Monday, August 12, 2013
Practice report: Sanchez on fire
By Rich Cimini
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The Jets tweaked the quarterback rotation Monday, giving Mark Sanchez most of the reps with the first team. And he delivered one of his better practices.
Sanchez's numbers in team drills don't jump off the screen -- 2-for-3, including one touchdown pass -- but he was on fire in a 7-on-7 drill. He threw a pair of 50-yard TDs on back-to-back plays, hitting rookie Ryan Spadola (a stop-and-go on CB Antonio Cromartie) and Stephen Hill. Sanchez faked Cromartie with a hard pump fake. He completed five of seven in the period, including a terrific sideline pass to Kellen Winslow.
Sanchez's TD pass in team drills came on an over-the-middle pass to RB Bilal Powell, who broke tackles and took it to the house.
Rookie Geno Smith, still limping noticeably on his tender right ankle, also had a solid day. He was 6-for-7, with a TD pass and a sack in team drills. The TD came on a rollout, a nice strike to Konrad Reuland in the corner of the end zone.
It would've been a great day for Smith, but he tarnished it with a couple of hiccups. He was intercepted by CB Isaiah Trufant in a 7-on-7 drill and, in team drills, there was an aborted play because of a botched handoff with rookie Tommy Bohanon.
INJURY-FILLED PRACTICE: This was a tough one, although none of the injuries appear serious.
RB/KR Joe McKnight was carted to the locker room after crashing to the ground while chasing a deep pass. He got up slowly, perhaps feeling the effects of a recent head injury. He was given an oxygen mask and carter to the locker room.
CB Antonio Cromartie gave everyone a scare when he crumpled to the ground in pain late in practice. He tried to jam a receiver at the line and hurt his left elbow. He stayed in for the next couple of plays with a wrap on his elbow. Third-string QB Greg McElroy rolled an ankle while scrambling -- shades of Smith in Detroit -- but it turns out this was an old injury. He hurt the same ankle in the preseason opener.
ATTENDANCE REPORT: RB Chris Ivory (hamstring) finally made his debut, participating in team drills for the first time. In fact, he carried the ball on the first two plays of team drills. He looked fresh and fairly quick for a man his size. He hopes to play Saturday night against the Jaguars. ... WR Clyde Gates (head) didn't practice. He banged his head Sunday in a collision. ... FB Lex Hilliard (ribs) continued to practice in a red jersey. ... Rookie G Brian Winters (ankle) was carted off, but returned to finish practice. ... Winslow returned after a rest day.
GROUND AND POUND: There was a heavy emphasis on running the ball. Makes sense, considering the disparity in the run-pass ratio from the opener -- 16 runs, 42 passes. In fact, there was a 9-on-7 drill, which included live tackling. You saw a lot of Ivory, Powell and Chad Spann. With Ivory back in the fold, you can expect a commitment to the ground game against the Jaguars.
ODDS AND ENDS: Rookie WR Ryan Spadola got some work as a blocker on the kick0ff-return unit. This certainly will help his chances of making the team. ... Nice practice for Winslow, who got free for a couple of receptions. ... It was an up-and-down practice for QB Matt Simms, who got extra work because of McElroy's injury. Simms had an interception, but he also threw two long balls to Joseph Collins.