Thursday, June 14, 2012
Day 3: Minicamp observations
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Thoughts on the final day of the Jets' mandatory minicamp:
1. QB Mark Sanchez probably wishes he ended on a better note. In 12 reps with the first team, he completed only one of 10 passes. There were a number of reasons for the poor showing. There was a dropped pass (TE Dedrick Epps), a miscommunication with TE Jeff Cumberland and a few terrific defensive plays. In 7-on-7 drills, Sanchez was much sharper (4-for-5), his best throw a 20-yard TD strike to TE Dustin Keller. This was an uneven minicamp for the offense, but the players afterward said they were pleased with the overall progress in learning Tony Sparano's system.
2. Unlike Wednesday, backup QB Tim Tebow didn't get any reps with the starters. Overall, he took eight reps with the backups, going 3-for-4, with a sack. His best throw was a nice completion to RB Joe McKnight on a circle route. In a 7-on-7 drill, he uncorked a couple of wobbly passes into the end zone, but they somehow found their targets -- a reception to WR DaMarcus Ganaway and a drop by Kerley. Overall, Tebow performed as expected in minicamp -- a little rough around the edges when throwing from the pocket, but a definite weapon when he has the ball in his hands, running.
3. I think DEs Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples -- 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-6, respectively -- are going to get their hands on a bunch of passes this season. They bring basketball size to the defensive line, and I think that's going to cause problems for quarterbacks. Ask Sanchez; he had a ball batted down by Wilkerson.
4. The Nick Folk-Josh Brown kicking battle is going to be a neck-and-neck horse race. This is a legitimate competition that likely won't be decided until late August. Practice ended with Folk making a 53-yard FG and Brown matching him. It'll be a fun competition to monitor, but something tells me it's not going to garner as much attention at Sanchez-Tebow.
5. This was an up-and-down day for Cumberland, who is a player to watch. He dropped a couple of early passes, but came back with a terrific catch on a throw by QB Greg McElroy to the back of the end zoen in a 7-on-7. Right now, he's their No. 2 tight end, but he's not an accomplished blocker. Keller isn't a road grader, either. It's tough to operate a ground-and-pound running game when you don't have a masher at tight end. Don't be surprised if the Jets acquire a blocking tight end between now and training camp.
6. One thing you notice about Sparano's offense: There aren't a lot of shifts and motions, a la Brian Schottenheimer. That should make it easier to learn. At the same time, it could make the offense more predictable. Make no mistake, the Jets aren't going to trick it up, they're going to try to punch you in the mouth.