New York Jets: Nick Bellore

Observation deck: Jets-Eagles

August, 29, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Jets' quarterback competition took a night off, as neither Mark Sanchez nor Geno Smith played Thursday night in the final preseason game. Matt Simms got the call and led the Jets to a 27-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.

What it means: The Jets finished the preseason at 3-1. Big deal. No one will remember their record in 24 hours. The focus shifts immediately to opening day and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There are a myriad questions for the Jets, starting with the quarterback position: Smith or Sanchez? Sanchez (shoulder) remains day-to-day and should know more about his status when he meets with the medical staff over the weekend.

No Geno: That the Jets didn't play Smith suggests they believe there's a good chance he will be the opening-day starter. The rookie could've used the work -- his preseason consisted of 3½ quarters -- but it would've been too risky to expose him to potential injury. Coach Rex Ryan bubble-wrapped almost his entire starting lineup. The only projected starters/key reserves that saw action were Vladimir Ducasse (started at right guard), cornerback Kyle Wilson and safety Antonio Allen. Why play Wilson, a virtual starter? It was very curious and, no doubt, will fuel speculation about his future. Were the Jets showcasing him for a trade? Wilson has been a first-round disappointment, but he has value because of his versatility.

Tough dude, Simms: Battling for the No. 3 QB job, Simms was absolutely terrific. Undaunted by a seven-sack first half, Son of Phil completed 33 of 44 passes for 285 yards and no turnovers, although there were a couple of near-interceptions. He went 25-for-27 in one stretch, shades of his dad in Super Bowl XXI. He showed toughness, poise and accuracy. How can he not make the team? Greg McElroy (knee), who didn't play, should be worried about his roster spot. Newly signed Graham Harrell didn't play, but could factor into the equation.

Porous pass protection: The Jets had better hope their starting offensive linemen stay healthy, because the backups are shaky -- and that's being kind. They could be in the market for a backup swing tackle because veteran Jason Smith, who re-signed last week, played quite possibly one of the worst games ever by a lineman. Facing the Eagles' backups, Smith -- the No. 2 overall pick in 2009 -- allowed at least three sacks. He was pulled at halftime, the best thing to happen to Simms all night.

Defensive stand: The Jets' No. 2 defense dominated Chip Kelly's No. 2 offense. LB Ricky Sapp, LB Danny Lansanah, DE Leger Douzable, LB Nick Bellore and S Jaiquawn Jarrett were among the standouts.

Kicking competition: It was a draw between incumbent Nick Folk and challenger Dan Carpenter. Folk was good from 28 yards, Carpenter from 43. Each recorded a touchback on his only kickoff.

What's ahead: Now comes the bloody part of the business. Teams must pare their rosters to 53 by 6 p.m. ET Saturday, meaning the Jets have to slice 22 players over the next 48 hours.

Spreading the holiday cheer

December, 10, 2012
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Nick Bellore and Ellis Lankster were looking for opportunities to get in the holiday spirit, and asked if the Jets were doing anything as an organization to celebrate the season.

They were in luck, and so will 20 elementary school students who participate in the Generation Jets program. Bellore and Lankster, as well as Austin Howard, Konrad Reuland and Caleb Schlauderaff, will be on hand tonight to help the students spend $250 gift cards at a New Jersey Toys R Us.

"It's the first time I'm going to do something like that," Ellis said. "I'm ready."

"I know I would've loved getting a shopping spree when I was a kid," Bellore said.

Luckily, the win in Jacksonville and a spark of playoff hopes means the team has a little more cheer to spread.

Tebow, Bellore team up on punt fake

October, 14, 2012
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jets linebacker Nick Bellore had never had a pass intentionally thrown his way -- not at any level, even going back to Pop Warner football.

So when backup quarterback Tim Tebow hit him with a 23-yard pass from the punt formation on a 4th-and-11 just before halftime Sunday against the Colts, Bellore was suddenly tied for the most receiving yards in the game.

“That’s what I planned going into the game -- being one of the leading receivers on the team,” joked Bellore.

The Jets won the game 35-9, due in part to the risky play. It was so unexpected that when coach Rex Ryan told owner Woody Johnson what they planned to do, Johnson asked Ryan if Bellore could catch.

“I said, ‘Oh yeah absolutely,’ and I’m thinking, ‘Oh please catch it,’” Ryan said. “He did a great job.”

The week before, Tebow ran for a first down out of the punt formation on a 4th-and-1. So this week Tebow and Bellore started working on the play in practice.

“It was a great throw by Tim and we executed it well and luckily it worked," said Bellore. "Those are always high-risk, high-reward plays.”

After three punt fakes in the first six weeks of the season, the Jets will have to get even more creative if they want to fool anyone going forward.

“We just have to keep trying to go out there and giving different looks,” Tebow said. "Sometimes we’ll have to play it safe, punt the ball and don’t let them return it.”

This play led to a five-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Jason Hill, and the Jets were up 21-6 at the half. Hill did a hopscotch touchdown celebration as a message to his four-year-old son, Jason Jr., at home.

For Tebow, the successful pass was a highlight. Tebow’s other pivotal play was on a 3rd-and-1 soon after, when he took a direct snap in the red zone and ran three yards for a first down. He had four carries for seven yards on the day.

Tebow said the win was a good one for the Jets, with two AFC East opponents on deck, the Patriots and the Dolphins.

“It gives you more momentum to know that everything you’re doing in practice is paying off,” Tebow said. “Like we’ve said for the past five weeks, we’ve got to stay focused and keep getting better. There’s still lots of time.”