The Jets had their first day of rookie mini-camp yesterday and Head Coach Rex Ryan discussed the practice along with his impressions of the newest members of the team.
Some of the Jets top draft picks gave a perspective of their first day and how they are handling the process while trying to improve.
“Guys are flying around teaching them pursuit drills,” Coach Rex Ryan said about the first rookie practice. “How each rookie camp is like starting over wow we have a little teaching to do … it is always fun to really go back and start on the very basics.”
“I like the enthusiasm,” Ryan described the pace of practice. “Some of the guys just jump out at you when you look at Coples and you look at Hill … and Davis.” He went on to say, “The drafted guys you just want to see them move around and really start learning the system a little bit … You have to keep going and reinforcing things.”
Ryan described the energy first round draft pick Quinton Coples brought saying, “(It) is kind of fun to watch Coples … passing guys up in that pursuit drill. I know it is not an official stat, I don’t know how many sacks he had last year, but he had about six today.”
He also discussed Coples’ potential versatility, “Today we just had him (Coples) playing the end position … could we stand him up at a rush position, yes we can … He has that kind of ability, he can run, and obviously he has that length that you look for.”
Ryan quipped at the notion that Coples has already “picked up the playbook,” saying, “We love the fact that he thinks he has it down. This is one practice and he has four defenses in and our library is a little more extensive than that.” He continued, “I like his confidence … the great thing is we will hold him to it now.
He went on to say it will take a team effort to make Coples or any player great, “With the help of his teammates and (Defensive Line Coach) Karl Dunbar … We need on to be successful collectively, individual is great … but it is going to take the collective effort. We want everybody to have the desire to be great. He (Coples) has the ability to be great but that doesn’t guarantee anything, there is no substitute for hard work but we’re excited about his potential.”
Coples seemed to enjoy getting his Jets career under way, “Practice went well today I enjoyed it looking forward to the next one … It’s been good I’ve been learning the scheme … I’m excited.” He went to describe how he fits as a Jet, “I think I fit great that’s one of the reasons they picked me in the first round. They felt I could fit real good with the defensive line, defensive front, and defensive scheme.” Coples stated he wanted to show he could, “compete on the highest level,” and was “excited about becoming part of his (Ryan’s) defense and excited about him coaching me, helping become great.”
Ryan had praise for the athleticisms displayed by second round draft pick wide receiver Stephen Hill, “We were running … an inside cut at twenty yards and ‘number two’ (the other receiver) goes up the field and Hill (is) already right there with him, so they kind of intersected.” Ryan offered a solution to this problem, “We better make sure we have another guy that can fly playing that ‘two position’ if we’re going to run that route cause Hill can fly.” He continued, “Wow, I mean that’s a big fast guy it jumps out. Obviously the first thing you notice is the size he has but then when you see him down the field you’re like wow this kid really can run.”
Even with all the physical tools Coach Ryan expressed concerns about having to high of expectations from a rookie receiver as Hill still needs time to develop, “It is rare for rookies to come into this league and really have an impact as a receiver … I know he (Hill) has that desire, I know Sanjay (Lal) is an outstanding teacher (and) the fact you have (veteran) Santonio Holmes … it will be interesting to see how quickly he can progress.”
Hill was comfortable with the pace of practice saying, “It really is the same pace … we had to go … at Georgia Tech.” He explained that improvement doesn’t stop during off-time, “Went out (at home) on our own (with a former teammate) and he’d call out routes and just run it.”
“Demario Davis … reminds me of a young Bart (Scott),” Ryan said. “Natural leadership, either you have it or you don’t, and he seems like he has it … His presence on the field and in the locker room, there are some guys that have that.”
He even compared Davis ‘s leadership skills to that of Ray Lewis, “The way he carries himself … does he have that thing that he could lead men and that’s rare and some guys have it, Ray Lewis had it the day he walked into Baltimore.”
Davis described what it will take for him to become an asset for the team, “Learn the defense as fast as I can learn the terminology. The main thing I’m just trying to adjust the terminology of the defense the faster I learn the defense the more efficient I’ll be on the field.”
He went on to describe what it means to be a Jet, “I’m really excited there was no other team I wanted to play for than to be a Jet when you put that helmet on there is a responsibility that goes with it you have to ‘play like a Jet’ and ‘playing like a Jet’ don’t just mean play NFL football, playing like a distinct type, of NFL football player.”
Ryan gave his evaluation of Australian rugby player turned tight end Hayden Smith, “I don’t think he’s going to have an impact immediately but … this guy is studying like crazy I see him in the facility and he is out there by himself running routes going through assignments. This guy wants it, he’s been successful in other areas … He looked descent out there. This guy’s never put on a helmet before, never ran a route, never did anything like that and when he’s out there could you tell that? He certainly looks the part he’ll be given every opportunity to be a factor for us.”
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