Jets practice report: 'Running in sand'

August, 4, 2014
Aug 4
3:10
PM ET
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A few takeaways from Monday's New York Jets practice:

Camp fatigue: It was a sluggish practice. The crowd was sparse and there wasn't much energy on the field. Rex Ryan used two analogies to describe the team's demeanor: "Running in sand ... dead legs." Get the picture? Even the sure-handed Eric Decker got caught up in the malaise, dropping a couple of passes in the positional drills and one pass in a 7-on-7 drill. He appeared to be laboring. He's still bothered by a sore hamstring and, according to Ryan, Decker also has a foot ailment.

Situational football: Part of the practice was devoted to specific situations. They practiced the four-minute offense, playing with a lead and trying to run out the clock. Obviously, there was a heavy emphasis on running the ball. The offense was penalized for an illegal formation, annoying Ryan. Later, they practiced end-game situations -- specifically, the final six plays of the game, trailing on the scoreboard. It culminated with Hail-Mary heaves into the end zone.

QB update: Because of the emphasis on situational football, it wasn't a heavy passing practice. Geno Smith went 3 of 5, including two completions to Decker. Michael Vick was 3 of 4, including an intentional spike. Vick didn't get any reps with the first team; Smith took eight. So, yes, it was a fairly low-key practice from a passing standpoint, but one play jumped out: Smith, showing a rare fiery side, barked at Stephen Hill for running the wrong route on a play that ended up as an incompletion.

Smash mouth: There was a new offense-defense drill that caught the eye. It was a 6-on-5 drill -- three linemen, the quarterback, the fullback and a running back, facing five defenders. Obviously, it was a run-heavy drill, with the scaled-down offensive line practicing various combination blocks. With fewer bodies involved, it made it easier for observers to see how the linemen work in concert. There were two 6-on-5s going on simultaneously, making for more reps and more efficiency.

Pryor's back -- sort of: Rookie safety Calvin Pryor, sidelined eight days with a concussion, shed the red, no-contact jersey late in practice and made an appearance with the third-team defense. Afterward, Ryan said he's not sure if the first-round pick will play Thursday night in the preseason opener.

Medical report: Four new injuries to report. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson (calf, ankle) was limited, cornerback Ellis Lankster (back) and tackle Markus Zusevics (knee) didn't practice. Zusevics' injury sounds like it might keep him out for a while. With Patterson on the sideline, Darrin Walls worked with the first team. ... Tackle Brent Qvale suffered a head injury and didn't finish. ... Running back Bilal Powell (hamstring), rookie wide receiver Shaq Evans (shoulder) and cornerback Johnny Patrick (hamstring) didn't practice. ... Rookie cornerback Dexter McDougle (groin), running back Alex Green (chest), Jeremy Reeves (hamstring) and rookie defensive end Zach Thompson (shoulder) were limited.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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