Monday, July 29, 2013
What we learned on Day 5
By Rich Cimini
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Observations from the press box:
1. Hurting at safety: In a mild surprise, Rex Ryan indicated that second-year player Antonio Allen is the leading contender to start opposite Dawan Landry at safety. Allen is ahead of former Eagle Jaiquawn Jarrett, with Josh Bush working behind Landry at the other spot. Ryan said some nice things about Allen, but also noted, "He's not there yet." Frankly, Ryan didn't sound sold. Allen played only 72 defensive snaps last season, the equivalent of one game. His skill set is similar to that of Landry, meaning they would have two "box" safeties in the lineup. I thought Bush would be a better complement to Landry because of his pass-coverage skills, but the Jets have other ideas.
2. Flying colors in the red zone: In the first red zone-heavy practice of camp, Geno Smith stood out with his ability to throw on the run and rifle passes into the end zone. He hit Jeremy Kerley on the run for an 11-yard TD and he found Stephen Hill in the back of the end zone with a seeing-eye laser. That opened plenty of eyes. A year ago, the Jets were awful inside the 20. Mark Sanchez threw four interceptions and compiled a 54.1 passer rating, according to ESPN Stats & Information. You can't win with those kind of numbers. It was only one practice, but Smith made an impression.
3. Easy does it: CB Dee Milliner finally made it to camp. We won't see him on the field until Wednesday (no practice Tuesday), and even then it won't be at full throttle. The Jets gave every indication they will be extremely cautious with their prized rookie, who hasn't participated in any football activity since Alabama's bowl game. The last thing they need is for him to pull a hamstring. He's already fighting an uphill climb. If he suffers a setback, the molehill will turn into a mountain, to paraphrase a Rex-ism.