Saturday, August 3, 2013
Reax: Green & White features Butt Stumble
By Rich Cimini
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The New York Jets conducted their annual Green & White scrimmage Saturday night at SUNY Cortland. Here are some quick observations:
What it means: There were some nice individual performances, especially by some of the unheralded running backs and wide receivers, but the glaring takeaway from the night was the Jets still have issues at quarterback. Mark Sanchez delivered a mostly Sanchez-ian performance (until the final play) and rookie Geno Smith didn't play as well as hoped.
QB competition: Sanchez salvaged an awful night on the final play of the scrimmage, hitting WR Stephen Hill for a 57-yard touchdown over CB Ellis Lankster. It was a terrific throw, his best of the summer. Until that moment, Sanchez provided some 2012 moments, throwing an interception (Antonio Cromartie) on an overthrown deep ball, missing an open Clyde Gates in the end zone and falling on his rear end while dropping back to pass -- the Butt Stumble. Sanchez's final stats: 6-for-11, 93 yards, with one sack and one interception.
Sanchez played only one series with the first-team offense. Smith (9-for-16, 77 yards) saw three series with the starters. The rookie didn't make any horrible mistakes, but it wasn't a crisp performance. There were five offensive penalties with him in the game, as he showed his inexperience at the line of scrimmage. He led the offense to only three points.
So, after seven practices and one scrimmage, the QB competition still is anybody's game.
MartyBall: New offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg provided a sneak peek of his plan for the season. The Jets ran a couple of Wildcat plays near the goal line, with RB Bilal Powell taking the direct snap. (Where have you gone, Tim Tebow?) As Ryan said the other day, the Wildcat (and read-option) will be part of the attack. Mornhinweg also used Smith and Sanchez in a moving pocket, running bootlegs off play-action. That's a staple of the West Coast offense. Get used to it. They also ran a few screen passes. Get used to that, too.
Running on empty: Due to injuries and the absence of Mike Goodson, Powell got the bulk of the work with the first team. He had a nifty 24-yard run against the first-team defense, breaking a couple of tackles and almost taking it to the house. Powell was one of the stars of the night, showing nice open-field moves.
Battle for No. 3 QB: Greg McElroy and Matt Simms have been alternating third-team reps in camp, with Simms bidding to unseat McElroy as the No. 3. It doesn't appear that will happen. McElroy delivered a crisp performance, highlighted by a 47-yard touchdown pass to rookie WR Ryan Spadola and a 70-yard scoring pass to WR Vidal Hazelton. The latter came on a busted coverage, leaving Hazelton ridiculously open. Meanwhile, Simms struggled, throwing a third-down interception. CB Eric Crocker made the interception, but he later got burned on the long pass to Spadola.
Cinderella story: There's one every year in training camp. This year's Cinderella is Spadola, a 6-foot-2 wideout out of Howell, N.J. After a few impressive practices, Spadola made the play of the night, outjumping Crocker in the end zone.
Defense: LB Calvin Pace (one sack) stood out on defense, as did CB Kyle Wilson. Rookie CB Dee Milliner saw time with the starters.
Injury Report: As expected, RB Chris Ivory (hamstring) and RB Joe McKnight (head) didn't play. TE Kellen Winslow also was a scratched for an undisclosed reason, probably to rest. LG Stephen Peterman (shoulder) and C Dalton Freeman (ankle) also were out.