July 30, 2012
Rumors abound as Revis watches
Hamstring tightness limits practice duties
Spotting Darrelle Revis on the SUNY Cortland practice field sidelines during team drills started the rumors flying as the New York Jets put on the pads for the first time at preseason camp on Sunday morning.
The All-Pro cornerback participated in individual drills to begin the session, only to watch from the sidelines during team drills.
Revis had felt some tightness in his right hamstring during Saturday’s rain-soaked workout — the first open to spectators since the team’s arrival in town on Thursday afternoon. When that injury was checked out, it was determined by the coaching staff and trainers that he would not participate in any team drills Sunday.
Of course, most of the news media did not know that when he was first spotted on the sidelines, which led to all sorts of speculation whether it was an actual injury or contract related. Revis arrived in Cortland only after threatening to stay home while seeking a new contact from the Jets.
The news media was told before practice was over that it was an injury, and Revis helped straighten things out afterward.
“I knew you were going to bring that up,” was how he responded to reporters wondering whether his sitting out was due to his contract issues. “Come on now. No, no, it has nothing to do with that. If I wasn’t going to be here, I would have held out.
“It’s just a little bit of tightness,” Revis added. “We’re just trying to make sure we take care of it the best way we can.”
Head coach Rex Ryan agreed with his star defensive player.
“If we were playing a game, I’d be concerned and he would play,” Ryan said. “He’s had some hamstring issues in previous training camps where he probably fought through some and then pulled it. We don’t want that to happen. It was just a minor thing. I think he thinks he’ll be out there tomorrow, but anytime you get that kind of situation with any player you hit the breaks to avoid doing something foolish.”
The first weekend of practices provided two different contrasts in weather and types of sessions. After a Saturday workouts in various degrees of rain, the Jets put the pads on for the first time under a mix of clouds and sun.
Ryan said the first day in pads was a long time coming.
“It was the first day of pads, so as a coach you look forward to it,” Ryan stated. “Obviously, it’s been forever since we’ve been in pads. All the way back, we never made the playoffs. Three straight years I coached or was part of a team that went to a championship game, although we lost all three. But you’re used to playing a month later into the season. This one just seemed like it took forever to get here, to get those pads on, but it was good. Once we got out there, it was fantastic.”
With the first full day of hitting, it didn’t take long before third-year fullback-tight end Josh Baker was heading back to the locker room with a broken nose that bled heavily. Baker returned to practice, but sported a red quarterback jersey to avoid further unnecessary contact.
The offense ran the ball a lot in drills, in fact, the first 22 plays were runs, which surprised even Ryan. Meanwhile quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow struggled with their passes. Each was just 1-for-7 in 11-on-11 drills.
“If you include the nine-on-seven portion of the practice, our first 22 snaps of team were runs,” Ryan said. “We need to establish the running game and have our opponents understand that we are a running team.
“I hope we can run the ball if we were one-for-seven,” he continued. “No, I mean they were going up against a pretty good defense over there. It was a tough day. There’s no question about it, the defense probably had the better of it, but we did pop some runs in there that you don’t see our defense giving up very often and that was encouraging to me.
The defense had its moments. Among the standouts Sunday were linebacker Aaron Maybin and rookie safety Antonio Allen, who had two interceptions.
“As a guy who went to the same high school as my oldest son, I expect a lot from him,” Ryan said of Maybin. “The guy has been tremendous. Mike Pettine did a great job yesterday (when) he showed Aaron running to the football like he does. He said ‘Guys, as teammates you have to be embarrassed because this guy embarrassed the other 10 guys that were out there at that time.’
“They might have been thinking they were going hard, but this guy reminds me a little of Michael McCrary, in the fact that when I had this young man in Baltimore, he was relentless. That’s the way Aaron plays. He goes 100 miles an hour, and I think LaRon Landry and him, that’s kind of how they do it. He doesn’t play with any brakes. He doesn’t slow down until he runs into something. That’s who he is and that’s who he’s been since he’s been a New York Jet.”
Could this lead to an expanded role for Maybin, the fourth-year man from Penn State who was a first-round Buffalo Bills draft pick before coming to the Jets?
“I could definitely see that,” Ryan replied. “He’s going to earn that, and you have to earn your way out there and I think he’s on his way to earning more reps and more responsibility from us.”
There were some other guys who stood out in Coach Ryan’s eye, rookie defensive lineman Damon Harrison and third-year offensive lineman Austin Howard.
“Damon Harrison, I call him the wrecking ball,” Ryan said. “He has the biggest helmet in the history of our franchise. He’s a big old dude from William Penn. He looked pretty good. He’s a 340-pound nose tackle. It was his kind of day, a running day. He looked pretty good out there.
“Austin Howard is a guy who I was really excited about going into the off-season,” he added. “He proceeded to show up maybe 20 pounds overweight, so I wasn’t as excited about him, but when we got to training camp he was back in shape. He had the weight under control. ... This is a big man, 6-8 or whatever he is, 340 pounds, but he comes off and he can bend. That’s what he showed last year as we got going. That was why we were really excited about him. We saw that today.
“He was really moving some people off the line today. That was encouraging.”
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