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August 9, 2012

 

First depth chart is out

Jets gearing up for Bengals

Jets

Bob Ellis/staff photographer
New York Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson runs through drills Wednesday, the team’s last SUNY Cortland practice prior to Friday’s preseason game in Cincinnati against the Bengals.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

The New York Jets came out in shoulder pads and shorts for a long Wednesday morning practice before they open their pre-season slate of games Friday night at Cincinnati.
After two days of disruptions with fights at SUNY Cortland, and the resulting sprints as punishment from head coach Rex Ryan, it was time to get focused on the game plan to deal with the Bengals in Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The Jets did not practice in town today, to return following the Bengals game for a Sunday workout that begins at 10:15 a.m.
With the preseason opener in mind, the Jets released their first official depth chart of the 2012 season.
To no one’s surprise, quarterback Mark Sanchez, running back Shonn Greene and fullback John Connor make up the starting backfield. Santonio Holmes and rookie Stephen Hill are listed at wide receivers, with Dustin Keller at tight end. The offensive line has left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, left guard Matt Slauson, center Nick Mangold, right guard Brandon Moore and right tackle Wayne Hunte.
On the defensive side, in the 3-4 alignment Muhammad Wilkerson will be at end, Sione Pouha at nose tackle and Mike DeVito is the tackle. Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas are the outside linebackers with inside the backers are Bart Scott and David Harris. The cornerbacks are Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. The safeties feature the rotating trio of newcomers LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell and returner Eric Smith.
As far as special teams, Nick Folk is listed as the starting kicker with T.J. Conley the punter and holder on place kicks. Jeremy Kerley is listed as the top punt returner with Joe McKnight the kick-off return man. Tanner Purdum is the long snapper.
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QBs LOOK SHARP: Both Sanchez and Tim Tebow had good days on the field overall Wednesday. Sanchez finished the day 6-of-11 with an interception while Tebow went 7-of-11 with a pair of touchdown passes and a sack. One of Tebow’s TD tosses was a 60-yard bomb to Patrick Turner, who also had one of his best days in camp.
“Coach Ryan and I were laughing because it was a blitz zero look where they were bringing everyone,” Tebow said. “Regardless of our protection, they were going to bring one more than we could block. It was man-to-man across the board.”
“It was the same play they ran against me when I broke contain when we played them last year, so we were laughing about that,” added Tebow, referring to the winning touchdown scored against the Jets last year when he was with the Denver Broncos.
“Patrick is smart, he’s durable,” Ryan said of Turner. “Sometimes in the National Football League, durability is as important as athletic ability and we’ve said that and it’s the truth because you’re almost never completely healthy in this league. ... He’s good and continues to make plays. Like I said, he’s a smart, durable and dependable guy.”
Fourth-year man Turner is getting extra reps. as are a number of other young receivers with Santonio Holmes (ribs) and Jeremy Kerley (hamstring) being on the sideline. It is a definite plus for the younger guys looking to make an impression.
“Yes, and getting them out there in practice right now and seeing all the reps that they’re getting is a benefit,” offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said. “There are pros and cons to that. I mean they’re out there and they’re taking a ton of plays. The good news is they’re getting a bunch and the bad news is they’re getting a bunch because that wears on them a little bit too.”
With 10 official days of practice in the books, the Jets will have an off day before meeting Cincinnati Friday night. Sparano says the team is progressing, but not a far as they might be before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement kicked in last year.
“Today was practice number 10,” he stated. “In the old days at this time, it would be practice number about 18. We’re in practice number 10. We’ve made good progress, really good progress along the way. We’ve gotten an awful lot done. We’ve got a long way to go here, but we’ve still got some time.”
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SNAPS FOR McELROY: With much of the focus on Sanchez and Tebow, the third man on the quarterback depth chart is second-year signal-caller Greg McElroy from Alabama.
McElroy was one of the lightning rods in the post-season turmoil with comments about Sanchez and the locker room, but those are things in the past and he is enjoying the extra reps he has been getting this year as Tebow bounces back and forth with the starters and second team during camp drills.
“Camp’s been great,” McElroy said. “It’s been a lot of fun. Cortland has been great for us as far as team bonding and everything. It has been beneficial being back here.”
While many fans in attendance may not always see the offense doing great things, as the defense has been dominant, there are improvements offensively thanks to this highly-ranked defense.
“Absolutely,” McElroy said. “The things this defense is doing happen because they are extremely talented, It is challenging our offense. Seeing all the different looks is allowing us to get a grasp on what our calls should be and how we can use the tools we have. We are really fortunate in that regard.”
With Tebow listed as the number two, but really a package of his own, McElroy is getting more reps with the second team.
“It’s great getting reps,” he replied. “You’re thankful for every rep you get. You just want to make the most of each of them. I have been fortunate to have all the looks I’ve gotten. Tim and Mark have been fantastic in helping to explain different things and helping me out so I can understand the offense more.”

 

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