- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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The veteran corner, officially elevated to the No. 1 spot after Darrelle Revis went to Tampa Bay, started the first real skirmish of training camp Saturday.
Cromartie was covering Vidal Hazelton in a small drill, tussled with the receiver and threw a punch. They had to be pulled away from each other by coaches, and in the meantime, receiver Clyde Gates and cornerback Donnie Fletcher were going at it as well.
Practice was back to normal soon enough, and coach Rex Ryan has said he likes it when players show that emotion on the field when the competition for a roster spot is on the line. Later, soft-spoken linebacker David Harris said Cromartie was filling the noise void left by Bart Scott.
Sanchez was more consistent, going 9-for-16 in team drills with two drops, mostly on short bubble screens. He did have an interception in a seven-on-seven drill when WR Stephen Hill grabbed a long jump ball but safety Antonio Allen came down with it. Good thing those stats don't go on Sanchez's permanent record.
Smith impressed on his own, exploiting a zone to run the ball to the end zone. Ryan later said he thought Smith got through cleanly. Passing, Smith was 3-for-9 with a drop and a sack that exposed his lack of experience. He had one touchdown pass to Gates that covered about 50 yards before it came down. Gates was alone, so someone likely botched the coverage.
POWELL DROPS: Bilal Powell, whose early-camp playing time increased with Mike Goodson's absence and Chris Ivory's hamstring issue, had three drops Saturday on short passes. Powell, who split reps with Shonn Greene last season, now has free-agent acquisitions competing for that time. Whoever gets time will need to be able to catch the ball in new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's system.
CLYDE THE GLIDE: Gates had another solid day catching the ball. The wide receiver, who may not have seemed high on the depth chart at the start of camp, has had two standout days, earning praise from Ryan at his daily news conferences.
ADVANTAGE FOLK: Kicker Nick Folk made four of his five attempts while his competition, Billy Cundiff, made two of five. Cundiff initially missed at the end of a hurry-up drill. Folk has been the team's kicker since 2010, but the Jets generally have someone in camp pushing him.
McKNIGHT STRUGGLES: After being put on the physically unable to perform list for undisclosed reasons for the first day of camp, running back Joe McKnight appeared winded at practice and later said he was dehydrated. At several points late he dropped to a knee for water. He completed all the drills, however, including kick returns. Those who were there for his first rookie camp had flashbacks. Like Powell, McKnight has an opportunity to impress Mornhinweg in these first few days before Ivory, and possibly Goodson, return.
INJURIES AND ROSTER CHANGES: Ivory (hamstring) and WR Santonio Holmes (foot) didn't practice, as expected. Safety Rontez Miles (hip) was at practice but appeared to limp early and was assisted by trainers.