Jets Open Minicamp to the Public: First Close look at the Team
Added by Justin O'Connell on June 22, 2012.
Quarterbacks, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow work out during New York Jets minicamp.
The Jets opened minicamp from June 13th through June 14th to the public, where everyone who watched could get a sense of how the team was coming together. It was the first chance for fans to get a close look at their team.
Who but Tim Tebow was the first to walk onto the field, leading the way with the young group of quarterbacks behind him (not Sanchez though). Shortly after this, the rest of the team made their way out onto the field; some acknowledged the fans, while others kept to themselves. Mark Sanchez, Kyle Wilson, and Santonio Holmes were the last to walk onto the field; Holmes being the very last one.
After all the players were on the field, Rex Ryan appeared out of the Jets training facility and received a loud ovation from the crowd. Ryan looked much smaller from last season and many fans joked, “He’s so small we can’t even find him out there.”
Once on the field, the offense started their walk-throughs, while the defense got loose and stood around. Sanchez’s first pass was caught by Chaz Schillens, who turned out to be a favorite target for the fourth year quarterback. Hill and Holmes were very limited, but they did run a few plays in the beginning of practice; they appeared to only be running about 50% though. Both Holmes and Hill had 1st team snaps, which gives the notion that if Hill can stay healthy he will probably be the Jets number two receiver. This could mean Jeremy Kerely could be playing the slot, where he excelled at the end of last season. Hill, though limited, did not drop a pass all practice.
Walk-throughs continued till about 11:30, but, during that time, both Sanchez and Tebow threw mostly short passes over the middle; they both had some real zip on the ball. The crowd awed as Tebow threw a rifle to wide receiver, Eron Riley.
Ryan was working one on one with Sanchez during warm-ups, getting in his face and making sure he ran every play to precision. One of the most interesting plays during the walk-through was when Ryan had Sanchez and Tebow line up together and made them throw passes to each other.
Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano was the loudest person on the field and made it known whenever there was a miscue. For example Hayden Smith, who still is getting use to playing football, ran a wrong route, so Sparano ran up to Smith yelling at him, but went to Sanchez encouraging him for making the right throw.
The team then lined up for runs where Darrelle Revis seemed to be moving slow, which came to show itself again later in practice. This might have something to do with his contract situation that he has expressed that he is not happy about or it might not have been nothing; either way, it was noticeable.
On a side note, newcomer LaRon Laundry came out and ran with the team and appears to be on the right path to recovery.
After running, the Jets special teams went to work and practiced kick returns. Josh Brown was out kicking the ball first to returners, Kyle Wilson and Rookie, Royce Pollard. Wilson looked dynamic in the return game and made about four people miss on two returns.
Finally after walk-throughs, runs, and special teams finished, the team moved to 11 on 11s.
The defense did a lot of standing around the first hour and a half; it was mostly a walk through with a small portion of running. It was not until 11 on 11s when the defense started to actually practice.
The player who stood out the most would have to be outside linebacker, Aaron Maybin, who was just a beast. He put on some weight over the off season, but he also was able to keep his speed up. Maybin’s technique was very impressive; he was able to run over his man or juke around them.
Quiton Couple’s play was limited, but the few snaps he did have he was a monster and showed why the Jets drafted him as high as they did. His style of play was similar to Julius Peppers; that is a bold prediction, but that is how incredible his build and skills are.
Newcomer Yeremiah Bell was all over the field and even had one sack. Although he is getting up there in age, 34, he can still play at a high level and because he will be splitting time with Landry the Jets are hoping he will not tire out during the season.
Rookie, Josh Bush, played mostly second team, but did get a few snaps with the first team defense. He is primarily a cover safety and was used to cover either the slot receiver or tight ends, which will be a necessity against the New England Patriots
The Jets corners should be a strength for this defense, especially if Kyle Wilson can play up to his first round pedigree of a couple years ago. His recover speed was much better from last season and he was much more physical on the line. He broke up a couple of passes and was tight on every receiver he covered. Revis’ play was sporadic, which was a little concerning. He was beat on a couple plays badly, but also made an outstanding diving batted pass. Antonio Cromartie did not really get too much action, which means he was doing his job in coverage.
The Jets third round pick, Demario Davis, also stood out in practice. Ryan used him as the A gap blitzer and with his speed he was able to cause a lot of disruption for the offense. He received some first team reps and played in Bart Scott’s position; the two could be sharing time this season. On a side note Scott lost some weight and it showed in his coverage ability, which was a big problem for this veteran last season.
The Jets run game has been the key to their offensive success over Ryan’s tenor and after last season they will have to get better. Green, McKnight, Ganaway look to be the top running backs in that order. McKnight put about 15lbs on in order to handle more of the load and Green was 100% healthy. His cuts were sharp and all of his runs were for at least five or more yards. Ganaway, a rookie, also received some first team reps and caught a couple passes out of the backfield and ran well up field.
As for the quarterback controversy…..well there is no controversy. Sanchez was clearly the better quarterback, going 12-19 with a TD; He was very precise with all his passes and most of his incompletions were drops. Tebow finished the day 4-7 with one TD and one INT, but he did look great running the ball; his throwing however was far from accurate.
The third string quarterback position is still up for grabs, but right now Matt Simms is getting all the third team snaps and excelled against the Jets 3rd team defense..
Schillins looked like he could do big things for this Jets offense; he did not drop a pass, he had good speed, and was able to get separation (on some good corners I might add). Schillins, who is injury proned, looked to be their best receiver of the day, so if he stays healthy maybe he could turn into this year’s comeback player of the year.
The Jets tightends looked like they are going to be the focal point to the passing game. Dustin Keller, Jeff Cumberland, and Josh Baker all had multiple catches and for big gains (more than 15 yards). Baker was unbelievable in practice, he caught anything that came his way and was a great blocker. Cumberland and Keller were stretching the field and running deep routes over the middle, which is something Sparano likes to do with his tightends.
Holmes and Hill were both sitting out of 11 on 11 drills because of their hamstrings, but they should be fine for training camp.
Hill said, “I’ll be 100% for training camp. The break before it will be really helpful for me.”