Rex Report: Assesses lack of RB depth

August, 2, 2013
8/02/13
2:48
PM ET
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Chris Ivory is out with a hamstring injury and Mike Goodson isn't in camp because of personal reasons. On Friday, Joe McKnight left practice with an undisclosed ailment. Suddenly, the Jets' backfield looks thin.

Rex Ryan didn't sound concerned.

"I haven't really noticed it," he said Friday. "We picked up [Chad] Spann. We're actually using Lex [Hilliard] and Tommy [Bohanon] in the one-back sets. When Chris come backs, obviously you'll feel better about your depth."

Hilliard and Bohanon, a seventh-round pick, are fullbacks.

FUN NIGHT: The highlight of training camp occurrs Saturday night, with the annual Green & White scrimmage. No starting jobs will be decided, especially not the quarterback competition, but Ryan said he's looking forward to having some electricity in the atmosphere -- and he didn't mean a potential lightning storm.

"I think when fans are there, and the spirit of the fans, [the intensity] does pick up," said Ryan, responding to a question about the Mark Sanchez-Geno Smith battle. "You can say what you want, but the tempo does naturally pick up. That'll be fun to watch."

Ryan declined to say which quarterback will get the first reps. Based on the rotation, it should be Smith. But he said both likely will get first-team reps.

HALF FULL/HALF EMPTY: Ryan liked what he saw from his defense in the goal-line drill.

"Big Mo was impressive to say the least," he said of DE Muhammad Wilkerson. "With that defensive line, you have to create a new line of scrimmage or you're not going to be able to stop people. I thought last year we struggled on defense. They were able to run the ball down there on us some. We have to get better at that. Hopefully, today was an indication that we will."

On the downside, they lost rookie C Dalton Freeman to a potentially serious injury. Ryan said they have to conduct live goal-line drills in camp because there's no guarantee that the situation will come up in a preseason game.

PRACTICE STARS: Ryan singled out OLB Ricky Sapp and WR Stephen Hill for top performances. Ryan said he was impressed by Hill's ability to rebound from a one-day illness that kept him out of Thursday's practice.

BIG WILLIE: Willie Colon grew up in the South Bronx and attended Hofstra, so he's as New York as a Nathan's hot dog. Ryan loves the attitude that the former Steelers guard has brought to the offense.

"I love the presence of Willie Colon," he said. "He brings a mentality. There's a certain presence. You're glad he's on your side. He's a guy you want in your fox hole. Obviously, it would have to be a big fox hole."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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