New York Jets: Jace Amaro

Amaro had been dealing with knee issue

July, 27, 2014
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Running a pass route in a 7-on-7 drill Sunday, tight end Jace Amaro made a hard cut and his right knee "gave out a little bit," he said. That certainly doesn't sound good, but the New York Jets' rookie, who sat out the rest of Sunday's practice, said he will be ready for the next practice, on Tuesday.

Rex Ryan confirmed the timetable, saying it's not a serious injury. No doubt, that's a relief for the Jets, who have big plans for the former Texas Tech star.

Turns out Amaro had been bothered by knee tendinitis in recent weeks. He called it a "nagging injury" and a "wear-and-tear deal," attributing it to the nonstop pace of the past year -- from his college season to scouting-combine prep to post-draft practices and the minicamp. Sunday's incident was a "tweak" to his patella tendon, causing it to become "a little inflamed," he said.

"It's going to be fine," he said. "I don't think there's anything to worry about."

The Jets drafted Amaro in the second round, expecting him to develop into a major pass-catching threat. After all, he caught 106 passes last season for Texas Tech. He struggled learning the Jets' offense in the spring. He also has a long way to go as a blocker, but he's proud of the way he blocked Sunday in the 9-on-7 drill, coming off a shaky performance Saturday.

"I feel a lot more comfortable than I did the first couple of weeks (of offseason practices)," he said.

You can't accuse Amaro of being lazy. He catches 150 balls a day on the JUGS machine.

Jace Amaro hurts knee in practice

July, 27, 2014
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- It's been a tough couple of days for the New York Jets' top two draft picks.

On Sunday, tight end Jace Amaro injured his right knee in a 7-on-7 drill and received medical attention from the trainers. Amaro's right knee was wrapped with ice, and he watched the remainder of the practice from the sideline. The second-round pick tried to jog and attempted a few light cuts, but he struggled to put weight on it. That he wasn't carted off was a good sign. We'll have an update later.

Meanwhile, first-round pick Calvin Pryor, who suffered a head injury on Saturday, didn't practice. The hard-hitting safety was tested for a possible concussion. No word yet on the results.

Photos from training camp: Day 1

July, 24, 2014
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Here are some photo highlights from Thursday, the first day of practice at New York Jets training camp in Cortland, N.Y.

Michael VickRich Barnes/USA TODAY SportsHere you go. Michael Vick in a Jets uniform.
Geno SmithAP PhotoGeno Smith throws a pass to wide receiver Jalen Saunders.
Michael VickRich Barnes/USA TODAY SportsMr. Vick visits the sidelines for some quality time with fans.
Jace AmaroRich Barnes/USA TODAY SportsTight end Jace Amaro makes a catch.


Training camp preview: Tight end

July, 15, 2014
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Breaking down the New York Jets' roster, unit by unit, in preparation for training camp, July 23:

Position: Tight end

Cumberland
Projected starter: Jeff Cumberland.

Projected backups: Jace Amaro, Zach Sudfeld.

Player to watch: Amaro. At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, the Jets' second-round pick has the measurements of a sturdy, in-line blocker, but that's not his game. He's at his best when he's detached from the line, either flexed or in the slot or split wide. He'll bring a different dimension to the offense, creating potential mismatches with his size. The big question is the learning curve. Amaro came from a no-huddle, spread offense at Texas Tech, so the transition may take a while. He looked lost at minicamp, so don't expect him to be an overnight sensation. Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will feed him the playbook at a gradual rate, trying not to overwhelm him.

Top storyline: The Jets retained Cumberland with a three-year, $5.7 million contract, in part, because they feel he has untapped potential as a receiver. They went out and drafted Amaro, so it'll be interesting to see how they use them. Cumberland may not get as many opportunities in the passing game as he hopes.

Training camp will be a success if ...: Mornhinweg is formulating a Week 1 game plan that includes a significant role for Amaro, who has the kind of skill set that can really help the offense. Chances are, he'll be in their "11" personnel package, used in passing situations -- one back, one tight end and three wide receivers. The question is whether he'll be ready.

Wild card: None of the tight ends are sturdy blockers, which makes you wonder if they will address the need at some point during training camp. Ben Hartsock, who played with the Jets in 2009 and 2010, is a free agent. He's not a receiver by any stretch of the imagination, but he can block at the point of attack. They used lineman Vladimir Ducasse as an extra tight end last season in the "jumbo" package, but he left as a free agent. The job is open.

By the numbers: If the Jets used a lot of two-tight end packages, it will be a big change. A year ago, they attempted only 82 passes with two tight ends on the field, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Only five teams had fewer attempts. Geno Smith struggled, completing a league-low 43.9 percent -- 10 points lower than the next team.
At the start of the offseason, the New York Jets' tight-end depth chart consisted of two not-so-household names -- Zach Sudfeld and Chris Pantale. With two significant moves, they fortified the position, re-signing Jeff Cumberland (three years, $5.7 million) and drafting Jace Amaro in the second round.

"We’re deep and talented at the tight end spot," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said last week. "That’s going to be an impressive position for the New York Jets for years to come."

[+] EnlargeJace Amaro
AP Photo/Julie JacobsonJace Amaro has struggled with his route running and making the transition from his college offense.
That's assuming Amaro develops into a stud. He has a long way to go.

As we noted on the night of the draft, this won't be an easy transition for Amaro, who came from a system at Texas Tech that's dramatically different than the one he's trying to master with the Jets. Amaro described the Tech offense as "simple," -- a no-huddle, spread attack that doesn't have a high volume of plays. Using a math analogy, it was on the level of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. The Jets are using calculus.

Which explains why Amaro struggled in last week's minicamp. He got some work with the first team, mostly in the three-receiver package, but he looked lost at times. Simply put, he needs to clean up all aspects of his game.

Mornhinweg said Amaro, a pass-catching machine in college, needs to make a "host" of adjustments to get comfortable in a pro-style system. The Jets' version of the West Coast offense is predicated on timing and precision, and Amaro's routes were sloppy. If a pass receiver is off by a step or two, it throws the entire play out of sync. Specifically, he has to polish the top of his routes. Because he didn't play much traditional tight end at Tech, he also needs a refresher course on the in-line position, mostly with footwork and releases.

This has to be a humbling process for Amaro, who boasted on the first day of rookie camp that his goal is to become the next Tony Gonzalez. A tap on the brakes is in order.

Practice report: Chris Ivory rolls ankle

June, 18, 2014
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Running back Chris Ivory didn’t make it all the way through the New York Jets' practice, stopping after he rolled his ankle. Jets coach Rex Ryan said the team would likely hold Ivory out of Thursday’s practice, the last day of the team’s mandatory minicamp.

Ivory
“It’s not severe or anything, but if you noticed he never finished today, that was the reason,” Ryan said.

Last season, a hamstring pulled late in the offseason kept Ivory, then a new arrival with the Jets, from participating for the first week in training camp. Ivory played in 15 games for the Jets last season, with 182 carries for 833 yards and three touchdowns.

Last season, the Jets were down a few running backs as Mike Goodson failed to report and Ivory dealt with his hamstring. At one point, Ryan was concerned that they were running Powell into the ground, but there weren’t a lot of other backs to turn to.

Chris Johnson, who had knee surgery, said he expects to be ready for training camp, but it’s unlikely he’ll get a full slate of reps after his injury.

Offense rebounds: Ryan wasn’t happy after the first day of the minicamp, when errors on offense led to 7 sets of 10 push-ups for all of the staff on the field. There weren’t as many pushups on Wednesday, but Woody Johnson was on the sideline for a flag and the billionaire owner dropped to the grass and did a set of 10.

Johnson had good form, but should probably keep his day job. It’s more lucrative anyway.

High points: Quarterback Geno Smith connected with receiver David Nelson twice on both sides of the end zone. The two seem to be developing their chemistry. Greg Salas also looked good, making several catches including a high ball over the defense that would likely have been a touchdown in a game.
  • Mike Vick was intercepted by Jaiquawn Jarrett late in practice, although it didn’t look like there was a receiver in the vicinity.

    “He had the interception,” quarterbacks coach David Lee said. “Other than that, shoot, he played lights out. He threw about five touchdown passes.”
  • Rookie tight end Jace Amaro also rebounded from a tough practice two weeks ago. He caught a nice pass from Vick in traffic.

    “I’ve been please with him,” Ryan said. “...The thing I’m impressed with [is] he’ll block in space, and that’s one of the hardest things to do, to get a big guy to be able to handle that, so that would lead me to think he can be a decent inline blocker as well.”

    Ryan noted the turnaround and said the bad practice was a good chance to show a rookie the difference between college and the pros.

    “Every time a rook does something like that, gives you an opportunity to get on him, I think you should take it,” Ryan said.
Landry list: Safety Dawan Landry continues to play with the second team as Antonio Allen and Calvin Pryor get first-team reps. Ryan has said he’s experimenting with different pieces and seeing how they play together. Something to watch for during training camp.
  • Rookie linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali has been getting quite a few reps with the second team as well. A few other Jets noted that he’s been developing.
  • The Jets' final practice of minicamp will be tomorrow morning.

Twitter mailbag: Any ex-Patriot gems?

June, 14, 2014
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Plenty to discuss as the New York Jets prepare to wrap up the offseason with next week's mandatory minicamp:

@RichCimini: You're referring, of course, to cornerback Ras-I Dowling, tight end Zach Sudfeld and outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham. Dowling and Cunningham are both former second-round picks of the New England Patriots, so we're talking about players with some degree of talent. On the other hand, Bill Belichick is a smart coach, not in the habit of dumping useful players. Dowling has impressed the coaches this offseason, working his way up to the second-team defense. I wouldn't say he's a lock to make the team, but his chances are better than 50-50. Cunningham has received some reps with the first-team nickel package. If he can rush the passer, he'll make the team -- but it remains a big if. I'd say Sudfeld has the best shot, based on the lack of numbers at tight end. Jeff Cumberland and Jace Amaro are locks, but Sudfeld -- who has intriguing receiving skills -- probably will stick as the No. 3. @RichCimini: I think the running backs will be Chris Johnson, Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory, with Tommy Bohanon at fullback. I'd like to put Daryl Richardson on the team, but he's a wild card, still recovering from last year's turf toe injury. I don't see Mike Goodson in the picture. At wide receiver, I see Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Jalen Saunders, David Nelson and Jacoby Ford. You're right, it's crowded and there will be some tough decisions. Truth be told, I think Decker and Kerley are the only true locks. Saunders and Ford are helped by their kick-returning ability. We know that John Idzik likes to protect his draft picks, so you know Shaq Evans will be in the conversation. If Evans impresses in camp, a veteran like Nelson could be in jeopardy. @RichCimini: As I've noted a couple of times, I think they need to sign a veteran for insurance. None of the backups have experience -- unless you count Caleb Schlauderaff, who has played only 14 regular-season snaps. Right now, their top backups are Oday Aboushi, Ben Ijalana and William Campbell -- a.k.a. the Idzik Redshirts from 2013. Rex Ryan is talking up Aboushi, and that's fine, but there's no substitute for experience. They a grizzled vet who can play multiple spots, someone like Wade Smith, formerly of the Houston Texans. @RichCimini: Interesting question. I did some research, and here's what I found: In 2012, the Jets blitzed on 34.3 percent of the dropbacks (11th in the league), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Last season, it dropped to 29.6 percent (22nd). I find it very hard to believe that Ryan will dial it back even further; that's not in his DNA. I could see definitely see him cranking up the pressure in an attempt to reduce the burden on the back end. One thing about "pups," as you call them: They usually can run faster than the old dogs, which, in theory, should help them in man-to-man coverage. So, no, I don't see Ryan dialing it down. @RichCimini: I realize this has nothing to do with football, but I like questions like this because they give the fans an off-the-field appreciation for the players. I've covered a lot of genuinely nice guys over the years (too many to list), but I'll try to narrow it down to a few: Curtis Martin, Dennis Byrd, Brandon Moore, Kyle Clifton, Marty Lyons, Pat Leahy, Jerricho Cotchery, Vinny Testaverde, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, Damien Woody, Lonnie Young, Kyle Brady ... and I could go on. A locker room filled with these guys would be awesome for a beat writer. When I'm in a bad mood, maybe I'll name my all-nasty team. 

Eight takeaways on Jets' OTA practices

June, 13, 2014
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The New York Jets wrapped up their organized team activity practices Thursday with a team trip to a local bowling alley. Thoughts and observations on the OTA phase of the offseason, which consisted of nine practices:

1. Growing up Smith: Quarterback Geno Smith, the likely opening-day starter, drew praise from teammates on two fronts: He was decisive in the huddle, communicating plays quickly and confidently -- a far cry from last season. They also said he was more assertive than his rookie year, demonstrating more vocal leadership. These are the progressions you'd like to see from a second-year quarterback. As for his actual play, it's hard to gauge in OTAs, but there was an obvious reduction in turnovers and sacks. Clearly, it's Smith's job to lose, even if Rex Ryan is reluctant to put it in those words.

2. Strength in numbers: Ryan likes to brag about the team's backfield depth, but depth is meaningless if half the unit is hurt. Chris Johnson (knee), Daryl Richardson (toe) and Mike Goodson (knee/no-show) didn't participate in the voluntary practices, leaving plenty of work for Bilal Powell, Chris Ivory and Alex Green, who thought he was a goner at one point. Johnson and Richardson should be ready by training camp, but given the amount of durability concerns (let's not forget about Ivory, who has a history of nagging injuries), the Jets should take a better-safe-than-sorry approach when they construct the final roster. In other words, load up on running backs.

3. The battle for No. 2: Since there's no competition at quarterback (in the words of Michael Vick), the most compelling battle is unfolding at wide receiver. Who's the 2? Don't be surprised if Stephen Hill (yeah, him) emerges as the starter opposite Eric Decker. Right now, I'd say the top candidates are Hill and David Nelson, figuring Jeremy Kerley will be in the slot. Clearly, this is a make-or-break year for Hill, who has yet to transfer his elite measureables into production. Hill did fine in the OTAs. but, remember, there was no press coverage (not allowed under CBA rules). Diminutive rookie Jalen Saunders got a lot of quality reps and demonstrated impressive short-area quickness, but again ... no press coverage. The wild card is Jacoby Ford, probably the fastest player on the team. He blew away teammates with his speed, but there are durability and consistency concerns.

4. Mr. Jessie James: Decker made headlines by skipping two days of practice to attend the CMT Awards with his wife, country singer Jessie James, which overshadowed his impressive work on the field. He's learning a new offense and getting comfortable in new surroundings, but their prized free agent appeared right at home. He's big and smooth, as advertised. You could tell he puts a lot of effort into his route running. A couple of times, he was off to the side, working on his footwork with receivers coach Sanjay Lal. Cynics will say Decker looked so good because there isn't much around him. There's an element of truth to that, but you don't catch 24 touchdowns over two years by accident.

5. Youth is served: Ryan put first-round pick Calvin Pryor on the fast track, giving him plenty of first-team reps at safety with Antonio Allen. Is the handwriting on the wall for Dawan Landry? The dean of the secondary was relegated to second- and third-team duty, but that was because the coaches wanted to give Pryor and Allen as much on-the-job training as possible. They still need Landry because of his leadership and knowledge of the defense, but Ryan, who recognizes the need for playmakers in the secondary, is intrigued by the speed and athleticism of the Pryor-Allen tandem. No doubt, Pryor will be a Week 1 starter. The only question is how they divide the other spot.

6. Musical linemen: Willie Colon's injuries allowed them to try different combinations at guard, with Brian Winters and Oday Aboushi working in both spots. Ryan said Aboushi looks better at left guard, meaning Winters could slide to right guard if something happens to Colon down the road. There's nothing wrong with experimenting, especially in June, but it doesn't mask the fact that the Jets have no experienced backups on the offensive line. And we're not counting Caleb Schlauderaff, whose experience consists of 14 regular-season snaps. They need to pick up a veteran at some point before the season.

7. Dee's cranky hamstring: It's probably nothing, but maybe it's something. Cornerback Dee Milliner was limited in recent practices because of what the team is calling "tightness" in his hamstring. Yeah, it's only June, but considering all the buildup surrounding Milliner -- coaches saying how much he'd benefit from his first injury-free offseason -- it was disappointing not to see him build on the momentum of last season's strong finish. This could be a moot point by training camp, but it's worth noting, especially since Milliner was beset with nagging injuries last season and played hurt throughout college with various ailments.

8. Jace not an ace -- yet: Rookie tight end Jace Amaro struggled with dropped passes, probably because his brain was overloaded with new terminology. This is a big transition for the second-round pick, who didn't play in a pro-style offense at Texas Tech. He came from a simple, no-huddle system that didn't require a lot of thinking on your feet. Clearly, he has talent, but his development will be dictated by how quickly he assimilates into Marty Mornhinweg's offense. Don't expect it to happen overnight.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- You don’t want to stand out the way rookie tight end Jace Amaro did in Wednesday’s organized team activity. He had a number of ugly drops and looked lost at times in the offense, something New York Jets coach Rex Ryan didn’t have to be prompted to address in his post-practice news conference.

Amaro
“All you’ve got to do is look at Jace,” Ryan said. “Jace had like three drops today. And I’m like wait a second, he did catch 106 balls right? But, he had three drops and that’s where clearly a guy is thinking so much that all of a sudden you lose the focus on what Job 1 is: catch the football.”

At 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, Amaro is a bigger receiving tight end than the Jets have had in the past. He left after his junior year at Texas Tech, and the Jets nabbed him in the second round of the draft. There is a lot of promise in that frame, but Amaro sat at his locker after practice and had disappointment etched on his face.

“It’s been fun out there, but I have to make sure I get better,” Amaro said. “Today, just have to make sure you’re getting better at routes. I’m just overthinking a little too much on the plays and stuff like that.”

As annoyed as Ryan was with Amaro’s performance, he was able to put it into context. It’s not like the Jets are preparing for the first game of the season -- it’s June. This is the time to make mistakes.

“It wasn’t a good thing, but, he’s really been looking good until today,” Ryan said. “There (are) moments with each guy and you can say some real positive things and then you’ve got some with growing pains.”

That didn’t take the sting out for Amaro.

“I have high standards,” Amaro said. “I could have stayed and just been comfortable for one more year, but I chose not to and I’m ready for the challenge.”
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner was held out of Wednesday's organized team activities with tightness in his left hamstring.

"Just precautionary," Milliner said after practice. "I'll be fine."

The Jets are counting on Milliner, the ninth overall pick in 2013, to be one of their starting cornerbacks this season. He started 12 games as a rookie, but missed last year's OTAs and minicamp with a torn labrum, missed two preseason games with an Achilles injury, and missed three regular season games with a hamstring injury.

Jets coach Rex Ryan said Milliner has been "impressive" thus far in OTAs, prior to the hamstring issue, but needs to stay on the field.

"He has to understand too that he’s gotta be in extraordinary shape," Ryan said. "His challenge will be to be in world-class shape, 'cause we gotta have you out there. He needs to be out there and he needs to get work, 'cause that’s how he’s gonna get better.

"And you saw it as the year went on last year, he got better because of the work on the practice field and in the classroom. He was taking off from there, and you don’t want to see this happen. He’s gotta step it up, because I think he’s got all the talent in the world."

Sloppy! The Jets practiced for two hours on Wednesday, with owner Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik joining Ryan on the sideline -- and it wasn't pretty.

Neither Geno Smith nor Michael Vick looked particularly sharp at quarterback, rookie tight end Jace Amaro had multiple dropped passes, and there were several yellow flags, resulting in push-ups for the entire team and staff.

"We had like six or seven penalties today, we were blowing coverages, blowing assignments," Ryan said. "It’s a good thing we’re not playing, 'cause it was kind of ugly out there today."

Amaro, the team's second-round draft pick, had 106 catches for an FBS-record 1,352 yards last year for Texas Tech. "But he’s really been looking good until today," Ryan said.

Step right up: First-round draft pick Calvin Pryor, who finalized his contract on Monday, played with the first unit Wednesday, along with fellow safety Antonio Allen.

Dawan Landry, who started all 16 games for the Jets last season, played with the backups.

"We expect this young man’s gonna contribute in a big way for us, there’s no doubt," Ryan said, of Pryor. "I know [Landry] knows what to do. I gotta get these other two to work together and communicate together.

"That’s why you throw [Pryor] out there. You leave him out there with the ones, and let’s see what happens. Make him communicate with the other guys that are working, and we’ll see how it goes."

Practice report: Geno vs. Vick, Round 1

May, 28, 2014
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets held their second OTA practice (first open to the media) Wednesday. A few thoughts and observations:

Vick
Vick
Early look at the QB competition (or is it a competition?): Rhetoric and semantic nonsense aside, the quarterbacks -- Geno Smith and Michael Vick -- performed well in the two-hour practice. Smith, in particular, was sharp, completing eight of 10 passes (plus two sacks) in team drills. One incompletion came when he intentionally "dirted" the ball. Vick completed only three of seven, but he was victimized by two drops. Watching him up-close for the first time, the aspect of his game that jumps out is how effortlessly he can throw the long ball. He can really spin it, as they say in the biz. Smith worked ahead of Vick in the rotation, but they basically shared the reps. By my count, Smith got 14, Vick 12.

Decker
Receivers, new and old: Plenty of interesting developments here. As you would expect, Eric Decker stood out, impressing with his route running, his hands and his overall size. This is a new offense for him, but you can tell he knows where he needs to be. He connected once with Smith, once with Vick. The other newcomer that impressed was Jacoby Ford, who hooked up with Smith a couple of times. Ford is fast, we all know that, but you don't realize how fast until you witness it in person. He could be a real wild card in the competition at receiver.

And let's give some props to Stephen Hill, who appears recovered from his knee injury and demonstrated sure hands. There was a borderline drop on a crossing route (tough to tell from our angle on the sideline), but it still was a solid practice for Hill, who faces legitimate competition for the first time. On the downside, Jeremy Kerley and Saalim Hakim dropped well-thrown long passes by Vick.

Medical report: Players who sat out included RG Willie Colon (knee/biceps), RB Chris Johnson (knee), S Calvin Pryor (toothache), RB Daryl Richardson (lingering turf toe), rookie CB Dexter McDougle (shoulder), rookie WR Quincy Enunwa (undisclosed) and LB Antwan Barnes (knee). WR David Nelson (illness) wasn't at practice. Remember, these sessions are voluntary. RB Mike Goodson (knee) also didn't attend. Rookie WR Shaq Evans had a school obligation.

Zach and Jace: Zach Sudfeld, a slightly taller, slightly thinner version of rookie Jace Amaro, will be an interesting player to watch over the next few months. Sudfeld (6-foot-7, 260) has the ability to make plays downfield, and he showed it with a nice catch on an intermediate crossing route. The key for him is staying healthy, a problem throughout his college career. Amaro (6-foot-5, 265) made one mental mistake, failing to turn on a seam route in a 7-on-7 drill drill. He ended up getting doinked by a Vick pass.

On guard: The Jets have an issue at right guard. Colon (knee scope) is out until training camp, and there is no clear-cut replacement on the roster. Second-year tackle Oday Aboushi, who saw no game action last season, practiced for the second straight day at Colon's spot. He "looked pretty good," according to Rex Ryan. At some point, perhaps in the preseason, they might have to import an experienced guard because they are thin at that spot. Colon is in a tough spot because he will be rehabbing two injuries -- the knee and his surgically repaired biceps, hampering his ability to do upper- and lower-body conditioning in preparation for camp. Tough break.

Odds and ends: The rookies that received the most work were Amaro, WR Jalen Saunders, LB Jeremiah George and OLB IK Enemkpali. QB Tajh Boyd split a handful of reps with Matt Simms. CB Brandon Dixon and LB Trevor Reilly came in late. Dixon was promptly burned on a deep pass. ... DE Leger Douzable had a sack. ... CB Ellis Lankster made a nice pass break-up. ... Ryan on OTAs: "It's not football yet, but it's close, closer than what we've had." He said he challenged the players to not only improve individually on a daily basis, but to help make their teammates better.

Five burning questions as OTAs begin

May, 27, 2014
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The next phase of the New York Jets' offseason begins Tuesday -- organized team activities. Or, as we like to call them in the biz, OTAs. Five questions facing the Jets as they start three weeks of practices before the mandatory minicamp:

Smith
1. Can Geno Smith hold off Michael Vick? We already know how Vick feels about the subject, as he stated his belief that Smith will be the opening-day quarterback. Vick probably is right, but Smith needs to eliminate any doubts. He can start by building off his promising finish to last season, which means taking control of the offense in OTAs. Smith has impressed teammates with his improved command of the offense, but it's one thing to be that way in a walk-through and quite another to demonstrate it against a live defense.

2. Is Eric Decker worth the money? The Jets, no longer big spenders in free agency, made an exception for Decker, giving him a five-year, $36 million contract. For that kind of loot, they expect him to be more than a nice No. 2 wide receiver. This could be culture shock for Decker, who goes from Peyton Manning to Smith/Vick. Then again, he caught passes from Tim Tebow in 2011, so he should be prepared for anything.

Amaro
3. Can Jace Amaro find an immediate niche? The Jets didn't use a lot of two-tight-end packages last season, but that could change with Amaro joining incumbent Jeff Cumberland at the position. The second-round pick is a big dude (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) with the ability to basically line up as a wide receiver. It will be interesting to see how coordinator Marty Mornhinweg incorporates Amaro into the passing attack.

4. Is Calvin Pryor as good as Rex Ryan thinks? Ryan always gushes about his rookies, but he's positively smitten with his first-round pick. He already has compared Pryor to one of the most notorious safeties in history, the hard-hitting Jack Tatum. It will be interesting to see how Ryan juggles Pryor, Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen in the safety rotation -- if there is a rotation. We're talking about three players with similar skill sets -- i.e. strong safety-types.

5. Is it Milliner time? Taking Smith out of the equation, the most improved player on the team has to be cornerback Dee Milliner. If not, the defense will have problems because it's counting on him as the No. 1 cornerback. Milliner has to be the rock in the post-Cromartie/post-Revis era. Last year's top pick, who missed the 2013 off-season because of a shoulder injury, saved a poor rookie year with a strong finish. Now he needs to build on that. Just being on the field, as opposed to rehabbing an injury, will help immensely.

Breakdown of Jets' rookie contracts

May, 25, 2014
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The New York Jets have nine of 12 draft picks under contract. The only unsigned players are safety Calvin Pryor (first round), cornerback Dexter McDougle (third) and cornerback Brandon Dixon (sixth). The process is moving along quickly because of the slotting system.

Let's take a look at the nine contracts:

Jace Amaro, tight end, second round -- Total value: Four years, $4.29 million. Total guaranteed: $2.45 million. Signing bonus: $1.44 million. 2014 cap charge: $780,545. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000 (fully guaranteed), 2015 -- $615,136 (fully guaranteed), 2016 -- $810,272, 2017 -- $1,005,408.

Jalen Saunders, wide receiver, fourth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.70 million. Total guaranteed: $481,448. Signing bonus: $481,448. 2014 cap charge: $540,362. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Shaq Evans, wide receiver, fourth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.67 million. Total guaranteed: $450,900. Signing bonus: $450,900. 2014 cap charge: $532,725. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Dakota Dozier, guard, fourth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.52 million. Total guaranteed: $300,584. Signing bonus: $300,584. 2014 cap charge: $495,146. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Jeremiah George, linebacker, fifth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.41 million. Total guaranteed: $191,752. Signing bonus: $191,752. 2014 cap charge: $467,938. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Quincy Enunwa, wide receiver, sixth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.3 million. Total guaranteed: $78,680. Signing bonus: $78,680. 2014 cap charge: $439,670. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

IK Enemkpali, linebacker, sixth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.3 million. Total guaranteed: $78,680. Signing bonus: $78,680. 2014 cap charge: $439,670. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Tajh Boyd, quarterback, sixth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.3 million. Total guaranteed: $78,690. Signing bonus: $78,680. 2014 cap charge: $439,670. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Trevor Reilly, linebacker, seventh round -- Total value: Four years, $2.28 million. Total guaranteed: $56,848. Signing bonus: $56,848. 2014 cap charge: $434,212. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Jets report: Plenty of drops (not rain)

May, 17, 2014
May 17
2:35
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets practiced for two hours Saturday under sunny skies. A few takeaways from Day 2 of rookie camp:

Pryor
Good to the last drop: In the what has become a rite of spring around the Jets, the receivers struggled with drops throughout practice. All three draft picks dropped at least one pass -- Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans and Quincy Enunwa. Not even tight end Jace Amaro, a sure-handed pass-catcher, was immune. Many of the drops came against "air," which can be attributed to a lack of concentration. It was a particularly tough day for Saunders, who dropped a long ball and a well-thrown pass on a crossing route. The dropsie epidemic strikes the Jets every spring. This time, coach Rex Ryan wasn't critical. He chalked it up to rookies being rookies. "Their heads are spinning," he said. The Jets need one of these rookies to stand out from the crowd, emerging as a contributor.

Calvin a quick study: First-round pick Calvin Pryor didn't make any eye-catching plays (remember, these are non-contact practices), but he continued to impress the coaches with his knowledge of the defense. Ryan praised the hard-hitting safety for being a quick study, calling him the most impressive player in camp. Specifically, he said the former Louisville standout has "great pattern recognition." Pryor definitely has a swagger, admitting afterward that he loves to talk trash. Nothing wrong with that; the Jets could use a little more of that attitude on defense.

Boyd can relate to Geno: Tajh Boyd is experiencing what Geno Smith went through a year ago, learning a pro-style offense after playing almost exclusively in the shotgun in college. The footwork is different. So is the timing of the pass routes. It's not an easy transition, which explains why Boyd has struggled with his accuracy in this camp. There were some hiccups on short and intermediate routes, but say this for Boyd: He throws a good deep ball. He was victimized by a couple of drops on long passes. Speaking to him afterward, Boyd came across as confident and charismatic. It's easy to see why he was considered such a good leader at Clemson.

Odds and ends: Safety Rontez Miles, who spent most of last season on the practice squad, is attending the camp, but he's still not 100 percent after offseason hip surgery. ... Running back Alex Green remains on the roster. On Friday night, he sent out a tweet that suggested he had been released. He apparently thought he was toasted after the Jets acquired Daryl Richardson on waivers. Ryan said Green made an incorrect assumption. ... Ryan felt they were "loaded at running back" before picking up Richardson, but he believes that Richardson upgrades the position. They have five veterans at running back. ... Pryor switched his number, changing to 25.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets opened rookie camp with a two-hour practice in the rain. A few takeaways:
  1. No. 1 debuts: It was a rather non-descript practice for safety Calvin Pryor. He missed his one opportunity to make a big play. Lined up against a slot receiver, the first-round pick made a great read and jumped the route, but he didn't get his hands up in time and the pass sailed over the his head. It should've been an interception. Rex Ryan made sure to point that out to Pryor. Interestingly, Pryor lined up as the personal protector on the punt team. Another Tim Tebow?
  2. Jace impresses: Tight end Jace Amaro was among the standouts in practice. The second-round pick caught everything, displaying sure hands and good body control. You could tell instantly that he has caught a lot of passes in his career. His speed doesn't jump out, but he's a fluid route runner. He's known as a pass-receiving tight end, but he certainly has the size (6-5, 265 pounds) to be an in-line blocker.
  3. Busy Boyd: The Jets have only two quarterbacks in camp, so sixth-round pick Tajh Boyd got plenty of reps. (In case you're wondering, the other quarterback is B.J. Coleman, a former Green Bay Packers draft pick who is participating on a tryout basis.) Boyd has mechanical glitches in his delivery, as the pre-draft scouting reports noted. He drops his release point at times, throwing at three-quarters. He also has an elongated motion. On Day 1, the former Clemson star struggled with his accuracy on short and intermediate passes. He threw behind sixth-round pick Quincy Enunwa over the middle, resulting in a deflection and an interception by fifth-round linebacker Jeremiah George. On the positive side, Boyd threw a couple of nice deep balls. That was the takeaway from his pro day; the Jets' scouts were impressed by his deep-ball accuracy.
  4. Three's company: The trio of rookie receivers -- Enunwa, Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans -- had an OK day. Evans jumped out early with his smooth route running and quick hands, the ability to snatch the ball out of the air. But later on, he dropped a well-thrown deep ball by Boyd. Saunders dropped a pass in an early drill, but he rebounded with a strong practice. To quote Ryan, Saunders is an "itty-bitty" receiver at 5-9. Jeremy Kerley has enjoyed success at the same size, but Kerley is well built. Saunders is a wispy 165 pounds, so you wonder if he'll be able to take the pounding.
  5. McDougle off-limits: Eight months removed from shoulder surgery, cornerback Dexter McDougle wore a red jersey (non-contact) and didn't participate in team drills. Afterward, the third-round pick explained the nature of his injury at Maryland, saying he suffered a dislocated shoulder and fractured shoulder blade in the third game.

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