New York Jets: Zach Rogers

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.

Rapid Reaction: Lions 26, Jets 17

August, 9, 2013

DETROIT -- The New York Jets opened the preseason Friday night with a 26-17 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Despite a killer interception, Mark Sanchez won the night over Geno Smith in the ballyhooed quarterback competition. Smith left in the third quarter after rolling his ankle. It doesn't appear serious, but he can't afford to miss any practice time.

What it means: As it stands now, Sanchez will be the opening-day starter. He gave as many points to the Lions as he produced for the Jets -- seven -- but he showed greater command than Smith, who delivered a nondescript performance in his NFL debut. Smith is doomed if he misses any practice time; it's almost impossible for a rookie to play catch-up in training camp.

Sanchez's night: It was the worst possible start for Sanchez, who threw a pick-six on the Jets' first series. Under pressure on a screen pass, he didn't put enough air under the pass and it was intercepted by rookie defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who returned it 14 yards for a touchdown. Sanchez has a maddening tendency to turn a safe pass into a calamity. In fact, he almost had another screen intercepted.

To Sanchez's credit, he responded to the disastrous start to finish 10-for-13 for 125 yards with a 26-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Jeff Cumberland. It culminated a seven-play, 80-yard drive, much of which came in the hurry-up offense. It was typical Sanchez -- some good, some ugly. Some things don't change.

Geno's night: Unlike Sanchez, Smith didn't make any horrible mistakes, but he also didn't bring any spark to the offense. The former West Virginia star, who got two series behind the starting offensive line, generated only one first down on his first three drives -- a 15-yard pass to Clyde Gates on his first play. Simply put, Smith didn't look ready to take over the team. He finished 6-for-7 for 47 yards. Smith came out on the first series of the third quarter, when he turned his right ankle on an open-field scramble.

Greg McElroy came in and did a nice job against the Lions' third-stringers, going 11-for-19 for 145 yards and an 11-yard TD pass to Zach Rogers.

Big-play tight ends: Dustin Keller is gone, but Cumberland and Kellen Winslow displayed playmaking ability. Winslow made a nice catch and run for 24 yards. Cumberland scored his touchdown on a deep seam, showing his ability to get vertical. It's too soon to say the Jets have two weapons at tight end, but it was a good start.

Another injured running back: John Griffin was carted off with a lower-leg injury. It didn't look good. Already down Chris Ivory, Mike Goodson and Joe McKnight, the Jets can't afford another injury in the backfield. Ivory (hamstring) is expected to return Sunday.

New-look defense: The Jets opened with seven new starters in the post-Darrelle Revis era. All things considered, the defense held up fairly well. Most of the starters played most of the first half, an unusually long stint for the first game, and allowed 10 points. Cornerback Darrin Walls, an early substitution for starter Antonio Cromartie, got beat on a 15-yard scoring pass. One player who jumped out was nose tackle Kenrick Ellis, who deflected a pass and held the point of attack. Safety Dawan Landry got beat once in coverage. Keep in mind that Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford played only two series.

The rookies: It was a so-so debut for top pick Dee Milliner, who started at corner in the base defense. He didn't have to cover all-world receiver Calvin Johnson -- Cromartie drew that assignment -- so that made life easier for Milliner. He had a nice pass breakup in the end zone, but he missed an open-field tackle and allowed a 27-yard reception. Milliner gets some slack, though, because he missed a lot of time and is rusty. It was a relatively quiet night for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

The Q report: Former first-round pick Quinton Coples, making the transition to outside linebacker, flashed good and bad on his first two plays. He deflected a pass on an outside rush, but he failed to set the edge on an outside run by Reggie Bush. Coples didn't move well in space. This will be an interesting position change.

What's ahead: The Jets return to Cortland, for four days of practice. They break camp Thursday and return to Florham Park, N.Y., where they will prepare for next Saturday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Hey, rook, here's Tebow's number

May, 12, 2013
When former Tennessee wide receiver Zach Rogers reported to the Jets' rookie minicamp, he was assigned one of the most popular numbers in the NFL -- 15. It took him, oh, about a nanosecond to make the connection.

Tim Tebow's number.

[+] EnlargeZach Rogers
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsZach Rogers is the new No. 15.
"Yeah, I remember him wearing it," Rogers said, alluding to Tebow's ill-fated season with the Jets.

Funny part is, Rogers got a chance to meet Tebow during the offseason. He actually caught passes from him one weekend in Nashville, where Tebow, on one of his many workout stops across America, trained with a quarterback coach.

"He threw to us," Rogers said. "He's a great guy. I wish him the best."

You might say Rogers is a Tiny Tim. After 6-foot, 172 pounds, he's 78 pounds lighter than Tebow's 2012 playing weight.

"He's a big dude," Rogers said, "but I'm going to try to fill [the uniform] as best as I can."

Rogers, an undrafted free agent, received a first-day shout out from Rex Ryan, who lauded his ability as a slot receiver. He caught a lot of balls over the first two days of the rookie camp, doing what slot receivers do -- finding ways to get open over the middle.

Rogers was a fine receiver at Tennessee, making 32 receptions for 491 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Those numbers don't jump off the page, but you have to consider he was part of a receiving corps that include Cordarrelle Patterson (first-round pick, Vikings) and Justin Hunter (second round, Titans). Obviously, he was overshadowed -- and didn't mind.

"I like flying under the radar," he said. "That's been my motto since coming out of high school. I'll stick with that."
The Jets signed 15 undrafted free agents at the conclusion of the draft. Here's a brief bio on each player, starting with the offense:

Dalton Freeman, C, Clemson: The school's first center in 60-plus years to start as a freshman. Started 49 games in his career, a first-team, all-ACC selection.

Trey Gilleo, OT, Northern Arizona: Started 33 straight games. Listed at 6-foot-6, 280 pounds. Arrived as a 219-pound freshman.

Chris Pantale, TE, Boston College: Hails from Wayne, N.J. Missed the first five games last season with a broken foot. Finished with 21 receptions, 189 yards and two touchdowns.

Mark Popek, G, South Florida: Started two years at left tackle. Won't find many guards taller than him -- 6-foot-7, 299 pounds.

Zach Rogers, WR, Tennessee: Overshadowed by Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter. Slot receiver. Caught 32 passes for 491 yards and seven touchdowns last season. A real sleeper.

Mike Shanahan, WR/TE, Pitt: No relation to the Redskins' coach. At 6-foot-4, 241 pounds, he likely will be moved to tight end. Highly productive: Finished with 58 receptions, 926 yards and five touchdowns.

K.J. Stroud, WR, Bethune-Cookman: Raised in Brooklyn, spent two years at Rutgers. Nice-sized receiver (6-foot-2), limited by injuries last season -- only 26 catches for 283 yards. Stood out at New Jersey regional combine and was invited to national combine.

Ryan Spadola, WR, Lehigh: From Howell, N.J. A nice-sized receiver (6-foot-1) with surprising agility. Caught 57 passes for 851 yards and four touchdowns last season. Highest-graded offensive player among the Jets' UDFAs, according to Pro Football Weekly.

Antavious Wilson, WR, Marshall: More productive than teammate Aaron Dobson, a second-round pick of the Patriots. Finished with 69 receptions, 741 yards and nine touchdowns last season.