Jul 24, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets cornerbacksJohnny Patrick
(22) andDee Milliner
(27) laugh as they walk out to the field prior to the start of training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
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I was able to attend this year’s Green and White scrimmage up at Cortland last night and the results were definitely a mixed bag. The defense is way ahead of the offense. There were some standout performers on both sides of the ball as well as some players who were invisible. Also they showed some interesting formations and player movement that might be a sign of things to come.
1) No major injuries – You can’t win a Super Bowl in August but you can certainly lose one with a major injury or two. Jermaine Cunningham looked to have a significant ankle/foot injury but other than that it was a clean scrimmage.
2) No turnovers except that Alex Green fumble – The ball placement by the quarterbacks were good and aside from a good route jump by Darrin Walls on a Geno Smith pass and a deflection by Antonio Allen there was a clear concentration on protecting the ball.
3) This is not only a very good front 7 it is also a very deep one as well – In addition to the usual suspects of Wilkerson, Richardson, Ellis, and Harrison, the Jets also have productive players in Douzable, Coples along the line, TJ Barnes and Anthony Grady even played well. At the linebacker position, Demario Davis snuffed out a swing pass to Chris Ivory, Jason Babin had two sacks, Trevor Reilly got in for a sack, Garrett McIntyre held the edge and beat Vick to the sidelines on one play.
4) Rontez Miles steals the show – Miles was all over the place whether he was laying a hit on Salas, or notching two sacks blitzing off the edge (including one against the 1st team), he looked like he belonged. His speed jumped out at you and he looks like he is a player that can contribute. As we all know, though, playing well in a scrimmage is meaningless if it is not followed up by good play in the preseason then hopefully regular season games. Miles continues to benefit from the snaps he is getting while Pryor is out. He will see extended time on Thursday that he needs to utilize.
5) Dee Milliner plays strong – Other than a pass breakup Dee Milliner went unnoticed and that was great. Milliner shut down Eric Decker (or about 80% of Decker who is nursing a sore hamstring). Dimitri Patterson had a tough night on the other side but Dee Milliner stepped up for him. It will be interesting to see what happens when the preseason games start and McDougle is able to jump in and help. Darrin Walls also looked good in coverage.
6) The offensive line – The line run blocked very well, especially behind Colon and Giacomini. I was surprised they were able to gel so quickly. Giacomini on the whole had a good night and any sacks against Smith were because of a lack of receivers open rather than edge pressure. Aboushi and Winters also had some good run blocks next to Giacomini. When they were on the left side it seemed to me they struggled some , especially against the run where the defensive line was getting penetration through both center/guard gaps.
7) The running backs ran strong and hit the holes opened for them – Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory both looked healthy and productive while running behind the line. Other than getting stuffed three times from the one yard line in the 2nd half Alex Green ran strong and looked better than Darryl Richardson to me. It’s clear that it will be a strength of the team.
8) Fun formations – The Jets were in plenty of 2 and yes, 3 tight end sets. They motioned Decker out wide from the backfield, they ran from 4 wide receiver formations and passed from 3 tight end sets. The offense has a long way to go as far as execution but there are a lot more plays they can execute and clearly better players to execute them with. The defense had some fun with the Amoeba defense, they backed off of a cover 0 look into a single high safety, zone blitz pre snap and they blitzed from up the middle and on the edge, both with linemen, corners and safeties.
Jul 24, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets tight end Jace Amaro (88) makes a catch during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
1) Jace Amaro is way behind – Despite Marty Mornhinweg using odd formations and play layouts to get Amaro mismatches like the one he had on multiple occasions versus Kyle Wilson, Amaro just could not take advantage and was invisible the entire scrimmage. He got reps with the 1st team and the 2nd team and it didn’t matter. It is still very early in his career and I think he will get better once he can run his routes without having to think what his responsibilities are on each play. For now, it’s pretty ugly out there for Amaro.
2) The draft class as a whole was disappointing – Calvin Pryor, the team’s 1st round pick, sat while recovering from a head injury, Jace Amaro performed poorly, Dexter McDougle was out with a small groin issue, Jalen Saunders had a catch but also a drop, Shaq Evans did nothing, Jeremiah George had a tackle that I saw but didn’t jump out at me, IK Enemkpali didn’t do anything noteworthy, Quincy Enunwa ran some routes but again nothing to write home about, Brandon Dixon did play well and Trevor Reilly had a sack. It’s very early and the injuries at the top of the draft class hurt them right now but the draft picks need to step it up.
3) The quarterbacks weren’t good or bad – Geno Smith had all of his series but one with the 1st unit and finished 7 of 14 while Michael Vick was mostly with the 2nd team and finished 7 of 13. Smith had a deep ball for 41 yards to Hill, Vick had a couple of nice scrambles for a combined 35 yards. Vick had a nice throw off of a blitz pickup as well. It was clear that either Smith was told not to scramble or decided on his own not to because the opportunities were there, especially on a 3rd and 5 from inside the 20 in the 1st half. He could have picked up the 1st down easily with his feet but seemed to pull back then threw the ball to Nelson on the sideline which was incomplete. I don’t think either quarterback was comfortable tonight whether it be integrating the new personnel, the 1st real game conditions, or the fact that offenses are traditionally behind defenses at this point. If we are seeing this at preseason game two or three then there is a problem but for now this is a dress rehearsal for Thursday night’s preseason opener vs. Indianapolis.
4) The wide receiver star was…Greg Salas? – Other than a 41 yard catch by Stephen Hill, the only productive wide receiver was Greg Salas. Jeremy Kerley, David Nelson, Jaylen Saunders, Shaq Evans, Jacoby Ford, Clyde Gates and even Eric Decker were underwhelming. They weren’t getting open and I believe there were three drops in total. That needs to improve.
5) Dimitri Patterson did not have a good night – Patterson was beaten deep by Stephen Hill, with Dawan Landry late with help over the top, and also beaten on a quick slant by Salas after which the fan sitting behind me starting screaming at Milliner before I reminded him that Milliner wears number 27 not 24. That quieted the fan but not the fact that Patterson has to be better on the outside.
1) Defensive penalties – Being the 1st “game”conditions there were plenty of adjustments to the real referees calling plays the way that the team can expect them to be called in real games. There were two false starts, three late holding calls by the 3rd team line and a ton of pass interference, illegal hands and defensive holding penalties. It is going to be sloppy early but they need to learn from this.