Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez may be the most watched competition that is going on this off-season.
I decided to take a trip up to Florham Park yesterday to go check out Jets mini camp. With the team looking much different then it has in recent years, I was real interested to see how the team would mesh together. Although they were only in shorts,jerseys and helmets, it was still really nice to just see some football being played again. As John Idzik has stated, the motto for the off-season is “competition”. Just because they were not fully equipped does not mean that yesterday was not an important day. Each day counts for every single guy on this roster. Here are a few of my own personal observations from Jets practice yesterday.
Kellen Winslow looks like he has something left in the tank- Although he has only been in the green and white for two days, just by watching you can certainly tell that Winslow can still play. Early in the practice, Winslow and the rest of the tight ends were doing a route running drill. I made sure to watch Winslow closely to see how he looked. What I saw was a guy who had quick feet and made crisp, sharp cuts. He did not drop a pass either, but hands have never been an issue for Kellen. After practice, I told Kellen to make sure to get in the endzone often this year. His response to me was ” don’t you worry about that I will”. With the Jets TE situation still up in the air, Winslow has a great chance to not only make the team, but make a serious contribution early on.
Stephen Hill is still raw- Stephen Hill has all the tools to become a solid wide receiver in this league. He has the height, he has above average speed, and is a pretty good route runner. For a 2nd year WR, that is hard to complain about. But Hill is a frustrating player. It is not secret that Hill really needs to work on simply catching the football. On one play during 7 vs 7s, Hill dropped an easy touchdown pass from Geno Smith. These are the things that just cannot happen. Hill is a very hard-worker, and you can tell he really wants to continue to get better. Hill has a long ways to go, but sooner or later I think he will be a really nice weapon for the Jets.
The Defense is much faster- Once again, I know it is still early and the guys do not even have pads yet, but the Jets defensive line looks very very quick. All throughout practice, rookie Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Coples were being used all over the defensive line. The four guys who seemed to get off the line very quick were Mo Wilkerson, Richardson, Coples, and Kenrick Ellis. With veteran Antonio Garay and fan favorite Damon “snacks” Harrison providing depth, the defensive line should be the least of the Jets worries this year.
These are just a few observations that stood out to me during practice today. As for the QB’s, neither Smith nor Sanchez shined today and both had a share of good and bad throws. One thing that is quite obvious is that the defense is simply much faster than they were last season. A name to keep an eye on is Ricky Sapp. Ricky has great speed on the outside and has had 3 of what would have been sacks if hitting was allowed in the last two days. I will be heading up to more practices later this summer so be sure to keep an eye out for them!