New York Jets: Ben Obomanu

Stephen Hill diagnosed with concussion

September, 30, 2013
Tough season for the New York Jets' wide receivers.

Stephen Hill, who left the game Sunday after suffering a head injury on the second play, was diagnosed with a concussion, Rex Ryan announced Monday. The second-year receiver was evaluated again as part of the league's protocol on concussions. It means he probably won't play next Monday night when they face the Atlanta Falcons (1-3) on the road.

Fellow receiver Jeremy Kerley suffered a concussion in the opener and missed the next game.

Hill was drilled by Titans safety Michael Griffin on the second play of the game, an underthrown ball that was intercepted by cornerback Alterraun Verner. Surprisingly, there was no flag thrown on the play. Hill walked slowly off the field and was taken to the locker room for testing.

Ryan didn't comment on the legality of the hit, saying only that there was no penalty.

The Jets could be without their starting receivers in Atlanta, as Santonio Holmes pulled a hamstring in the fourth quarter. He, too, didn't return. Ryan provided no update on Holmes, who missed the preseason as he recovered from last season's foot surgery.

Hill is the second-leading receiver on the team, with 13 catches for 233 yards and one touchdown. He's only 19 yards shy of his rookie total. Holmes has 10 receptions for 243 yards and a touchdown.

If they can't play, the likely starters would be Kerley and Ben Obomanu or Clyde Gates, with rookie Ryan Spadola also available in reserve. They could try to sign veteran free agent David Nelson, whom they worked out last week.

There will be one returning player on offense -- RB Mike Goodson, who became eligible Monday to rejoin the team for practice. His four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy is over.

Rex's push-up plan not working

September, 29, 2013
NASHVILLE -- So is the answer more push-ups?

For the second straight week, the New York Jets were an undisciplined football team, committing 10 penalties for 66 yards in a 38-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans Sunday at LP Field. That makes 30 penalties in the last two games.

If you want to take the glass-half-full approach, you can say they cut the number in half. Rex Ryan was in no mood to look at it that way.

"Ten penalties? How 'bout that?" he said sarcastically. "Obviously, we've got to do a heck of a lot better job than that. ... Apparently, I was wrong on the penalties -- at least it's going to take longer than I thought. But it's going to get fixed. Hell or high water, it's going to get fixed."

The most frequent offender was wide receiver Ben Obomanu, who was flagged three times -- unnecessary roughness, illegal shift and holding. (The holding penalty was declined.)

The other culprits: LG Vladimir Ducasse (false start and a declined holding), LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson (false start), CB Darrin Walls (defensive holding), LB Garrett McIntyre (personal foul), RG Willie Colon (illegal use of hands), TE Jeff Cumberland (illegal shift), DB Ellis Lankster (out of bounds on punt) and QB Geno Smith (delay of game).

The most alarming part? Five were pre-snap penalties, indicating a lack of awareness and focus.

It looks like Ryan needs to step up his penalty-prevention program.

Practice report: Jets re-sign Obomanu

September, 10, 2013
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Unlike the Patriots, the Jets are practicing before Thursday's game.

The new face at practice on Tuesday was newly signed wide receiver Ben Obomanu, who was previously cut when the Jets made their final moves to get the roster to 53. His arrival all but signals that wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (concussion) is not going to play against the Patriots on Thursday. He didn't go Monday or Tuesday after being hit in the head on Sunday.

To make space for Obomanu, the Jets cut linebacker Scott Solomon.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez (right shoulder) was at practice and was throwing left-handed once again, and hasn't departed the team yet to get the second opinion on his injured right shoulder. Sanchez will not play this Thursday against New England, the second straight game he will miss.

Linebacker Quinton Coples (ankle) was not practicing but worked with the trainers off to the side, an encouraging sign in his rehab after fracturing his ankle in August. Coples hasn't played yet.

The rest of the Jets who were on the injury report Monday all appeared to be doing work in some capacity, including center Nick Mangold (elbow), tight end Jeff Cumberland (chin), cornerback Dee Milliner (hip), running back Chris Ivory (thumb) and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson (shoulder).

Jets release final cut list -- finally

August, 31, 2013
The New York Jets announced their final cuts, paring the roster to 53. Keep in mind, this doesn't mean the roster is final. There will be moving parts as the weekend continues. The 22 cuts:

QB — Greg McElroy (with an injury).

RB — Mossis Madu (with an injury).

WR — Michael Campbell, Mohamed Massaquoi, Ben Obomanu, Zach Rogers.

TE — Chris Pantale.

OL — Erik Cook, J.B. Shugarts, Jason Smith.

DL — Junior Aumavae, Lanier Coleman, Tevita Finau, Antonio Garay.

LB — Troy Davis, JoJo Dickson, Jacquies Smith.

DB — Royce Adams, Mike Edwards, Rontez Miles.

K -- Dan Carpenter.

Running back Mike Goodson was moved to the reserve/suspended list and thus will not count against the 53-man roster limit, the Jets noted in a press release.

W2W4: Jets vs. Eagles

August, 28, 2013
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets close the preseason Thursday against the Eagles at MetLife Stadium -- the annual backup bowl. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Stories to follow:

1. Quarterback drama on hold: Mark Sanchez (shoulder) is out and, although the team hasn't made it official, rookie Geno Smith also will sit. This is a smart move by coach Rex Ryan. Really, it's the only move. Sure, Smith could use the work, as he showed in throwing three interceptions and taking a safety Saturday against the Giants, but it makes no sense to expose him to potential injury. After all, Smith could be the opening-day starter, depending on Sanchez's recovery. Ryan messed up last week with Sanchez, and he knows another blunder of that magnitude would put him in Woody Johnson's doghouse. (Probably the most luxurious doghouse in the neighborhood, though.)

2. The Simms spotlight: Matt Simms, who entered camp fourth on the depth chart, will start under center against the Eagles. He'll probably play most of the game, considering Greg McElroy (knee) is out. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for Simms, son of Giants icon Phil Simms. He's having a terrific preseason, sporting a 137.5 passer rating, and could conceivably dislodge McElroy from the No. 3 job. Simms is rough around the edges, but he has the best arm on the team and the coaches love his moxie. Newly signed Graham Harrell, who arrived Wednesday, will be available for relief duty. The Eagles will start No. 2 QB Nick Foles, a former pupil of new Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. If the Jets were concerned about Sanchez's health to the point where they felt they needed a veteran, it would fuel heavy Foles speculation.

3. Position battles (other than quarterback): Placekicker and free safety remain open. PK Dan Carpenter was signed this week to compete with incumbent Nick Folk, who imperiled his spot last week with a missed field goal in OT. Jaiquawn Jarrett, a former second-round pick of the Eagles, is expected to start at free safety, but Antonio Allen is leading the competition.

4. Cinderella lives in Jersey: WR Ryan Spadola, an undrafted rookie from Howell, N.J., via Lehigh, is the feel-good story of the summer. He's inching his way up the depth chart and has an outstanding chance to make the 53-man roster. Spadola leads the team with 169 receiving yards on seven catches, including a 70-yard play Saturday that set up the game-winning field goal in overtime. He's battling veterans Ben Obomanu and Mohamed Massaquoi for the fifth receiver spot; there's also a chance the Jets could keep six. It would be a stunner if Spadola is cut.

5. On the line: This will be an important game for the three draft picks on the offensive line -- LG Brian Winters (third round), OT Oday Aboushi (fifth) and G Will Campbell (sixth). Aboushi and Campbell are on the bubble and need to play well to make the team. Aboushi's chances were hurt with last week's return of veteran backup Jason Smith. Campbell, making the transition to offense after playing defensive line in college, looks bound for the practice squad. Winters, uneven last week in his debut, could push presumptive starter Vladimir Ducasse as the season progresses.

Geno throws three first-half picks

August, 24, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If the New York Jets were hoping that Geno Smith was the antidote to the interceptions that are part of Mark Sanchez's game, Saturday night was a reality check.

In fact, it was -- to borrow Rex Ryan's own phrase -- pretty brutal.

The rookie threw three interceptions in the first half of a preseason game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. The Jets extended the quarterback competition to give Smith his first start of the preseason -- so this was supposed to be his opportunity to excel.

At the half, his line was 11-for-25 for 134 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. Rather than the quarterback of the future, what the Jets saw looked more like a flustered rookie.

Let us count the ways:

First interception: A pass to WR Ben Obomanu was ripped out of his hands by Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara.

Second interception: In the next series, Smith tried to reach Kellen Winslow and instead threw it to Giants safety Stevie Brown. (Brown sprained his left knee on the play, and the team announced he will not return). Smith got a taste of contact on the play: After the throw, he was flattened by Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka.

Third interception: This was the worst interception, on which he responded to a zone blitz by passing the ball directly to Giants defensive end Justin Tuck.

There were bright spots for the rookie. He threw a touchdown to Obomanu on the second series for the Jets and hit WR Stephen Hill with a pretty 32-yard pass. But, for the most part, the plays called for shorter passes. He wasn't helped by drops from Jeremy Kerley, Obomanu and Bilal Powell.

Camp preview: Wide receiver

July, 17, 2013
Breaking down the Jets, position by position, as we head to training camp:

Position: Wide receiver

Projected starters: Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill.

Projected reserves: Jeremy Kerley, Clyde Gates, Ben Obomanu.

[+] EnlargeStephen Hill
Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY SportsStephen Hill caught 21 passes as a rookie. The Jets need a significant improvement this season.
New faces: Obomanu.

The departed: Braylon Edwards, Chaz Schilens.

Player to watch: Hill -- a no-brainer. The Jets are depending heavily on his ability to rebound from a disappointing rookie year. The physical talent is there, but aside from Week 1 against the Bills, Hill never played like a first-round talent. (He was drafted in the second round, but received a first-round grade on the Jets' draft board.)

Hill must improve in all areas -- beating press coverage, sharpening his route running and, you know, catching the ball. He also has to do a better job with the ball in his hands, as he gained only 38 yards after catch on 21 receptions, per ESPN Stats & Information. In addition, his surgically repaired knee bears watching. He said last week that his reps will be monitored in camp.

Potential strength: Well, they're young. That can be a positive, right? Except for Holmes, every receiver is an ascending talent -- in theory, anyway. The question is, how much untapped potential are we talking about? Kerley, a good slot receiver with deceptive, big-play ability (14.8 yards per catch), is entering the prime of his career in Year 3. Beyond Kerley, there are question marks. Hill and Gates are young and fast, but it's time turn those assets into production.

Potential weakness: The depth is a major concern, especially with Holmes coming off foot surgery. Consider: Holmes has 358 career receptions; the rest of the unit has a combined 212, including 87 from Obomanu, a Seahawks castoff plucked off the scrap heap in May. This is their thinnest receiving corps since 2009, when they opened with Chansi Stuckey as a starter. (They traded for Edwards a month into the season.) GM John Idzik finds himself in a similar situation: He must acquire a proven talent. Even if this current cast stays healthy -- unlikely, considering its penchant for hamstring injuries -- it won't be good enough.

Wild card: Holmes and his surgically repaired foot. He's expected to begin camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list. The big question is, will he be ready by Week 1? That's the goal, but he's recovering from a Grade 4 (the most severe) LisFranc injury. There are no guarantees. You can bet Holmes won't take any unnecessary risks because he knows he probably will be a cap casualty after the season, and he doesn't want to hit free agency with a bad wheel. Without Holmes, a borderline No. 1 receiver when healthy, the Jets won't scare anyone with their perimeter passing attack.