Jets camp report: Day 18
August, 10, 2014
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot issues from New York Jets' training camp:
- The Jets have a cornerback crisis, the result of a double whammy in practice. Top corner Dee Milliner suffered a high-ankle sprain, according to a league source, and rookie Dexter McDougle blew out his left knee, the team announced. What are the odds? Losing McDougle hurts their depth, which wasn't great before Sunday, but they can manage without him. The primary concern is Milliner, who figures to miss at least a few weeks. The Jets open against the Oakland Raiders in four weeks, which means he could be on the sideline for Week 1. They'll really need him in Week 2, when they face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. This was a horrible day for the Jets, who got hit twice in their most vulnerable area.
- So does John Idzik deserve criticism for this predicament? Yes and no. You can't blame the general manager for an injury, let alone two at the same position. It's part of the game, and it can ruin the best of plans. But here's the problem: This wasn't the best of plans. The player he chose to replace Antonio Cromartie -- Dimitri Patterson -- is an injury-prone veteran who, not surprisingly, is injured. Funny how that happens. It's not serious, and he should be on the field soon, but they can't feel confident in Patterson's long-term durability. Idzik left himself short at cornerback, the most important position in Rex Ryan's defense, by not splurging for one of the big-name free agents. Obviously cap space wasn't the issue. A top-tier corner would've greatly minimized the curent damage.
- Don't look now, but the Jets' draft class is shrinking before our eyes. McDougle (third round) is done for the year, and wide rceiver Shaq Evans (fourth round) also could be finished because of a shoulder injury, according to Ryan. This is a terrible blow for McDougle, who missed the final nine games of Maryland's 2013 season because of major shoulder surgery. By the time he appears in a regular-season game in the NFL -- September, 2015 -- he will have gone two years without playing. That's tough. The Jets had high hopes for McDougle, whom they expected to push Patterson for the starting job opposite Milliner.
- Ryan said he's confident in his cornerback depth. Without a doubt, this is the depth they chose in the offseason, meaning: They re-signed Darrin Walls ($950,000) and Ellis Lankster ($815,000) to one-year contracts and they acquired veteran Johnny Patrick on waivers. In other words, it's not like they sat on their hands. They were proactive in retaining their own backups. Now they'd better hope they're the right backups.
- Rookie wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, a disappointment over the first two weeks, exploded with two long receptions -- a 70-yarder in team drills and a 45-yarder in a seven-on-seven drill. Unfortunately for the Jets, the latter came at the expense of Milliner, who got tangled up with Enunwa when they both went up for the ball. There haven't been too many great practice days by rookies, but Enunwa -- a sixth-round pick from Nebraska -- broke out in a big way. As Michael Vick said, "Quincy has really been turning it on."