August 12, 2013
It’s back to work for Jets
Rookie QB Smith hobbles through Sunday’s session
It was back to business for the New York Jets Sunday at SUNY Cortland.
In front of the biggest single-day practice crowd — other than the Green & White Scrimmage that drew over 6,000 spectators — head coach Rex Ryan led Gang Green through its paces even though some Jets were moving a little more gingerly still bumped and bruised from Friday’s 26-17 loss in Detroit.
Rookie quarterback Geno Smith was practicing with a bit of a limp from the ankle injury he received against the Lions, but didn’t miss a snap with the first offense in the two-day rotation that has been ongoing with Mark Sanchez.
“It felt good,” Smith said after completing seven-of-10 passes with four touchdown tosses and one interception. “Obviously the ankle isn’t full strength right now, but I felt pretty good out there. I was limping a little bit. It’s just something that you’ve got to work past, you’ve got to get through. I felt pretty good.”
Smith got treatment on the sprained ankle Saturday and said there was no arguments with the trainers about being able to practice. There were no thoughts of taking a day off with the competition being as close as it is.
“It’s just a minor ankle injury,” he added. “We had X-rays. We did an MRI and had great results. Nothing showed up, so pretty much just a little ankle injury. The plan was to go out there and see how much I could do and as long as I’m out there on the practice field I’m going to give it 100 percent and that’s what I try and do.”
The coaches were a little more intense at the Sunday practice.
The 11 penalties against Detroit and some lack of focus had everyone a little edgy. Among those was offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg who got on Smith when he was sacked once. Mornhinweg barked at the offensive unit a number of times and and also addressed a lack of hustle on some plays.
“Marty was staying on me,” Smith said. “He kept telling me, ‘Don’t limp. Don’t limp.’ I was just out there trying to give it my best and continue to compete in practice. When the play was called it’s not like I can take myself out, so I had to work through it.
“I mean, that’s Marty,” he continued. “He doesn’t want me out there limping. He’s that type of coach. He’s going to coach me hard. He’s going to coach all of us hard. That’s the way he is. He’s an old school coach. He told us about Brett Favre and the way he played through every single injury, so I try to be the same way.”
Sanchez appears to have the lead in the quarterback competition after a decent showing in Detroit despite the pick-six that led to the first Lions points of the night. In Sunday’s workout, the fifth-year veteran completed just three-of-nine passes with one drop and one sack. He did not turn the ball over via a fumble or interception with the second offense.
Sanchez watched the tape from Friday’s game and learned from his mistake, a pass that Detroit rookie Ziggy Ansah picked off and returned 14 yards for a touchdown.
“I think just on that screen pass I just need to throw it in the dirt,” Sanchez said candidly. “If it’s a dead play it’s a dead play, and let it go. But I think we did a ton of great things out there and a lot of things we can improve upon. It’s the first game. You get the first-game jitters out for a lot of these young guys and now we’ll see how they play in the second game.”
One of the biggest things Sanchez watches in all film sessions is his footwork and how it can improve.
“I think Coach (David) Lee just puts an emphasis on it and he was pleased with the way our footwork held up in the pocket,” Sanchez said. “Having to move a little bit but not necessarily breaking contain and just staying in there, trusting the guys up front and that was one of the things that really came to life on the film was watching the guys up front.
“Even if they gave up a little bit of ground on a pass rush scenario or situation,” he explained, “they were right back in there to stay firm and keep them away from the quarterback’s feet and keep us free. I thought that first unit looked really good and it was nice to see them play as a first group there for the first time.”
As for those false start penalties, Sanchez said, “We can keep repping it in practice but at the end of the day it’s just got to be a mental focus and it’s got to be something that guys are so well-versed in. We’ve repped it so many times that we’ve got to use that as a weapon. We’ll continue to improve on that.”
Sanchez did notice how quickly Mornhinweg called the plays in a game situation during the Detroit game.
“I mean, the plays are in quick,” Sanchez said. “He’s in your headset right away. So you better be ready, you better hear the personnel call. You’ve just got to be on your toes.”
It was only Sunday and the Jets don’t host Jacksonville until this coming Saturday, but the question was already asked about who would start at quarterback against the Jaguars.
“We haven’t discussed it yet,” Ryan said. “We’re still going to get through the week. There could be some factors that change things but I’m not going to get into those specifics. Obviously, there could be some factors that may change the original thought. We’ll see as we get closer, there may not be. It could be anything, it could be medical, it could be whatever, but we’ll see.”
Another battle taking shape is at safety and second-year man Jaiquawn Jarrett is seeing his stock rise.
“It’s been going well,” Jarrett said. “Having the opportunity to learn from Dawan (Landry), Double A (Antonio Allen), Josh Bush, DT (Dennis Thurman) and Coach Mac (Tim McDonald). They’ve been coaching me up every step of the way, so it’s been going well.
“Just getting out there and getting better each day in practice,” he added. “Continuing to prepare as if I’m a starter or wherever I’m at on the depth chart, continue to prepare. I have to learn the defense in and out anyway, so no matter where I’m at on the depth chart, I want to make sure I continue to prepare.”
“Jaiquawn is a guy that is really dedicated to learning the defense, obviously a brand new defense for him,” Ryan said of the former Philadelphia Eagle. “He spends a ton of time doing that. He’s worried about where he is at. He’s worried about how he plays when he gets out there. He just keeps working his tail off. Antonio Allen also, you go back and watch the tape, he played extremely well. That’s going to be a great competition. We had Jaiquawn running with the ones (first team) today, but again, that’s a great competition there.”
With preseason game number two coming up, Ryan says the time to name the starters for this 2013 regular season is still far from decided.
“I think the ideal time is sooner than later so they get all the reps and whatever, but we’re not there, at a lot of those positions,” Ryan said. “What I’m encouraged about is it’s not that somebody’s given a job or because the lack of quality play from the guy you’re competing with. That hasn’t been the case in any situation. There’s still a lot of starting jobs up for grabs right now and it’s because both guys are battling and doing well for it.”
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