August 4, 2012
Ryan pleased, Cromartie razzed
Defense gets black shirts back Friday
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
New York Jets receiver Patrick Turner (88) is lifted by Matt Slauson (68) after Turner caught a touchdown pass by Mark Sanchez (6) during 11-on-11 drills Friday at SUNY Cortland training camp.
On a day when the defense reclaimed its dominance — and the resulting black jerseys for Monday’s session — over the offense, head coach Rex Ryan actually saw positives all around Friday during a closed New York Jets practice session.
A huge chunk of that had to do with a third-down, one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mark Sanchez to wide receiver Patrick Turner in the front left corner of the end zone during the waning moments of a two-minute red zone drill.
“There’s days where as a team you might not be right in all areas,” Ryan said after the session at SUNY Cortland. “Some days it’s the defense that has to pick up the offense. Sometimes its the offense that has to pick up the defense. Sometimes the only shot you’ve got is if your special teams do something.
“But as a team — you saw that as the practice went today — for the most part it was dominated by the defense. And then, even though it was a red zone deal, when you put it down 45 seconds left and game on the line, you need a touchdown to win, it goes all the way down to third down and Mark, with good protection, makes the pass to win the game.”
For the day during team drills, Sanchez completed five of 12 passes with the TD and a sack, while Tim Tebow went 3-for-6. The shared success of his units led Ryan to philosophize on the fleeting nature of momentum.
“The defense can play great, as we’ve seen before, you can play great for 59 minutes, but if you don’t close it out there’s a chance to lose that game,” he said. “But my point to our team, more than anything, was that you have to have the mindset and the mentality that momentum is coming your way. I’ve always talked about that belief. There have been times when I’ve been calling a game as a defensive coordinator and given up the first three drives for a touchdown, and yet you’ve got to believe.”
TURNER’S RECEPTION CAME at the expense of cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who Tuesday on ESPN’s First Take had proclaimed himself the second-best receiver on the team. Of course, the Jets’ offensive players let him hear about it, dubbing Turner with the same title.
“Cro was just having fun with that,” Turner when asked about the whole situation, which was tamped down quickly by an irked Ryan and his staff after some hurt feelings. “People want to take certain things and make it more serious than what it is.”
“I didn’t mean anything by it,” Cromartie said to an assembled media horde. “My whole thing was I simply explained why I said it, that I could be the No. 2 receiver on the team, by just saying by my physical traits and my work ethic.
“That’s how I felt. That was my opinion. Of course, you guys want to blow it up, but we’re gonna let that go. But at the end of the day, I’m a corner first, and whenever that time comes to go out and play receiver, then I’ll go out there and do it.
When pressed on the issue, Cromartie was unrepentant.
“No, I don’t regret saying it,”he said. “If the receivers felt like they were disrespected, at the end of the day they can come talk to me and I can explain to them exactly what I meant. But no, I don’t regret saying it at all.
For the record, Cromartie did line up at wideout for one play during 7-on-7 drills Friday, but Tebow went in a different direction with a pass.
And what about Turner’s TD grab and resulting clamor?
“I didn’t hear that,” Cromartie said. “I guess I can still say I am (the second-best receiver). Mark made a good throw and Patrick might have gotten a good push-off at the end.”
RYAN HAD GOOD THINGS TO SAY about Bilal Powell again Friday after singling the second-year running back from Louisville out the day before.
“I think the off-season program probably had something to do with it, but I’ll say this: What’s unique about it is, when we had to play him in game (last season) he made no mental mistakes, made absolutely zero mental mistakes,” Ryan said of Powell, who is vying with Joe McKnight for the backup spot behind Shonn Green.“And that tells you a lot about him. Mentally he was on top of it; from a physical standpoint he wasn’t. He had a lot of injuries, little things here and there that set him back. We never really got to see his capabilities.
“Now he’s healthy, in great shape — he came to camp in great shape — and it seems like every day he does something, it’s like ‘Ohhh, that was a nice run’ or he does a good job in protection, which isn’t surprising. This is the guy that A-Lynn (running backs coach Anthony Lynn) and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum felt really good about, which is why we took him. And I think you’re really starting to see it.”
A 16-yard pass from Sanchez to Powell opened the two-minute red zone drill that ended in Turner’s touchdown, the series starting from the defensive’s 25-yard-line.
“When your number’s called, you just go in and do what you’re told,” Powell said. “I know the offense (now). The OTAs and the minicamps actually helped me out a lot. It allows me to go out and play with more confidence now. With LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) gone, it gives me more of an opportunity; I just go out and take it one game at a time.
“Last year, I was here a couple of days and then it was camp. Coming into the NFL, you have to know the playbook inside and out. As camp was going on I was learning more and more, but now with the OTAs and minicamp and meetings it’s given me a chance to learn the offense and go out and play to the best of my ability.”
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