Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Practice notes: 'Stephen, Stephen, Stephen'
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Thoughts and observations from Day 2 of minicamp:
Stephen Hill dropped a pass Wednesday, much to the chagrin of mentor Santonio Holmes.
1. Another bad day for receivers: Before practice, Rex Ryan expressed his displeasure with the receiving corps, mentioning all the drops from Tuesday's practice. So how did they respond? With another shaky performance. Stephen Hill, Jeff Cumberland and Jeremy Kerley were among those with dropped passes. Hill's drops were particularly galling. One came on an end-zone pass in a 7-on-7 drill, and there was another blatant drop in a team drill. Injured WR Santonio Holmes, trying to mentor Hill, expressed his frustration later in a news conference. Asked about Hill's struggles, Holmes said, "Stephen, Stephen, Stephen." Reminded me of the old "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" line from the Brady Bunch. Memo to GM John Idzik: Think about adding a veteran.
2. Sanchez wins Day 2: This was Geno Smith's day to work with the No. 1 offense. Later, QBs coach David Lee explained that Smith and Mark Sanchez alternate every two practices. Smith endured his share of hiccups, completing only two of seven passes (one drop). He's struggling with the little things, as Lee noted afterward. For instance, Smith double-hitched on a post route, causing him to make a late throw. Sanchez was 5-for-7 with one TD pass (WR Joseph Collins) and one sack. For the second straight day, neither quarterback threw an interception. Lee said Sanchez and Smith are running evenly in the competition, but reading between the lines, it sounds like Sanchez is the frontrunner.
3. Offense vs. defense: Holmes and CB Antonio Cromartie started jawing with each other when Sanchez fell to the grass while blocking on a reverse. Holmes, a spectator, barked at Cromartie, saying it's not cool to rough up the quarterback. Cromartie yelled something back. Afterward, Sanchez laughed about it, claiming he fell on his own and that it was no big deal. If you recall, Cromartie was the instigator in a full-scale brawl last summer in training camp.
4. In the red: A full team period was devoted to the red zone. Smith got nine reps, Sanchez seven. Once again, the offense struggled. On one play, Sanchez misfired on a shovel pass. There appeared to be a miscommunication. There was a definite emphasis on the running game, with Chris Ivory, John Griffin and Bilal Powell getting carries.
5. O-Line shuffle: They're trying to build position versatility on the offensive line, so we saw a few players lining up in different spots. Starting guards Willie Colon and Stephen Peterman flip-flopped, with Colon going to right guard, Peterman to the left. Backup tackles Vladimir Ducasse and rookie Oday Aboushi did the same, Ducasse shifting to left tackle, Aboushi to right tackle.
6. Gimpy Joe: RB/KR Joe McKnight tweaked an ankle or a leg early in practice, but he returned. He appeared to be limping slightly while returning kickoffs. He declined to speak to reporters, claiming Thursday is his day to talk. Seriously.
7. Safety dance: Josh Bush worked with the first team, ahead of Antonio Allen, who blew a coverage Tuesday and was yanked from the rotation. The safety competition is far from over, but Bush is ahead of Allen. The question is, is Bush good enough to handle the job?
8. Winslow impresses: Free-agent TE Kellen Winslow, Jr., didn't impress as much as he did on Day 1, but he probably has performed well enough to receive a contract offer. At times, he looks like the best tight end on the field. Ryan gushed about Winslow before practice. Free-agent WR Mike Sims-Walker, also attending minicamp on a tryout basis, hasn't fared as well. Ryan said Sims-Walker "didn't jump out like Winslow."
9. Good cause: Before practice, the Jets announced the fourth annual "Play Like a Jet" college scholarship winners. A $5,000 scholarship was awarded to Adriannah Rodriguez, of Brooklyn, and Eghosasere Idemudia, from the Bronx. They attended Fort Hamilton High and Taft Educational Campus, respectively, and will attend St. Francis College and Medgar Evers in the fall. In addition to the scholarships, the Jets support the PSAL in a variety of ways.