May 22, 2013; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan during organized team activities at the New York Jets training facility. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
New York Jets’ OTAs are coming to a conclusion here this week. There has been no pad work yet, but they have finally gotten to all play together, and let these new competitions move to the forefront. As we move into minicamp in the next few weeks, it is rapidly becoming an exciting time in Jets Nation.
However, the OTA sessions did not exactly come off without any “hitches”. We are still watching the quarterback play this year, although the competition is to a different level. In true deja vu, the wide receivers are hurt again, and he has a new defensive lineman to work into the system.
He is quite excited by Sheldon Richardson so far:
We haven’t put the pads on, but he’s explosive and I know you guys recognize it too. It’s not hard to recognize a guy that plays with that kind of energy, that kind of enthusiasm. We talk about it here, playing like a Jet. Nobody likes that term, but it’s a huge term to us. And sometimes when you go out, you send scouts out, you talk about, hey, look, we shouldn’t have to teach desire and effort and all of that type of stuff. Certainly this is a guy you don’t have to worry about. How athletic is he? You guys saw him in college. He actually played middle linebacker some. It’s not surprising that we’re seeing what we’re seeing. He just jumps in there. You put him all over the place and he’s just hitting it and he’s going 100 mph. When you put him in there with a Quinton Coples, with Big Mo (Muhammad Wilkerson), Kenrick (Ellis), all those type of guys, the energy, and not just them. But from Snacks (Damon Harrison), from, we got (Antonio) Garay on the field today, which is great to see. But all those guys. I mentioned it before, the job (defensive line coach) Karl Dunbar’s done. You see just the energy that those guys are playing with. They push each other. And that’s when you know you’ve got a great unit.
Coach Ryan even has started to see Mark Sanchez,….wait for it…throw the ball away?
Well, I saw it even today in the red zone. That’s why I said ‘hey look. It’s not there. You made a good move by not trying to force the issue.’ And I think he did that a few times. That is encouraging to me. An incompletion is not the worst thing that can happen to you, as we know. We have to eliminate those mistakes down there in the red zone, those turnovers. And that’s clear to not just me but everybody. I was encouraged by some of those things. The defense did a great job on some coverages that they did, so get rid of it. Don’t make it a horrendous down.
Finally he touched on the obvious difficulties with evaluating the wide receivers while they are on the sidelines, or participating in the “Tour de France” as Mike Westhoff used to say:
They haven’t been hurt the whole time. We had some guys that were really making strides, I thought. I really liked the way Gates was progressing and Stephen Hill was really progressing, I thought. That was really encouraging to see. Obviously both those two guys have top-end speed with anybody in the league. You’re looking at two guys (we) really want to take a jump, those two we want them to take a big jump and we need them to. That hasn’t changed. We saw some of it coming and then obviously with them having to back down through OTAs it’s been disappointing.
We know that coach Ryan is always going to be a cockeyed optimist. Any guy that can talk about the talent on a roster, before that roster is formed (last lockout), is a guy that is a major optimist.
It does seem that he likes what he is saying though. I can’t wait to see more.