By Tom Shane
It was kind of a disappointing practice. In the 11-on-11’s, the QB’s get what looks like four downs to get a first and, if they don’t, or they turn it over, the next guy goes. This blows because Sanchez is working with second and third team wideouts who probably won’t make the team–guys like Huey Whittaker and Britt Davis, with TE’s like Jack Simmons and Richard Owens–and none of them get open. It’s a major oversight, imo, of the coaching staff to let Sanchez lose snaps to Eric Ainge because Huey Whittaker can’t get open against Dwight Lowery. Ridiculous.
The story of the day is the fights. The scrubs clearly smell the turk coming, so they’re trying to make a name for themselves by pushing veterans after the snap. The first, and easily the best one, was Thomas Jones vs. James Ihedigbo in OL/TE’s/Backs vs. DL/LB/S drills. Jones bounced it outside and took exception to Ihedigbo’s shoulder pad in his chest late on the play. Jones is diesel, but Ihedigbo had more help, and Jones ended up 5 yards behind the fight being held back while the OL rushed in with a bunch of pushing and shoving. Alot of whooping and hollering followed from both sides of the ball.
Best part of this play, however, came before the fight. Tony Richardson came through untouched into the defensive backfield, reached out and–I swear to God–knocked Kerry Rhodes almost onto his ass with three fingers. Just reached out and gave him a lil love-shove. I know I rip on Kerry, but that was inexcusable. Rhodes has done nothing this camp, even though he almost had a pick today on CLemens in 7-on-7’s. Leonhard is going to be the star DB this year–just watch.
Without Kris Jenkins in the game the OL was able to move around the D pretty handily after that, with Leon, on the first play after he fight where the entire D was talking smack, wiggled through a hole and made them all look silly. Guy is a freak.
There was another skirmish a few plays later–scrub on scrub action–and a third fight that was more goofing around by Ahmad Carroll than anything else. Ahmad was pushing on one of the backs, doing an okie-doke, and the backed off laughing. As he was walking away, big Robert Turner jokingly bear-hugged Carroll, and Lowery and Revis jumped on Turner’s back and they all spilled to the ground. It was funny, trust me.
Vernon Gholston started the day out looking like he had something to prove, then reverted to Gholston-level play and was easily handled by the likes of Turner and Matt Slauson on a pass-rush drill. WHen Vernon gets blocked, he seems to press forward into the O-lineman and he just gets engulfed, like he has Velcro on his jersey.
~~Revis looks incredible. True, he hasn’t been challenged by anyone other than COtchery, who beats him for the occasional catch, but Revis is playing at another level. It reminds me of Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, when he finally figures out how many powers he has, and he turns it on and, without emotion, just goes out and destroys people. He is covering people effortlessly out here, whether in 7-on-7 drills, or in scrimmage action. It’s really great to watch. You just hope it carries over when he has to cover a real threat like ANdre Johnson, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. If Revis comes out and gets beat by Johnson, that will be a further indictment on Tannenbaum for not bringing in a legit #1 receiver to help out both the offense AND the defense.
~~Just want to say a quick apology for trashing Leonhard’s signing like I did. Even before the guy makes a play in game action, his presence here seems to be invaluable. He is the de-facto secondary coach, with Revis and Rhodes constantly coming up to him between plays to get advice and input, but he also seems to be an emotional leader as well. During the boring-ass punt return drills, Leonhard can be seen standing back there with Leon goofing on the crowd, and keeping Leon loose. He does the same on defense. Him, along with Bart Scott have seemingly brought true leadership to a defense, and a team, that was sorely missing it last year. Not to mention Leonhard’s ability in the base defense, where he has been the Jets’ second-best DB behind Revis. Look for him, and not Rhodes, to be making the “Ed Reed” plays this season for us, as it looks like Pettine has gone out of his way to put Leonhard in that role over Rhodes, who has largely been playing deep center.
~~AT backup ILB, it looks like Izzo and Kenwin Cummings are getting most of the snaps that Scott and Harris don’t take. Izzo is a veteran who clearly knows what he is doing, even ifhe IS tiny, and Cummings has looked pretty physical on the inside. Still, they are a both a drop-off from Scott and Harris. The guy I’ve been trying to watch is #47 Brandon Renkart out of Rutgers. On Saturday, they had him playing what looked to be an almost hybrid SS/OLB role where he would be covering backs (including Leon) out on the margins, but today he has been playing inside and hasn’t really shown much. He looks a bit small for ILB, and gets eaten up. Jamaal Westerman absolutely killed a tackling sled this morning, but he seems to be struggling with the transition from collegiate DE to pro ILB, and is a practice squadder right now, imo.
~~Receivers continue to be a problem. Clowney has been the best of the worst, and that ain’t saying much. Nothing from Brad Smith or Chansi Stuckey in the base O, but they both have had their moments in one-on-one drills, getting behind the back-up DB’s, most of whom won’t make the squad.
~~TE, fuggedaboudit. And now their only blocking TE, Richard Owens, is hurt with an ankle. It’s only been a few days, but it’s already a desperate situation at the position. Shout out to bitonti and slats who argued for drafting a TE in round one this year. Looks like you guys may have been spot-on. It is immeasurable how much the lack of a TE has hurt the QB competition so far.
~~The QB’s: Erik Ainge has been the best QB today, and that sucks for the team. The Sanchez report is as follows–He throws a nifty, nice, catchable ball in one-on-ones, but is saddled with back-ups whenever they get to 7-on-7’s and 11-on-11’s, and Joe Montana would look like garbage throwing to some of these guys. Hopefully, tomorrow, Sanchez gets a look at first-team QB to see what he’s got, because CLemens is all but conceding the competition to him with the picks he’s thrown. If you are a conspiracy theory guy, you might say that there aren’t a whole lot of broken hearts in the front office to see Clemens, battling Revis and the #1 D, losing the starting position to Sanchez, who is essentially being shielded from screwing up in camp. Hmmmmm.
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