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August 3, 2013

 

‘We had a lot of collisions’

Rex has Jets get physical at camp

JetsJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) practices his footwork Friday during camp at SUNY Cortland.

By TANEY BEAUMONT
Staff Writer

New York Jets’ coach Rex Ryan loves this time of the year.
His team stepped things up Friday at SUNY Cortland with its most physical practice among the seven it’s had so far, in part to prepare for tonight’s Green and White Scrimmage on the Stadium Complex football field turf. The full-tackling day included short-yardage and goal-line drills.
“It’s always entertaining the first day of short-yardage goal-line because that’s really the first day of full tackling and everything else,” Ryan said. “Certainly we had some good hits, we had a lot of collisions. That’s always fun to watch and it’s important because that’s what this game’s about. I thought the offense got the upper hand in the short yardage period. I thought the defense had it in the goal-line.
“We had one guy go down with. ... I’m not sure what it is, we’ll see with the trainers. ... Dalton Freeman at the end there, the young man from Clemson, our center, so we’ll see what the trainers say about that. But again, there’s only one way to practice it — that’s to go full-speed. You can’t get the reps, it’s easy to say you’ll get them in the preseason. There’s no guarantee. One year when I was in Baltimore we had six plays of goal-line defense the entire season because sometimes people don’t run that. Sometimes they’re running three-wides, four wides or whatever down there. The only time you may get to practice it is right now in training camp, so you have to go full-speed, with live cutting and live tackling, and we did that today.”
Freeman, who Ryan as mentioned as a possible lead backup for starter Nick Mangold, was unable to get up after the very last play of the day after suffering what was diagnosed as a high ankle sprain. He was carted off the field.
Another casualty was running back Joe McKnight, who injured his left arm or shoulder after being hit on an 11-on-11 drill and left with trainers holding his arm out fully extended from his body, done for the day.
“I think if it was something serious, we would know,”Ryan said of that situation.
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QBs Will Share Time
The two primary candidates for the quarterback position, four-year starter Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith, will both see time with the first offensive unit during the Green and White Scrimmage according to Ryan.
“I haven’t talked to Marty (Mornhinweg, offensive coordinator) yet, but knowing him he’s probably already thought about exactly what he would like to get done out there,” Ryan said. “I’m sure that’s going to definitely be a part of it, for sure that they’ll both get times with ones and twos.”
Sanchez went 3-for-6 passing with a touchdown and a sack and Smith was 3-for-3 with two TDs and two sacks on Friday. Each had a touchdown pass during the goal-line drill.
Ryan was impressed with the poise Smith showed in completing a long TD pass to running back Bilal Powell with two defenders, linebacker Calvin Pace and defensive lineman Damon Harrison, pressuring him earlier in practice.
“We’ll see, if (when) those guys can take you to the ground,” Ryan said. “They’re the only ones who aren’t live. But it certainly does (demonstrate poise). It was a great play.
“Marty’s been setting us up the whole time, the defense, with this pass and this pass, and suddenly, oop, he turned it up. They got a flag on the play also; we had to grab the receiver. But it was a great play, a great design by Marty and well executed by the offense.”
Both signal callers were also happy with their performances Friday and looking forward to tonight’s scrimmage.
“I thought we looked OK on goal-line,” Sanchez said. “We looked better as an offense on short yardage and the defense was better on goal-line. We wanted to get all those scenarios ready. We’ve hit our two-minute, we’ve hit a lot of situational stuff so we’re ready for that scrimmage-type atmosphere. I think this year that we’re on pace for something special, hopefully, as a group. And this next measuring stick really is the scrimmage.
“It’s good for the competition all over the field. That game-like situation, we try and simulate it out here, we put everybody on the sideline. We have NFL officials, we have the 25-second clock, we’ve got the game clock rolling. We’ll do some special teams in between to make it more game-like. You’re in for your series; it could be a 10-play drive, it could be a three-and-out. You come out and talk to your coach, you get on the same page and move on to the next drive so it will be a little more game-like.”
In assessing his current situation, Sanchez noted: “I feel great. I’m accurate, my arm feels strong, I’m moving pretty well in the pocket.”
“It will be my first scrimmage, so I’m very eager to participate in it and I look forward to it,” Smith said.
Asked if the scrimmage would be particularly pressure-packed for him, Smith said “I don’t think so. I think every single day has been a pressure day, every single rep. Like I said, everything is being evaluated, and I’m just trying to do my best to live in the moment, and just take care of what I have running my plays.
“I took care of today’s practice and have to go back and look at the films, kind of reevaluate things, but once tomorrow comes I’m pretty sure we’re going to install a small game plan, you know, not too much, but we’ll probably hit some points of things we want to get established, things we want to do on offense, and then we’ll take care of that.”
“I think it went well,” he said when asked his personal assessment of Friday’s session. “Obviously from what I did on the field, you get coached on the field but you can’t really tell until you go into the film room and see everything you’ve done. Your footwork pretty much has to be excellent in order for this offense to work; that’s something we’ll go in and we’ll see later on, but as of now I feel I’m doing pretty good.”
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Rex Hands Out Praise
Coach Ryan singled out linebacker Ricky Asp, defensive lineman Mohammed Wilkerson and right guard Willie Colon for their individual performances Friday.
“I love the presence of Willie Colon,” Ryan said. “He brings a mentality and there’s a certain presence that he has out there that you’re glad he’s on your side. He’ out there and he’s marking a spot across that line, goal line, and here we go. He’s a guy you want in that foxhole with you — obviously it needs to be a big foxhole — but he’s certainly a guy you want in there with you.”

 

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