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August 6, 2013

 

Monday blues hit the Jets

Rex left unhappy with sloppy play

JetsJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
New York Jets safety Josh Bush (32) tries to break up a pass to Braylon Edwards (17) during Monday’s practice at SUNY Cortland.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

With the Green and White Scrimmage behind them and a day off Sunday, the New York Jets returned to practice Monday. The SUNY Cortland morning session was not the kind of practice head coach Rex Ryan expected coming off the weekend, however.
“Today’s practice was sloppy and that’s the best way to describe it,” Ryan said. “Both sides of the ball, it was not our best day. Offensively coming out, we had three false starts on offense and had a safety. It’s not acceptable.”
Having the offense out of synch was a huge concern.
“You want to use the cadence to your advantage, not your detriment,” said Ryan. “Clearly that’s something that you’ll hear every defensive coach say. Earmuffs, you can’t hear the cadence, you have to focus on the ball, key the football, whatever. But yet, we had three of them on the offense today. I believe it was three. Obviously, you can’t have that.”
Jets woes in the red-zone skeleton drills also perturbed Ryan.
“We threw a couple interceptions and we also had guys open and didn’t throw the ball. That was poor. And then to top it off, the defense was horrible in the last team period. Not a whole lot going for us,” he said. “I hope we’re playing great on (special) teams. That was disappointing. I thought the focus wasn’t there. I never liked the attention to detail.”
One guy did appear ready to go, and he was singled out by his head coach.
“One guy that I’ll say came out to practice was Mark Sanchez,” Ryan said of the fifth-year quarterback. “I thought he was sharp.”
Back with the first unit, Sanchez went six-for-nine throwing the football with no sacks in his bid to claim the top spot on the depth chart. Two of the Jets’ false starts occurred with Sanchez under center.
“There were too many mistakes on both sides of the ball,” noted Coach Ryan. “I made sure they understood where I was coming from, especially when you come (back) from a day off. It can’t be like that. You have to be focused and you have to keep moving forward. So, I was not happy with the practice today.”
Sanchez is battling second-round draft pick Geno Smith in camp, and the rookie’s passing day showed a four-for-six effort. The rookie wasn’t sacked, but he threw the two red zone picks.
“I think it went well. There were some high points. I think red zone 7-on-(7) looked all right. I felt good,” Sanchez said after the workout. “I thought our ‘move-the-ball’ period was pretty good at the end with our first group, was exactly what we wanted to do. We got in, we converted a couple of third downs, we should have had a touchdown earlier but we ended up punching it in late.”
Smith hoped to learn from his mistakes.
“Down in the red zone I think I need to do a better job at taking care of the ball,” he said. “I know it’s 7-on-7 and you kind of want to force the emphasis. You try to get the ball to the end zone but still be mindful of we’re still working game reps and that drill is made for us to kind of pretend that we’re in the game. We’re down there in the red zone and we’re passing the ball and you’ve always got to be mindful of not turning it over. That’s something that I did today and that can be fixed and now I’ll improve on that.”
For Smith, it was the kind of day you would expect from a rookie, but he has not been an ordinary rookie. Did Ryan believe this distracts from the progress that the former West Virginia standout has made to this point?
“No,” Ryan said. “It’s not like he’s going to be like Nolan Ryan and pitch a shutout out there. As long as we learn from it then it can almost be a positive, but if you don’t learn from it obviously it’s a huge negative.”
Still, Ryan knows turnovers in the red zone are game-changers.
“Here a team is knocking on the door, they’re going to put points on the board and you turn it over. It’s huge,” he noted. “Likewise on offense, you’re right there knocking at the door and you don’t come away with any points based on a turnover. I’ve seen too many of them. It does kill you. I think it’s even bigger than, ‘Hey, it’s an interception, it’s a fumble in the red zone.’ No, no, it’s bigger than that. That’s what we have to understand.”
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Milliner Shakes If Off
Early in practice, rookie cornerback Dee Milliner left practice with an apparent injury to his left hand. Milliner was taken of the field, but did return later.
“I was fine. I just had to get somebody to tape up my fingers,” Milliner said.
The first-round draft pick out of Alabama is wrapping up his first week in camp and has been playing catch up.
“You know after the first week or so, I was good,” Milliner stated. “I was caught up with everything. Like I said it’s just getting out there and doing more reps now and doing more plays and getting more into it as we go.”
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Landry, Pace Stand Out
Milliner wasn’t the only defensive player get reviews during Ryan’s press conference. Eight-year safety Dawan Landry and 11-year linebacker Calvin Pace were both talked about in glowing terms.
“I think he looks good,” Ryan said of Landry. “He does so many things well that go under the radar. He is one of those guys that maybe you don’t appreciate, because he is not a flash player at all. He is just consistent, smart, lines it all up and he is just a good football player. He kind of does the things that don’t get seen, but are very effective.”
How does Landry compare to younger brother LaRon who played for the Jets in 2012 and is now at Indianapolis.
“They’re different people,” Ryan replied. “There is no doubt about it. They are both passionate about the game, they both love to play. I would say that LaRon is probably a little more reckless. Obviously, Dawan is just the opposite of that. He is going to do it right, he doesn’t do all of this stuff. Where his brother, you know what LaRon is like, here he goes. Now he is a missile and a great player. There is no question about it, and we miss him. You know I love the fact that he was here for a year and did a great job for us. They’re just different, but they are both very effective.”
The always dependable Pace did shock his coach during practice.
“He actually made a mental mistake today, which is the first one in I can’t tell you how long,” noted Ryan. “It was alignment and this is why I tell you I was disappointed with the defense, they couldn’t get lined up. Well I purposely throw in different personal groupings at them where they have to change positions and I personally have done that to challenge them. Sure enough, Calvin is getting over late and he was like, ‘That’s on me.’ It was so rare.
“This guy, man oh man, can you get better,” he continued. “I thought in 2009 he was spectacular, I really did, and I think he might be better now. He is having an unbelievable camp. What that means statistically I don’t know, but I’m telling you he is having a monster camp. And of all the guys, someone says, ‘Who are you surprised with?’ And I say ‘I’m surprised with Calvin Pace.’ And I’ve said it. He’s a guy, you guys help me out, I don’t know what this is year wise, but he has always been in great condition-a great conditioned athlete. That is something you need to ask him, how he did it. How he came into this camp and actually is better. Obviously hard work is the No. 1 thing. But it’d be interesting to see what his answer would be.”

 

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