New York Jets: Training Camp 2013

Crunching the QB stats: Neck and neck

August, 24, 2013
You know the famous NFL Films clip, when Bill Parcells walks over to his dog-tired linemen on the bench and tries to rally them by barking, "This is why you lift all them weights"?

Well, file this blog entry under, "This is why we keep all them stats."

After charting every practice in training camp, we present the unofficial stats from the Jets' quarterback competition. Keep in mind, some of this is subjective, especially with regard to sacks (the QBs wear a red, non-contact jersey) and touchdowns (no live tackling in most drills).

Okay, enough disclaimers, let's get to the numbers. Based on practice, Mark Sanchez vs. Geno Smith truly is "too close to call," as QBs coach David Lee noted. Here you go:

Sanchez: Completed 95 of 159 passes ... 59.7 completion percentage ... Four interceptions, including one on a Hail Mary -- but went the last 10 practices without a pick ... Threw nine touchdown passes ... Sacked 14 times.

Smith: Completed 104 of 173 passes ... 60.1 completion percentage ... Six interceptions, including three in one day (the "brutal" practice) ... Threw 15 touchdowns, including four in a goal-line drill on Thursday ... Sacked 15 times.

Quick thoughts: Early in camp, Sanchez had a couple of rough practices, but he steadied himself and became an efficient quarterback over the final two weeks. He's had only three poor plays all summer -- the two interceptions against the Lions and Jaguars and the bad clock-management play against the Jaguars. Smith got off to such a hot start in camp that some people in the organization were convinced they had found their man, but he leveled off even before the ankle injury. He hit rock bottom on the final open practice in Cortland, but has rallied in recent days as his sprained ankle has improved.

Rex Report: Ryan 'wrong' to predict Top 5 D

August, 21, 2013
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A day later, Rex Ryan admitted that he was "wrong" to predict that the Jets' defense would finish in the top 5. He said he doesn't want to put any added pressure on his players.

"I'm out of the prediction business," Ryan said. "... I don't want to put any extra pressure on the players or anyone else, just put it all on me. So wherever it ends up, if it's not good enough then it comes right down on me and that's where it should be. If it's good enough then it should go to the players and the coaches."

Ryan rubbed many in the NFL the wrong way in his previous seasons as Jets coach by predicting that his team would win a Super Bowl, only to fall short.

WHAT'S UP, JOE? Joe McKnight went through a full-contact practice for the second straight day but declined to speak to the media to clear up comments he made about his health.

In an interview with the Associated Press, McKnight said he suffered a concussion earlier in training camp, but the team never officially called it a concussion.

On Wednesday, Rex Ryan was asked to clarify. He remained steadfast that McKnight's ailment was a "head injury" but not a concussion.

McKnight declined to speak with reporters after Wednesday's practice.

"I'm staying with the head injury," Ryan said. "Right now, the last two days he's been out there full pads so that's good to see. My information was that it was a head injury and that's all I'm comfortable saying about it."

When a reporter asked Ryan why McKnight would be able to practice with what the player described as a "concussion," Ryan dismissed the question.

"I'll stand by our doctors and our trainers and not look for a witch hunt," he said.

McKnight has had a bizarre training camp. He failed his conditioning test on the first day of camp, was arrested on outstanding traffic warrants (and later released) and suffered a head injury.

Last Monday, McKnight left practice wearing an oxygen mask after he dropped to the field during a drill. He then got into a dustup with a Twitter user whom he thought was a member of the media.

All he said on Wednesday when approached by reporters was "I'm done talking for the week." McKnight said he would address reporters again next Wednesday.

REX EXCITED ABOUT VLAD: Ryan has been impressed with the play of Vlad Ducasse, who has gotten reps at left guard with the first team for the past two practices.

The Jets apparently aren't comfortable with Caleb Schlauderaff and Erik Cook as the backup center, so they gave some reps to Stephen Peterman at backup center, creating an opportunity for Ducassse, a former second-round pick.

"He actually played left guard, right guard and right tackle in a game and did a tremendous job for us against Jacksonville," Ryan said of Ducasse. "I think he's really pushing. I think there's no doubt that Vlad's pushing for [a starting spot]."

ELLIS OUT FOR SATURDAY: Injured lineman Kenrick Ellis (back) said that he will not play on Saturday against the Giants but plans to play in the Jets' final preseason game and remains confident that he'll be ready for Week 1.... Ryan said the training staff deciding to give cornerback Dee Milliner (calf) the day off to give him a chance to rest his injury and get closer to 100 percent.

Practice report: Strong showing by Geno

August, 21, 2013
FLORHAM PARK, NJ -- Sure, it was just a preseason practice, but Geno Smith had one of his best days as a Jet on Wednesday.

Smith went 15-for-16 in 11-on-11 drills with two touchdowns on Wednesday.

"It wasn't brutal that's for sure," Rex Ryan said in reference to Smith's performance. "That was a great day; I don't know if that was his best day because he's had a lot of good ones but he had a great one today."

The use of "brutal" by Ryan was a reference to his assessment of Smith last week, when the rookie threw three picks in practice.

On Wednesday, Smith seemed to be in total command on the field. He threw one touchdown against the third team defense but also had success against the first-team D. He found Jeremy Kerley on a slant down the middle in which Kerley made a great grab. He also hit Stephen Hill near the goal line for a touchdown, though Hill was shaken up on the play by a strong hit from Antonio Cromartie.

Mark Sanchez looked good on Wednesday as well, completing 10 of 14 passes and a touchdown. He also took three sacks though.

Ryan declined to name a starter for Saturday's preseason game. But since Smith has played with the first unit for the past three days, Sanchez believes that Smith will get the start against the Giants.

Sanchez, though, made some strong throws on Wednesday as well, finding Ben Obomanu for a big gain and Zack Rodgers for a 15-yard touchdown strike in traffic.

CORNERING THE MARKET: Wednesday was also a strong day for a few members of the Jets secondary.

In addition to his questionable hit on Hill, Cromartie had two strong pass breakups, including one on a wobbly thrown ball from Matt Simms to Michael Campbell. Cromartie met Campbell in the air and batted the ball away. Campbell seemed to land awkwardly. He got up slowly, but on his own power.

Kyle Wilson and Antonio Allen, who is competing with Jaiquawn Jarrett for the starting free safety job, also had nice breakups.

ATTENDANCE REPORT: Kenrick Ellis (back) did not practice and said he did not expect to play on Saturday. He hopes to play in the final preseason game and is confident that he'll be ready by Week 1. CB Dee Milliner (calf) did not practice. Neither did Braylon Edwards, though the absence is apparently part of his practice schedule, according to Ryan. Also, C Dalton Freeman (ankle) sat out.

HEY, WOODY: Jets owner Woody Johnson made an appearance at practice on Wednesday. It was the final practice open to the public. Johnson, in his signature white Jets hat, spent some time chatting with fans at the end of practice.

NEED BADGES? Before Geno Smith began his interview with reporters Wednesday, Mark Sanchez tossed him a card and laughed.

Sanchez wouldn't tell reporters what was on the card, calling it a "full-time locker-room joke."

We're not 100 percent positive by any means, but we think that the card was a "Media Bridge" card, which was given out to the team by its PR staff.

The New York Daily News' Manish Mehta took a picture of both sides of the card and tweeted it: Front, Back.

ODDS AND ENDS: Vladimir Ducasse was with the first team at left guard for the second straight day and Ryan was very complimentary of the lineman. ... Bilal Powell was used in the Wildcat formation on at least two snaps. ... Joe McKnight had a drop but practiced in pads for the second straight day. ... Junior Aumavae and Stephen Peterman got in a brief shoving match but it was quickly broken up. ... Hayden Smith made a drop on a Matt Sims pass but Simms connnected with Hill on a great TD catch over Mike Edwards to end practice.

Cro to Jets' offense: 'Don't cry, play ball!'

August, 21, 2013
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- These guys are teammates, right?

Things got interesting at New York Jets practice on Wednesday afternoon when cornerback Antonio Cromartie put a strong hit on receiver Stephen Hill during a two-minute drill.

Quarterback Geno Smith completed a pass to Hill near the goal line and Cromartie immediately put a high hit on Hill, near the helmet.

The hit appeared to come from Cromartie's forearm.

After the collision, there was a mini-skirmish involving members from the offense and defense. Some players, including center Nick Mangold, appeared to be upset with Cromartie.

At one point, after the skirmish dissipated, Cromartie could be heard yelling, "Don't cry, play ball!"

Hill returned for 7-on-7 drills later in practice.

Rex Ryan addressed the hit later Wednesday, saying he was "disappointed" because the hit was over the top.

"There's 'thud' and then there's like over-the-top 'thud.' I was disappointed because we have to protect each other. Stephen was running full speed and all that. Cro actually came off of his coverage and made the hit. Again, it wasn't, I don't think he intended to certainly hurt Stephen. But still you've got to be smarter. You're in great position, just let it go. I think that's what we need to do."

Hill said he had no problem with Cromartie's hard hit. He was surprised by the outsized reaction to the collision.

"That's competition," Hill said. "I expected that. So, I mean, we're out here playing football, that's what it is: it's a collision sport."

Cromartie was involved in another potentially dangerous play in 7-on-7s. He met wideout Michael Campbell in the air and broke up a pass, then Campbell landed awkwardly on his back and stayed on the ground momentarily. Cromartie hung around after the play to make sure Campbell was OK.

Jets place Hilliard on IR

August, 21, 2013
Fullback Lex Hilliard, who played in 12 games last season for the Jets, will have season-ending surgery next week to repair a fractured shoulder blade, a league source confirmed Wednesday.

[+] EnlargeLex Hilliard
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesLex Hilliard's second season with the Jets will be spent rehabbing an injured shoulder blade.
The Jets placed Hilliard on injured reserve Wednesday and signed wide receiver Marcus Rucker.

"That's really unfortunate because Lex is a tremendous player and also a tremendous person," Rex Ryan said.

Hilliard, who missed the first two preseason games due to a rib injury, left the practice field Tuesday in severe pain. Afterward, Rex Ryan mentioned a possible shoulder dislocation.

Even if he had remained healthy, Hilliard would've been hard-pressed to retain his roster spot. Rookie Tommy Bohanon, a seventh-round pick from Wake Forest, has impressed the coaching staff and is in line to win the starting job.

Ryan said the Jets would keep their options open but he was complimentary of Bohanon after Wednesday's practice.

"He's been impressive," Ryan said. "I've been very pleased with Tommy."

Hilliard was one of the few unrestricted free agents that new GM John Idzik decided to retain. Hilliard signed a one-year, $780,000 contract, including a $65,000 signing bonus. The Jets picked him up last season because of his background with former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. Hilliard rushed eight times for 31 yards and made four receptions for 23 yards in 2012.

He played in only 25 percent of the offensive snaps last season, a total of 271, but he was a steady contributor on special teams (203 snaps).

Bohanon said that he's confident that he can handle the starting role, if necessary.

"I definitely think that I'll be able to go out there and do everything they asked me to do," he said. "That's why I'm out there before practice and after practice working on my technique."

Ex-Jets: We want Sanchez

August, 20, 2013
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez may not be the people's choice, but he's the choice of many former Jets.

More than 20 ex-Jets, mostly from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, attended practice Tuesday as part of an alumni day. polled a dozen alums, posing the question: Who would you start on opening day, Sanchez or Geno Smith? The results:

Sanchez -- Nine votes

Smith -- Zero

Undecided -- Three

Here's a sampling of comments:

Bobby Jackson, CB, 1980s: "I'm not a big Mark Sanchez fan, but I'm a realist. He gives them the best chance."

John Schmitt, C, Super Bowl III team: "I'd say Mark. He knows what to expect. It's so hard for a kid to come out of college and grasp an NFL offense and grasp NFL defenses, as well. ... Geno needs a lot more time. That's my honest feeling."

Bruce Harper, KR, 1970s/80s: "From an outsider's view, I'd say Mark. He's the veteran and I don't think they've seen enough of Geno. ... Mark is the man until proven otherwise."

Joe Klecko, DT, 1970s/80s: "It's up in the air. If the kid shows something against the Giants, I think it throws a dilemma into Rex's kitchen. Sanchez has too much baggage. If Geno does well, it's a good dilemma."

Chad Cascadden, LB, 1990s: "Mark's ready, Geno's not ready yet. Mark's a four-year starter, he's seen it all. I don't think Geno has done enough to unseat that. I like how Mark responded two games ago after that early interception in Detroit. He bounced back quickly. You need that leadership."

Richard Caster, TE, 1970s: "Unless something goes crazy, I think you have to start with the established quarterback. Unless [Smith] is super-duper, out of this world against the Giants, I'd go with the proven commodity."

Randy Beverly, DB, Super Bowl III team: "I'm still wide open. I want to see more."

Jeff Richardson, OL, Super Bowl III team: "I'd go with Sanchez. Right now, I haven't seen enough of Geno. I could switch. I'm not married to Sanchez by any means. He's given me some disappointing times."

Ted Banker, G, 1980s: "I haven't seen enough of Geno, so I'd go with Sanchez. He's still making mistakes, though. If you go by interceptions and the number of quarters he's played in the preseason, that projects to a lot of interceptions. But I think Rex [Ryan] will go with what he knows, which tells me he'll go with Sanchez."

Our 'Corty' awards: A look back at Cortland

August, 15, 2013

To commemorate the Jets' three-week stay in Cortland, which ended Thursday, we present our "Cortys" -- the best and worst from Cortland:

PLAYER WHOSE STOCK IMPROVED THE MOST: Bilal Powell. Without Chris Ivory and Joe McKnight for much of camp, and with Mike Goodson never making it to camp, Powell became the workhorse in the backfield and impressed with his all-around play. He'll be a key player, especially early in the season as Ivory works his way into top condition.

PLAYER WHOSE STOCK DROPPED THE MOST: McKnight. He's lucky Goodson didn't report -- or else he'd be in serious jeopardy. As it stands now, he's not a lock to make the team. McKnight is as dependable as a weather forecast in South Florida.

MOST IMPROVED: Stephen Hill. It wasn't a drop-free camp -- I can recall two bad ones -- but the second-year receiver made great strides as a route-runner. He also has a better understanding of coverages. Now he has to take it to the games.

WAYNE CHREBET UNDERDOG AWARD: Ryan Spadola. Tell me if this story sounds familiar? Jersey kid from non-BCS school goes undrafted, signs a free-agent contract and turns heads in camp. Spadola has a good chance to make the 53-man roster. Shades of Chrebet in 1995.

TOUR DE FRANCE AWARD: Santonio Holmes. He spent a lot of time on the stationary bike, continuing his rehab from foot surgery. No one knows when he'll return to action. If the before-after is Week 1, bet the "after." By then, he'll have logged plenty of miles.

CONSPICUOUSLY QUIET: Dee Milliner. It's not often the ninth overall pick in the draft can remain relatively anonymous. He signed late and needed only a few days to leapfrog Kyle Wilson on the depth chart, but the rookie cornerback generated little buzz -- and that's not always a good thing.

DEJA VU MOMENT: Mark Sanchez's pick-six in Detroit. First series of the preseason ... a basic screen pass ... a lob toss and ... there goes Ansah for a touchdown! It took Sanchez less than four minutes to destroy the hopes of the optimistic Jets fans who dared to think this season might be different.

NINE LIVES AWARD: Sanchez. After an interception in the scrimmage, he fired a long TD pass to Hill. After the interception in Detroit, he led an 80-yard TD drive, culminating with a 26-yard scoring pass. Say this for him: He's resilient.

MOST MEMORABLE QUOTE: Rex Ryan on Geno Smith's Wednesday practice -- "It was brutal. That was Geno's worst day."

MOST MEMORABLE QUOTE II: Ryan on the Sanchez interception and Smith's performance in the opener: "I never saw it. ... You probably saw more plays than I did."

MOST MEMORABLE QUOTE III: Ryan on his future: "It's safe to say I won't be here if we draft [Jadeveon] Clowney."

BEST ROOKIE NOBODY IS PAYING ATTENTION TO: Tommy Bohanon -- or "Tommy Bahama," as Ryan calls him. The seventh-round pick from Wake Forest will be the opening-day fullback, count on it. Adios, Lex Hilliard.

Ryan It's safe to say I won't be here if we draft (Jadeveon) Clowney.

-- Rex Ryan
DREW ROSENHAUS AWARD: McKnight. Taking a page from the agent's celebrated 2005 interview about Terrell Owens, when he kept answering, "Next question," McKnight tried to stiff-arm reporters when asked about his turbulent camp. In a span of three minutes, covering 17 questions, he responded seven times with, "I'm not getting into that." P.S.: Rosenhaus ended up writing a book, entitled, "Next Question." Start writing, Joe.

MOST OVERPLAYED STORY: Sanchez hearing boos in the scrimmage. A turnover-prone quarterback gets booed for throwing an interception? Oh, my God, what's happening to society?

MOST TALENTED PLAYER WHO LEFT YOU WANTING MORE: Quinton Coples. He showed a flash here and there at his new position, outside linebacker, but the coaches expect bigger things from him.

WORST MOMENTS: Aaron Berry and John Griffin suffering season-ending injuries. They had a chance to make the team as backups, especially Berry.

ODE TO TIM TEBOW: Mike Sielski, beat writer for the Wall Street Journal. On a dreary day early in camp, Sielski conjured up memories of Tebow (not really) by pulling off his shirt and running through the rain. Surprisingly (or not), he was actually faster than Tebow.

Analysis: Sanchez to start vs. Jaguars

August, 15, 2013

Quick takeaways from the Jets' announcement Thursday morning that Mark Sanchez will start Saturday night against the Jaguars:

1. No surprise: Clearly, Rex Ryan was leaning this way Wednesday when he ripped Geno Smith for his "brutal" practice. One thing I found interesting: In announcing the starter on Twitter, the Jets made no mention of it being Ryan's decision. It was presented as a team decision. This is noteworthy in light of GM John Idzik declaring early in camp that he will have "a pretty big role" in the picking the quarterback -- an ill-advised statement that did nothing but undercut his coach's authority.

2. Sanchez, likely winner: Unless Smith plays like Aaron Rodgers next week against the Giants -- assuming he plays -- the Week 1 starting job will go to Sanchez. Jets Nation won't be happy.

3. The ankle boo-boo: The Jets dropped the ball by making Smith practice all week on a tender ankle. Now there's a chance he won't play at all against the Jaguars, likely forcing them to extend the competition another week. Why didn't they give him a couple of days off? Two reasons: It was only a minor ankle sprain, I'm told, and Ryan didn't want to create the perception that Smith was being coddled, a la Sanchez. I think Ryan wanted to give Smith a chance to show his toughness to his new teammates. I can see where he's coming from, but it would have been better to err on the side of caution.

4. What now? Ryan will address the matter on a 3 p.m. conference call with the media, but from all indications, it looks like the competition will be extended to the third preseason game. That would hurt the overall development of the offense.

Instead of using the Giants game as a final tuneup, playing the starters for about three quarters, the Jets would still be evaluating their quarterbacks. So let's say Smith starts and plays the first half and Sanchez plays a quarter. That would rob Sanchez -- the likely Week 1 starter -- of two quarters of reps. That's a considerable chunk of time considering Ryan doesn't play starters in the preseason finale. The issue would be magnified because it's a new offensive system, so every rep is important.

5. Geno fan club: If Ryan gives Smith a shot against the Giants, it shows how badly the organization wants to replace Sanchez. It's waiting ... waiting ... waiting for Smith to give them something -- anything -- to validate making him the starter.

6. Nothing comes easy: If anyone expected this quarterback competition to go smoothly, you haven't been paying attention for 40 years. Forget 40 years; how 'bout the past 17 months? Just Google "Tim Tebow" and "debacle" and you'll understand.

The Snap: Training camp, Day 22

August, 15, 2013
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The Jets are outta here.

A light practice is scheduled for Thursday, but it's possible that it could be cancelled. After three weeks away from home, the team is eager to return to New Jersey. By late morning, there will be a cavalcade of Cadillac Escalades and luxury cars motoring south to Florham Park.

The Jets are off Friday, then face the Jaguars Saturday night at MetLife Stadium.

ICYMI: Geno Smith threw three interceptions in Wednesday's practice, and a big story became a lot bigger when Rex Ryan used the word "brutal" to describe the rookie's day. Get ready for another week of quarterback-competition stories.

Geno responds to WVU fallout

August, 14, 2013
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Former West Virginia QB Geno Smith finally had a chance to say his piece Wednesday in response to the inflammatory quotes by his former coach and teammates.

Smith said he didn't perceive the comments about a lack of leadership on last year's team as an indictment of him.

"Not at all, and I’m pretty sure everyone has cleared that up by now," he said after practice. "I hate the fact that you guys try to make it about me. It’s not about me, it never was when I was in college, junior high school, high school. It’s a team sport, it’s a team game when we all go out there and compete together as a team. It’s the same thing here, so that’s what it’s all about. I love my teammates at West Virginia, I love those coaches, I had a great time there and I wish them the best."

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was quoted recently as saying, "We have to develop leaders. It was a big issue on last year's team -- in a bad way." Some of his players echoed that sentiment in a story by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. None of them singled out Smith by name.

Practice report: Oh, no, Geno

August, 14, 2013

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- It was a rough day for Geno Smith.

As expected, Smith took the majority of the first-team reps Wednesday, but the rookie quarterback was out of sorts, throwing three interceptions in team drills and another in 7-on-7. A few other passes were knocked down by defensive backs.

Both Smith and Mark Sanchez faced the scout-team defense, so this wasn't your typical starters-versus-starters situation. As a result, the intensity level was down. Nevertheless, Smith struggled with his accuracy and made a couple of bad decisions. He was picked off by Royce Adams, Jacquies Smith and Bret Lockett in team drills. Rontez Miles made an interception in 7-on-7, grabbing a pass that went off the hands of WR Ryan Spadola.

Smith didn't seem affected by his tender ankle. His worst moment came at the end of a two-minute drill, when he was intercepted in the red zone by Lockett. Unofficially, Smith was 10-for-21.

It was a workmanlike day for Sanchez, who completed seven of 11 passes with no interceptions.

Rex Ryan still hasn't named his starter for Saturday night against the Jaguars. He might wait until Friday. Sanchez appears to have created separation in the QB competition, based on the last week to 10 days, but Smith still hasn't received a prime opportunity in a game. It would make sense to start him this week, but Ryan has been playing it coy.

ATTENDANCE REPORT: RB Joe McKnight (head), NT Kenrick Ellis (back), LB Josh Mauga (back) and P Robert Malone (back) didn't practice. McKnight didn't make an appearance on the field until the end of practice . ... TE Kellen Winslow didn't practice. His wife is having a baby. ... WR Clyde Gates (head) returned on a limited basis. He wore a red jersey, per league protocol on head injuries.

LITTLE MAC: Third-string QB Greg McElroy, apparently still bothered by an ankle injury, was limited to only scout-team work. Matt Simms was the No. 3 in team-related drills. McElroy probably has showed enough to nail down the No. 3 job, but his status for Saturday night remains uncertain.

O-LINE SCHUFFLE: The Jets did a lot of rotating of personnel on the offensive line. LG Vladimir Ducasse, LT J.B. Shugarts and recently signed C Erik Cook got a few reps with the first team. Ducasse also worked a bit at right guard. Obviously, they're still in the evaluation stage, trying to figure out the sixth, seventh and eighth spots on the depth chart. Rookie Brian Winters hasn't been able to compete for a starting job because of an ankle injury, so it looks like Stephen Peterman will emerge as the starting left guard.

ODDS AND ENDS: Braylon Edwards, battling for a roster spot, had a nice practice. He caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez. ... RB Chris Ivory, coming off his hamstring troubles, made it through his third straight practice without incident. ... WR Ben Obomanu had a drop.

ADIOS, CORTLAND: This was the final open practice in Cortland. The team will practice Thursday and break camp, moving the operation back to Florham Park, N.J.

The Snap: Training camp, Day 21

August, 14, 2013
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The Jets' three-week stay in upstate New York is just about over. Wednesday is the final practice open to the public and the final Cortland practice open to the media. By late afternoon, there will be a cavalcade of beat writers motoring down Interstate 81.

The Jets will spent one more night in Cortland before breaking camp Thursday after practice. On Saturday night, the Jets face the Jaguars at MetLife Stadium.

Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith are scheduled to address the media Wednesday. From all indications, Rex Ryan won't name this week's starter until Friday, meaning the speculation will continue. Sanchez took the bulk of the reps Monday and Tuesday, so it should be Smith's turn. We'll see. Marty Mornhinweg's quarterback rotation has been unpredictable in recent days.

Injuries, of course, will be news. RB Joe McKnight and WR Clyde Gates are recovering from head injuries, and likely won't play against the Jaguars. We'll see if they practice. NT Kenrick Ellis missed Tuesday with a back ailment, and it'll raise some eyebrows if he misses a second consecutive day. Ditto, P Robert Malone (back) and QB Greg McElroy, who rolled an ankle. McElroy didn't do much Tuesday, so his status for the game could be in question.

ICYMI: Ryan became evasive and cryptic when fielding questions on his quarterback plans for the week. ... Braylon Edwards sounds like the receiver of 2010. The question is, can he play like it? ... Smith's former coach is in damage control. ... McKnight's head is injured -- again. This time, there were no tweets.

Braylon still sees himself as 'elite'

August, 13, 2013
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Braylon Edwards hasn't been a productive player since 2010, but he still believes he can be an "elite" receiver in the NFL. You have to admire his confidence. We all know the Jets could use some swagger on offense.

"I'm starting to get into camp shape, that groove, that vibe," Edwards said. "Now is the chance to really go after it and really show these guys I still have it and that I can play at an elite level to help this team win games."

With Santonio Holmes still on the mend, Edwards is their most accomplished receiver, no contest. He might not be the player he was in 2007, when he was one of the best receivers in the league, but he still has enough to offer at the age of 30. He's a gamer, and the Jets need gamers.

Curiously, it seems like he's fighting for a roster spot. He played 27 offensive snaps in the first game, an unusually high number for a nine-year vet. When a veteran still is playing into the fourth quarter of the first preseason game, it can be an ominous sign.

"I can't think about what's going on with the depth chart, one to six," Edwards said. "I need to worry about one-seven" -- meaning his number, 17.

Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley are locks to make the team, and Clyde Gates probably will stick, too. After that, it's Edwards and rookie Ryan Spadola, an impressive free agent. Edwards wouldn't say he's a shoo-in -- he's been around this business long enough to know there are very few gimmes -- but he likes his chances because of GM John Idzik.

Idzik, a former Seahawks executive, saw Edwards up-close last season in Seattle. Edwards felt he was the team's best receiver at the start of the season, and he believes Idzik recognizes his ability.

"The talent is there, that's what people need to realize," Edwards said. "John Idzik was in Seattle. If he saw a diminished player, I don't think he would've brought me here."

If Idzik is smart, he'll keep him here because Calvin Johnson isn't walking through the door.

What we learned on Day 20

August, 13, 2013

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Observations from the press box:

1. Still no QB decision: Rex Ryan declined to name a starter for Saturday night's game, raising the question: What's taking so long? If it's an open competition, it should be Geno Smith's turn, but Ryan said he may let it play out until the end of the week. No doubt, he wants to see how Smith does on his tender ankle, but why not just come out and say Smith will start, if healthy? I honestly think they don't know yet. This isn't a clear-cut decision, arriving at a Week 1 starter, and I'm sure there has been plenty of internal discussion on the matter. Neither Smith nor Sanchez has distinguished himself in camp. Nothing ever comes easy for the Jets.

2. Sensitive subject: Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg bristled a bit when the question of pass-run ratio was raised. It came up because of the imbalance in the first game -- 16 runs, 42 passes. Ryan said he'd like more of a pass-run balance, hardly an earth-shattering statement. Later, Mornhinweg asked reporters, "Who said you need to be balanced? You score points throwing the ball." He was known as a pass-happy play caller with the Eagles. From 2010 to 2012, the Eagles' pass-run ratios were 62 percent to 38 percent, 57 to 43 and 59 to 41. Obviously, this subject was brought up a lot during his time in Philly. Judging from his reaction, he'd rather talk about something else.

3. Special K: I think backup TE Konrad Reuland has earned a roster spot with a solid performance in camp. Frankly, I thought he was a bubble player at the start of camp, but he has value because of his versatility, highlighted in Tuesday's practice. He's a red-zone weapon (at least in practice) and he handles other jobs as well. Clearly, Mornhinweg is willing to try different things with him. I think Reuland sticks.

Rex Report: Looking for more balance

August, 13, 2013
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded coach who, in the past, has preached a Ground & Pound philosophy on offense. Ryan has said he's not married to that philosophy, but he also wasn't pleased that the Jets called only 16 running plays in the preseason opener -- compared to 42 pass plays.

"You never want to have just [16] rushes -- or whatever it was in a game," Ryan said Tuesday. "You don't want that. But will we throw the ball more than we run it? That's certainly a possibility."

Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, known as a pass-happy coach in his years with the Eagles, was asked in a separate interview if he has spoken with Ryan about achieving offensive balance.

"Who said you need to be balanced?" Mornhinweg said. "You score points throwing the ball. Now you're getting into a philosophical situation. Look it, we don't care how we get it done -- running, passing, we don't care who gets the credit. It's whatever it takes to win the next game."

Other takeaways from Ryan's Tuesday presser:

TWO-GAP SHELDON: Sheldon Richardson's role on defense -- specifically, whether he's a scheme fit in the 3-4 -- is a sensitive subject for Ryan.

"This young man can almost do anything you can ask a D-lineman to do," Ryan said of the first-round pick. "When you look at him traditionally, as some people saw, he can be a three-technique, up-field type guy. Well, yes he can, but he can also do everything else. So I think he's not just limited to one style of defense. And that's why when we drafted him. I thought it was funny, 'Oh, hey, he doesn't fit the system.' Well, what system is that? Our system is multiple. We take advantage of guys' movement skills, we take advantage of the athleticism of our guys. So, to me, he certainly fits us."

DON'T BOO MARK: The Jets play at home Saturday night, their first game at MetLife Stadium since last Dec. 23. The home fans didn't get a chance to boo Mark Sanchez in that game because he didn't play -- Greg McElroy did -- but they're not likely to embrace him, considering all that went down last season.

Ryan wishes the fans would cut him some slack.

"I certainly hope that we can move past it and we can focus on what's in front of us, and give not just Mark, but all of us a fair shake," he said. "This is your football team, but you certainly have a right to do whatever you choose. If you want to boo whoever it is, our fans certainly have that right. To me, yeah, I absolutely hope that doesn't happen. I hope that everybody is behind us 100 percent."

Don't bet on it.

WRINKLES: We know the Jets will use the Wildcat this season. Ryan also has mentioned the possibility of using the Pistol, as the 49ers did last year with QB Colin Kaepernick.

"If your quarterback has the mobility to do some of that stuff, then I don't understand why you wouldn't do it," he said. "There are other ways of getting to it. If you have a guy like a Jeremy Kerley or a Bilal Powell, who can throw the ball, that can be accomplished that way as well."