell.  While it might not have been done with a full intent, you look at two of the three receivers (Shaq Evans and Quincey Enunwa) the team drafted and they have that body type that seems to be in keeping with the trend.

Crazy Legs To read more of this story, click here

Confidence comes from within (and without) for Dee Milliner

Dee Milliner

Brian Bassett,

CORTLAND, NY — The Jets enter the 2014 season with an overhauled cornerback position and there’s a lot of pressure this year on the most visible and talented holdover from last season, Dee Milliner.

Just in his second year in the league after playing at Alabama for Nick Saban, the Jets invested their their very first of two first round picks during the 2013 NFL Draft in Milliner, but of his class, the soft-spoken Milliner is often overlooked in favor of quarterback Geno Smith and the reigning defensive rookie of the year Sheldon Richardson.

Regardless, if you ask coach Rex Ryan, he’s confident that Dee is ready to be that alpha player the Jets need in the secondary.

“I’ve been around the game a few years and I see it without question,” Rex told reporters. “Dee is a guy that as you guys know I have a ton of confidence in.” To read more of this story, click here

Amaro leaves practice with hurt knee


The early goings of camp haven’t been kind to Jets rookies.

Second-round pick in tight end Jace Amaro left Sunday’s practice with a right knee injury and was diagnosed with tendinitis (ESPN, July 27th).  He is going to be out until Tuesday, further setting the Jets back.

The Jets are without first-round pick Calvin Pryor, who is being treated after a head injury suffered in practice on Saturday.

Brian Bassett,

I was watching Amaro on the play in which he was injured.  It was a high pass that was put a little too high by Geno Smith and Amaro dove for the ball out of bounds with Calvin Pace step for step in coverage.  Either the collision with the turf or some incidental contact with Pace might have caused the injury.  Amaro was hobbled walking back to the huddle.  To his credit, Amaro tried to stay in on his next play until he broke the huddle and pulled himself from the field and was attended by trainers.

Amaro spent the remainder of practice with a bandage and compress on his knee area.

Rex clarified the matter during his press conference referring to the injury as “tendinitis.”  Both Rex and Amaro seemed hopeful of a quick recovery and return to the field when the players resume practicing on Tuesday.

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills

Jets take Colon off PUP

The Jets announced on Sunday that they have taken starting right guard Willie Colon (knee) off the PUP list and will allow him to practice for the first time later Sunday.

Colon had arthroscopic knee surgery in late May and missed the first three days of practices as he was unable to play.

Colon re-signed with the Jets in March to a 1-year $2 million deal. He started all 16 games last year.

What I Saw at Training Camp: Defense, Day Three

Leger Douzable, Muhammad Wilkerson,Quinton Coples, Damon Harrison

Day three has come and gone.  The players got into pads for the first time today and were able to get some hits in.  Here’s what we saw on the defensive side of the ball.

Brian Bassett,

Concerns about Calvin

It wasn’t that far into the team’s first full-pads practice when right round draft pick Calvin Pryor came off the field due to an unfortunate collision.  Pryor jogged off under his own power with John Mellody the team’s head trainer.  After a short jog, the two rode in a cart, presumably back to the training facility,  before Pryor returned to the field in a wide brimmed hat with his pads off.  Pryor watched the remainder of practice, chatting with coaches and players.

“The new [NFL] protocol is that if we know there is a concussion, you guys will know about it immediately,” Ryan told reporters at Saturday’s press conference. “So don’t think we’re covering something up. As of right now, we don’t know if it’s a concussion or not. But it was a head injury, and obviously, when those things happen, you’re always going to side on being cautious. So that’s what we’re doing. Whether it’s a concussion or not, I’m not sure. We’ll see how that progresses.”

“He came in there and had a good collision, so it’s not like you can say he got dinged or whatever. But ‘dinged’ now means you be cautious and do what’s in the best interest of the young man. That’s where we’re at.”

Calvin has always been a hard hitter and at the very least this is a concerning turn for a player who with Dee Milliner is slated to become a leader for years to come.

If there is any silver lining to this cloud, it is that Jaiquawn Jarrett had another good day with the backups.  After an interception earlier in camp, he had a strip-fumble on tight end Chris Pantale as Pantale was running after the catch.  After being cast off by the Eagles he seems to be settling in with the Jets and is making the best of his time of his reps.

Turn on the turnovers

Rex said in his press conference on the first day of training camp that turnovers were going to be a point of emphasis for this team.

“Last year, I forget how many fumbles that they had, but we only recovered two or three of them all year,” Rex told reporters on Thursday after the first day of practice.  “That’s something we have to get better at and we talked about pursue the football like that ball is coming out. Let’s get more turnovers, we are certainly aware of that.”

The Jets are aware and they spent some time yesterday making sure that players are too.  The front seven and defensive backs all participated in turnover practice drills.  One was a tip drill (which Rex and some of the staff demonstrated) in which players batted the ball back to the man behind them in as long a continuous run as possible.  The other drill was one which players simulate coming off the edge to strip the ball out of a pass-thrower’s (a coach) hand as a he wound up his throw.  I can’t remember seeing the Jets practice these drills in year’s past but it was interesting

The statistical concept of regression toward the mean would indicate that the Jets are going to be better at recovering footballs this season, but Rex and his coaching staff aren’t just waiting for that, they are working to make it happen.

Sons of Anarchy Season Two To read more of this story, click here