NFL Nation: Jeff Cumberland

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets wrapped up minicamp -- and the offseason -- with a 90-minute practice Thursday in a light rain. A few takeaways:

Smith
1. Quarterback hiccups: One day after his coaches lavished praise upon him for a terrific offseason, Geno Smith ended on a down note, throwing two interceptions in team drills. One was an ill-advised throw, a pass into double coverage. He was looking for Eric Decker, who was covered by CB Dee Milliner, and it was picked off by rookie S Calvin Pryor. Later, Smith (2-for-6 in team drills) was intercepted by Milliner on a deep ball that went off the hands of Decker. It's important to keep this in perspective. Two turnovers on the final day of minicamp doesn't change anything. As Marty Mornhinweg indicated Wednesday, it's Smith's job to lose. Michael Vick was 2-for-7, with a couple of overthrows.

2. Young ball hawks: Turnovers are always a good news-bad news story in practice. The good news is that the secondary, which produced very few big plays last season, came up big. In addition to Pryor and Milliner, rookie CB Dexter McDougle made a big play, intercepting Vick in a 7-on-7 drill. (Vick seemed upset; there might have been a miscommunication with WR Jeremy Kerley). Afterward, Rex Ryan praised McDougle as one of the standouts in minicamp. This will be the youngest secondary of the Ryan era. The upside is the improved team speed on the back end; the downside is the lack of experience, which will inevitably lead to mental errors.

3. Another Hill to climb: WR Stephen Hill, who could be fighting for his roster spot, finished with a terrific practice. This was a positive offseason for Hill, who needed a jolt after a second straight disappointing season. He worked with the starting base offense, with David Nelson replacing him in some three-receiver packages. Nelson, too, looked sharp, hauling in two completions from Smith. Unlike past years, the Jets actually have some depth at receiver. It'll be interesting to see which players separate from the pack in training camp.

4. Dawan is da man: Veteran S Dawan Landry became the forgotten man in recent weeks, especially with Pryor and Antonio Allen working exclusively with the first team. After practice, Ryan tossed a bouquet to Landry, mentioning him as one of the standouts in minicamp. Ryan also revealed that Landry won an "Iron Jet" award for his exploits in the conditioning program, noting that he reported to the offseason program in superior condition. Funny how that works; they draft a safety in the first round and the aging incumbent shows up looking better than ever.

5. Attendance report: LB David Harris (hamstring tightness) and TE Jeff Cumberland (undisclosed) sat out. As expected, RB Chris Ivory (ankle) didn't participate. With Chris Johnson (knee) also out, Bilal Powell and Alex Green had busy days.

6. Have a nice summer: The offseason program is over. The team won't be together again until training camp. Reporting day is July 23 in Cortland, New York.
Former longtime general manager Bill Polian, in his current role as an ESPN analyst, provides his insight into the offseason with a free-agency tracker Insider. He evaluates and grades every free agent, using a specific grading method:

A: $6+ million AAV (annual average value), 3+ years guaranteed money

B: $2 million-$6 million AAV, 2 years or fewer guaranteed money

C: $2 million or less AAV, 2 years or fewer guaranteed money

D: Minimum salary, 1 year contract

Cumberland
Polian isn't particularly bullish on the New York Jets' free agents, with the exception of tight end Jeff Cumberland, whom he gave a B grade. Based on Polian's rating system, the Jets got a great deal for Cumberland, who re-signed for $3.7 million over three years. Essentially, he got paid like a No. 2 tight end. Polian's take on Cumberland:

A former college wide receiver, Cumberland has filled out his frame enough to become a move tight end who can be flexed out and detached from the line of scrimmage. He has good straight-line speed to stretch the seam and extend the field vertically. He is a work in progress as a blocker who can be a useful No. 2 tight end who can improve the passing attack in the red zone with his good catch radius. He's not an ideal starter, but he also won't be a detriment to an offense. An improving player.

Only two free agents are worthy of a C, according to Polian -- kicker Nick Folk and right tackle Austin Howard. The Jets overpaid for Folk, per the rating system, and they could be on the verge of doing the same for Howard. Polian's take on Folk, who received the franchise tag ($3.6 million):

After clinging to his job for each of his first three seasons in New York, Folk broke out with the best season of his career in 2013. He showed exceptional accuracy and leg strength, hitting a 54-yard field goal during the season. A starting-level kicker who has connected on over 80 percent of his career kicks.

Polian on Howard, who will land a deal in the coming days (whether it's with the Jets or another team) that will pay him twice as much as the 'C' grade:

Howard made strides during the 2013 regular season, improving as a full-time starter for the Jets as a right tackle. He has a massive frame and wingspan, as he entered the NFL at nearly 350 pounds (he has since trimmed down). Howard can struggle with quickness from opposing edge rushers but is sufficient as a space player and can be a starting right tackle. He should continue to improve.

Free-agency primer: Jets

March, 7, 2014
Mar 7
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» AFC Free-Agency Primer: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

Key free agents: RT Austin Howard, PK Nick Folk (franchise player), TE Jeff Cumberland, LB Calvin Pace, RG Willie Colon, S Ed Reed.

Where they stand: The Jets are trying to re-sign Howard before he hits the open market. He's not a household name, but he's a massive blocker with surprising athleticism. Howard has two years of starting experience and he's only getting better. They've expressed an interest in re-signing Cumberland and Pace, although it's unclear if deals will get done by Tuesday. Pace produced a career-high 10 sacks last season, playing for the minimum salary, but he's 33 -- and the Jets won't throw significant money at a player that old. The Jets are rebuilding at tight end, so Cumberland's role is undefined, which could affect negotiations. Colon and Reed are fallback options. In Reed's case, way, way back. Colon is recovering from biceps surgery and won't be healthy until the spring.

What to expect: With an anticipated $30 million in cap space, the Jets could be aggressive buyers if they so choose. They need a wide receiver (or two), a tight end and a veteran quarterback to push Geno Smith. There aren't any true No. 1 receivers on the market, so they'd better be careful not to overpay for the second-rate talent. Emmanuel Sanders and Golden Tate could be on the radar. They're likely to have interest in QBs Josh McCown and Michael Vick, who'd be ideal because he already knows Marty Mornhinweg's system from their days together in Philadelphia. If they strike out with free agents, the Jets could retain former starter Mark Sanchez, contingent on his health and a massive pay cut. The Jets could have 12 draft choices (counting possible compensatory picks), so they don't have to overpay to fix every need in free agency.

Ranking the Jets' free agents

February, 28, 2014
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The New York Jets have 16 players headed to unrestricted free agency on March 11. Ranking them in order of their importance:

1. Austin Howard, right tackle -- The Jets are trying to sign him to a long-term extension before March 11. He figures to land a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million to $6 million a year. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan tweeted that Howard could get $7 million per year if he hits the open market.

[+] EnlargeJeff Cumberland
Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsTight end Jeff Cumberland caught a pass in all but three games last season.
2. Jeff Cumberland, tight end -- The Jets have expressed interest in re-signing Cumberland, but the financials could be tricky. Do they see him as a No. 1 tight end or a solid No. 2? Cumberland, who played in 652 offensive snaps last season, wants to be paid like a starter.

3. Calvin Pace, linebacker -- There's mutual interest, but they can't re-sign him until free agency starts unless he agrees to another minimum-salary deal, per CBA rules. The reason is because the Jets received a minimum-salary cap benefit last season with Pace. However, in theory, the two sides can have a more lucrative agreement in place that could be quickly signed March 11.

4. Nick Folk, kicker -- By rule, he falls into the same category as Pace. After four consecutive one-year contracts, Folk deserves a long-term deal after a career year. Talks are ongoing.

5. Leger Douzable, defensive end -- He was an important backup last season, contributing 228 defensive snaps. The Jets would like to have him back, but they probably won't go much higher than a minimum salary.

6. Ellis Lankster, special teams -- The Jets want him back because he's a core special-teamer. Lankster may look around to see if there's a team willing to give him a shot at cornerback.

7. Willie Colon, guard -- His surgically repaired biceps will be ready for training camp, but it may not be with the Jets, who will consider in-house options and explore the free-agent market. Colon looks like a fallback.

8. Josh Mauga, linebacker -- He missed most of the last two seasons with injuries, but he's only 26 and the Jets are thin at inside linebacker. There's a chance he could return on a one-year deal.

9. Aaron Berry, cornerback -- He's coming off ACL surgery, never a good thing for a corner, but he flashed some potential before getting hurt. He could be a post-draft option.

10. Vladimir Ducasse, guard -- The former second-round pick has some talent, but he wasn't able to put it all together under three different line coaches. He's unlikely to return.

11. Ed Reed, safety -- Rex Ryan would take him back, but it's a long shot. He's not an every-down player anymore. He could be an emergency pickup down the road.

12. Josh Cribbs, kick returner -- He provided a brief spark last season, but he's coming off surgery for a torn pectoral muscle, and he'll be 31.

13. David Garrard, quarterback -- He was a good mentor for Geno Smith, but he's 36 with a bad knee. The Jets will look for a younger, more viable backup.

14. Lex Hilliard, fullback -- He's coming off shoulder surgery, but there's a chance he could be back. Tommy Bohanon didn't light it up.

15. Darius Reynaud, running back -- He had a late-season cup of coffee with the Jets. He's unlikely to return.

16. Kellen Winslow, tight end -- He will hit the market -- that's free agent, not Boston.

Sunday notes: Heard around the combine

February, 23, 2014
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Notes and observations from the NFL scouting combine:

1. Backs to the wall: This comes as a bit of a surprise, but I hear the New York Jets are exploring free-agent running backs -- namely Donald Brown (Indianapolis Colts) and Ben Tate (Houston Texans). Obviously, their greatest needs are wide receiver and tight end, with running back thought to be a secure position with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. But general manager John Idzik is a big believer in competition and depth. It also could mean that the troubled Mike Goodson is on thin ice. The bad boy from last offseason has legal issues, a surgically repaired knee and an upcoming $650,000 roster bonus. Why would the Jets pay that for a player in Goodson's situation? Both Brown and Tate have above-average running skills and they can catch the ball, a much-needed skill in the Jets' backfield.

2. Money to burn: When free agency opens March 11, the Jets should have at least $22 million in salary-cap space (not counting the anticipated veteran purge), but that doesn't mean they'll be spending like Kim Kardashian in a designer clothing store. Idzik still believes in building through the draft. "The draft is your lifeline," he said. "Free agency is phone-a-friend." That said, the Jets are expected to use the phone a few times. The feeling in the organization is they will sign a No. 2 wide receiver, a tight end (if they lose Jeff Cumberland), a veteran backup quarterback, a running back and a kicker (if they lose Nick Folk). They're optimistic about their chances of re-signing tackle Austin Howard. Yes, they have a fairly lengthy shopping list, but I don't see them breaking the bank for anyone with an $8-million-a-year-type deal. They will use the draft to find a potential No. 1 receiver and a pass-catching tight end, along with plugging some holes on defense.

3. QB quest: The Jets met with at least two quarterbacks, LSU's Zach Mettenberger and Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo. The 6-5 Mettenberger, in the final stages of knee-surgery rehab, is an interesting prospect. Idzik, who scouted him in person during the season, is looking to add a developmental quarterback at some point in the draft. Mettenberger could be just that in the late rounds. I see the Jets going to training camp with Geno Smith, Matt Simms, a new veteran backup and a rookie.

4. Off the Mark: If the Jets decide they want to retain Mark Sanchez (unlikely), they will try to get him to swallow a massive pay cut. The amount of their proposal will tell Sanchez just how much they really want him. If they try to slash his base pay from $9 million to $1 million, it would be insulting, a strong indication he'd have no chance to unseat Smith. If they offer in the $3 million-to-$5 million range, with a chance to make more money with incentives, it would show they consider him a viable starting option.

4a. Butt fumble revisited: Former longtime GM and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian believes Sanchez has been unfairly stigmatized by the "butt fumble." "Unequivocally, the butt fumble wasn't his fault," Polian told me. "It's been played ad infinitum. The guard (Brandon Moore) got driven into him. Perception is often times reality, and that's what people think. If you ask the average person what they think of Mark Sanchez, they'd say the butt fumble. It wasn't his fault."

5. Legal tampering: The combine is the place where agents and teams meet to discuss free-agent deals. Technically, it's not allowed, but no one says anything. Curiously, a number of agents told me that teams are reluctant this year to discuss specific dollar amounts. It's likely that teams, concerned about having their offers shopped around, are waiting for the March 8-11 exclusive negotiating period to get serious.

6. Seen around Indy: Former Jets colleagues Mike Tannenbaum and Eric Mangini lunched together. Despite the awkward parting in 2009 (actually, Woody Johnson was the driving force behind Mangini's ouster), Tannenbaum and Mangini have remained close friends. Mangini, named last week as the tight-ends coach of the San Francisco 49ers, is working his way up the ladder on the offensive side of the ball. If he makes it to coordinator some day, he'll have the rare offensive/defensive coordinator on his résumé.

6a. Seen around Indy II: Rex Ryan and twin brother, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, took a break from the combine to eat at a local Hooters restaurant. Naturally, they ended up on Twitter, posing in a picture with a group of Hooters' waitresses.

7. Give that man a pair of ear plugs: Former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's experience in a circus-type environment (the Jets, 2009-2012) should serve him well in his new job as the Cleveland Browns' coach. He got the job after 23 people turned it down (only a slight exaggeration), saw the two men that hired him get whacked (Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi) and was hit Friday with the news that the Browns reportedly came close to hiring San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh before turning to him. Pettine called the Harbaugh story "noise -- and my goal is to quiet the noise." He recently held a staff meeting in which he used a Power Point presentation to underscore the challenge before them -- two playoff appearances, one playoff win and 141 coaches since 1991. Said Pettine: "To turn around a franchise, you have to be extraordinary." Here's wishing him luck; he'll need it.

8. Best and worst: I thought Michael Sam handled himself extremely well Saturday in his first news conference since sharing he is gay. Facing perhaps the largest news conference in combine history, Sam was confident, yet not cocky, projecting the image of a young man who just wants to play football. On the other side of the news-conference spectrum was Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, who fumbled his way through a Q & A that focused on the bullying scandal. He was all over the place, accepting responsibility in one breath but pleading ignorance in the next. How they fired longtime trainer Kevin O'Neill, portrayed in a negative light in the Wells report, was a low-class move. The Dolphins flew him to the combine and then fired him, two days before he was to receive an award in Indianapolis as the league's top trainer. He didn't attend the ceremony, but received a standing ovation when his prepared remarks were read to the crowd.

9. Respect for JC: It was interesting to hear offensive linemen talk about South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney, the possible No. 1 overall pick. Said Michigan tackle Michael Schofield: "I played a series against Clowney, and that was probably the hardest series of my life." Other linemen echoed similar sentiments. The Houston Texans, picking first, have a tough choice. They need a quarterback, but Clowney is the best talent in the draft.

10. Johnny Football speaks: Clearly, Johnny Manziel's mission at the combine was to shatter his image as a rock star-party boy quarterback. Asked to describe the difference between Johnny Football and Johnny Manziel, the former Texas A & M star shifted into third person. "Johnny Manziel is a guy ... I’m from a small town of Kerrville, Texas, 20,000 people. People make me out to be a big Hollywood guy, (I'm) really just still a small-town kid" -- who jets off to Vegas to party with the rich and famous.

New York Jets have money to burn

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Turns out the New York Jets will have even more salary-cap room than expected.

The NFL is expected to raise the salary cap to about $130 million, ESPN Insider Adam Schefter reported Thursday -- about $4 million higher than projected. The cap was $123 million last year.

Nothing is official yet, but it looks like the additional $4 million will give the Jets about $24 million in cap space. That would be enough to re-sign potential free agents (right tackle Austin Howard, kicker Nick Folk and tight end Jeff Cumberland are the top priorities) and be active in the free-agent market.

Obviously, they will gain more flexibility when they start dumping veterans. They would create an additional $26 million by releasing Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez and Antonio Cromartie.

The Jets are being applauded in some circles for having only $48,958 in "dead" money on this year's cap, one of the lowest totals in the league, but that figure is deceiving. If they cut the aforementioned three veterans, they'd get hit with $12.8 million in dead money, barring June 1 designations.

Injury report: Jets are looking healthy

November, 13, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Just a few days from an important divisional showdown with Buffalo, the New York Jets appear healthy, and could be welcoming back a few important players.

Receiver Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring) was limited on Wednesday but appears on track to return after missing the past five games with his hamstring issue.

Holmes
"I feel pretty good about him playing," Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

Tight end Jeff Cumberland (concussion) and safety Antonio Allen (concussion) both had full practices, while tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) was limited. Winslow is eligible to play in his first game since being suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Receiver Jeremy Kerley (elbow) did not practice, but he's expected to be out for several weeks.

For the Bills, receivers Steve Johnson (groin) and Robert Woods (ankle) did not practice.

Here's the full report:

JETS

Did not practice
DE Leger Douzable (illness)
WR Jeremy Kerley (elbow)
LB Garrett McIntyre (knee)

Limited practice
DT Kenrick Ellis (back)
RB Alex Green (hamstring)
WR Stephen Hill (foot/knee)
WR Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring)
TE Kellen Winslow (knee)

Full practice
S Antonio Allen (concussion)
G Willie Colon (calf)
WR Josh Cribbs (knee)
CB Antonio Cromartie (hip)
TE Jeff Cumberland (concussion)
RB Chris Ivory (knee)
LB Calvin Pace (hip)
WR Greg Salas (knee)
TE Zach Sudfeld (knee)
CB Darrin Walls (shoulder)

BILLS

Did not practice
WR Stevie Johnson (groin)
S Da'Norris Searcy (hamstring)
DT Kyle Williams (Achilles)
WR Robert Woods (ankle)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Tight end Kellen Winslow, who practiced Monday for the first time in more than a month, acknowledged he was unhappy with his playing time before his four-game suspension took effect. Winslow said he was "weeded out" of the game plan in the Week 5 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Winslow
"Stuff goes on behind the scenes that ... look, they knew I was going to get suspended," Winslow said of the New York Jets. "Sometimes you just kind of get weeded out or whatever. I knew I wasn't going to take the appeal if I got suspended. My knee was hurting, I'm weeded out of the game plan ... it was just a frustrating time."

Because the Jets knew of the pending suspension, they chose to give fellow tight end Jeff Cumberland a bigger role in that particular game plan, according to Winslow.

Winslow's chronic knee pain flared up in the days leading up to the Monday night game in Atlanta, causing him to miss four practices that week. He caught a 1-yard touchdown pass in the game, but he played only 19 snaps -- the first time he played fewer snaps than Cumberland. Afterward, Winslow declined an interview, saying it wouldn't be a smart move to speak to reporters.

Four days later, the suspension became public.

Winslow said he feels well-rested and fresh after spending five weeks at his home in California. He returned to the Jets briefly last week, but the team received a six-day break for the bye week, so he returned to the West Coast.

"I went home to San Diego and cycled a little bit and ate Mexican food," said Winslow, a cycling enthusiast.

For what it's worth, Winslow said he still hasn't been notified by the NFL Players' Association as to which performance-enhancing substance caused his positive test. He claimed it may have been an allergy medication. He said his goal is to help the team any way possible.

"He was missed," quarterback Geno Smith said.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Jets will be hurting at tight end Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Cumberland
Starter Jeff Cumberland, listed as questionable with a concussion, was declared inactive before the game. Kellen Winslow is serving the final game of his four-game suspension for PEDs, leaving Konrad Reuland and Zach Sudfeld as the only active tight ends active. Reuland, listed as the starter, and Sudfeld have combined for only 64 offensive snaps and three receptions. Neither one is a good blocker, so Cumberland's absence will hurt the running game. They could use G Vladimir Ducasse as a blocking tight end.

The good news for the Jets is that RG Willie Colon (calf), also listed as questionable, is active and will start.

Aside from Cumberland, the Jets' inactive players are QB David Garrard, WR Santonio Holmes, RB Alex Green, G Will Campbell, T Ben Ijalana and OT Oday Aboushi. WR Greg Salas and rookie S Rontez Miles, signed from the practice squad Friday, are active for the first time.

The news for the Saints is that WR Marques Colston (knee) is inactive. So, too, are safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper. That will put a dent in Rob Ryan's game plan because he likes to use three-safety packages. Rafael Bush is expected to start for Jenkins.

Rookie Kenny Stills is listed as the replacement for Colston, but the Saints will use all four receivers that are active.

Their other inactives are QB Ryan Griffin, RB Khiry Robinson, T Terron Armstead and DE Tyrunn Walker.

Jets injury report: Four players sit

October, 31, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes (hamstring) and tight end Jeff Cumberland (concussion) did not practice Thursday, and the Jets don't expect to have either player available Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Cumberland
Holmes
Guard Willie Colon (calf) also did not practice, for the second consecutive day. But Colon is planning to play against the Saints. "It's looking promising," Colon told reporters Thursday afternoon.

Running back Alex Green (hamstring) was the fourth player who did not practice Thursday. Green is an addition to the injury report, after not appearing on it Wednesday.

The same goes for wide receiver David Nelson (quadriceps). He did not appear on the report Wednesday, but was limited on Thursday.

Wide receiver Stephen Hill (foot) was also limited Thursday, but that's an improvement -- he did not practice Wednesday. And wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (illness) was a full participant Thursday, after sitting out Wednesday.

Center Nick Mangold (ribs) was limited for the second day in a row.

Here's the full injury report:

JETS

Did Not Participate

G Willie Colon (calf)
TE Jeff Cumberland (concussion)
RB Alex Green (hamstring)
WR Santonio Holmes (hamstring)

Limited Participation

WR Stephen Hill (foot)
C Nick Mangold (ribs)
WR David Nelson (quadricep)

Full Participation

S Antonio Allen (finger)
WR Joshua Cribbs (knee)
CB Antonio Cromartie (hip)
DT Kenrick Ellis (back)
WR Jeremy Kerley (illness)
LB Garrett McIntyre (knee)
TE Konrad Reuland (knee)
WR Greg Salas (knee)
CB Darrin Walls (shoulder)
G Brian Winters (ankle)

SAINTS

Did Not Participate

G Jahri Evans (hip)
S Malcolm Jenkins (knee)

Limited Participation

WR Marques Colston (knee)
TE Jimmy Graham (foot)
S Roman Harper (knee)
DE Tom Johnson (hip)
DE Cameron Jordan (ankle)
S Kenny Vaccaro (concussion, back)
DT Tyrunn Walker (knee)

Full Participation

LB David Hawthorne (ankle)
DE Akiem Hicks (knee)
CB Keenan Lewis (foot, knee)
WR Kenny Stills (knee)
CB Rod Sweeting (hip)

Practice Report: Signs of progress

October, 31, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Five New York Jets players did not practice Wednesday, but four of them were doing at least some work Thursday, during the portion of practice open to the media.

Wide receivers Stephen Hill (foot) and Jeremy Kerley (illness), and guard Willie Colon (calf) were in uniform and back on the field. Wideout Santonio Holmes (hamstring) was on the field, too, participating in wide-receiver drills for the second consecutive day.

Tight end Jeff Cumberland (concussion) was not practicing, making it even more likely he will not play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Hill, unlike Holmes, did not participate in wide-receiver drills. He was riding an exercise bike on the side. The same goes for wideout David Nelson, who did not appear on Wednesday's official injury report, but had a hamstring issue last week.

We'll have more information for you later this afternoon, after interviews and the release of the official injury report.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Geno Smith didn't have many people to throw the ball to Wednesday.

The New York Jets' top three wide receivers -- Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley -- all did not practice, and the same goes for starting tight end Jeff Cumberland.

Cumberland suffered a concussion last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, so his status for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints is very much in question. Holmes did run some routes in position-group drills, but is more likely to return in two weeks, following the Jets' bye. Hill said he expects to play against the Saints. And Kerley wasn't spotted at the practice facility Wednesday.

Right guard Willie Colon also missed practice because of a calf injury.

Here's the full injury report:

JETS

Did Not Participate

G Willie Colon (calf)
TE Jeff Cumberland (concussion)
WR Stephen Hill (foot)
WR Santonio Holmes (hamstring)
WR Jeremy Kerley (illness)

Limited Participation

C Nick Mangold (ribs)

Full Participation

S Antonio Allen (finger)
WR Josh Cribbs (knee)
CB Antonio Cromartie (hip)
DT Kenrick Ellis (back)
LB Garrett McIntyre (knee)
TE Konrad Reuland (knee)
WR Greg Salas (knee)
CB Darrin Walls (shoulder)
G Brian Winters (ankle)

SAINTS

Did Not Participate

WR Marques Colston (knee)
G Jahri Evans (hip)
S Malcolm Jenkins (knee)
S Kenny Vaccaro (concussion, back)
DT Tyrunn Walker (knee)

Limited Participation

TE Jimmy Graham (foot)
S Roman Harper (knee)
LB David Hawthorne (ankle)
WR Kenny Stills (knee)
CB Rod Sweeting (hip)

Full Participation

DE Akiem Hicks (knee)
DE Cameron Jordan (ankle)
CB Keenan Lewis (foot, knee)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets appear to be pretty banged up, as they begin preparing for the New Orleans Saints.

Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was not working with his teammates Wednesday, during the portion of practice open to the media. Wilkerson was doing some running on the side. But it's unclear why he wasn't practicing fully.

Wide receivers Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill were not doing any work. Kerley wasn't even on the field. Hill stretched with the team, but did not have pads on.

Tight end Jeff Cumberland also wasn't on the field, after suffering a head injury last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. And right guard Willie Colon wasn't working either, after injuring his ribs against the Bengals.

On the bright side, Santonio Holmes was participating in wide receiver drills, and even appeared to be going full speed at least a couple times. Holmes looked smooth doing so, raising the possibility that he could make his return against the Saints, prior to the bye week.

We'll know more later this afternoon, after coach Rex Ryan's news conference and the release of the official injury report.


A few thoughts on TE Kellen Winslow's being suspended four games without pay for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances:

1. Impact on the offense: Winslow's absence will hurt the passing game. Not only is he the team's leading receiver (17 catches), but the overall offense functions better when he's on the field. Facts are facts: With Winslow in the game as the only tight end, the Jets have passed 79 times for 516 yards -- 6.53 yards per play. With Jeff Cumberland as the only tight end, the Jets have passed 35 times for 198 yards -- a 5.66 average. Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg hasn't used a lot of two-TE sets with Winslow and Cumberland. When he has, it hasn't been too productive -- 33 pass plays for 141 yards, a 4.27 average.

2. Depth chart: This will mean a bigger role for Cumberland, who has appeared in 51 percent of the offensive snaps. (In case you're wondering, Winslow is 60 percent.) Cumberland is a capable player and, as he demonstrated Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons, he can be a threat in the deep seams. There won't be much of a dropoff there, but the problem is, it'll mean more playing time for Konrad Reuland and newly acquired Zach Sudfeld. Clearly, Reuland (only 12 snaps) hasn't found a niche in Mornhinweg's offense. He's a tight end/fullback tweener, not offering much in the passing game. Sudfeld, who stands 6 feet 7, played well for the New England Patriots in the preseason and was a surprise cut last week. Once he learns the offense, he could leapfrog Reuland on the depth chart.

3. There goes the feel-good story: Winslow, in a statement released through his publicist, said he was surprised by the suspension and claimed he hasn't taken any supplements that list banned ingredients. Nevertheless, this tarnishes a potentially wonderful story. Rejected by the rest of the league, Winslow signed with the Jets after a minicamp audition, made the team and became an important player. Because of chronic knee pain (multiple surgeries), every day is a struggle. It flared up recently, causing him to miss more practice time than usual. That probably contributed to his reduced role in Atlanta (and perhaps his postgame frustration), although he made his only catch count -- a toe-tapping reception in the back of the end zone. "I want to do a lot more in this game," he told me last week. "I don't know how much longer I have, but I want to give it my all until I'm done. "

Now he's done for four weeks.

Jets' tight ends step up vs. Falcons

October, 8, 2013
10/08/13
2:33
AM ET
ATLANTA -- New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland was not surprised that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterback Geno Smith had him in mind Monday night, when two of Smith's three touchdowns passes went to tight ends.

[+] EnlargeJeff Cumberland
Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsJeff Cumberland was the Jets' leading receiver against the Falcons.
Cumberland's 20-yard scoring strike in the second quarter and fellow tight end Kellen Winslow's 1-yard touchdown reception in the fourth both came against favorable matchups in the Jets' 30-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

The one to Cumberland pitted him against Falcons rookie linebacker Joplo Bartu, who was undrafted out of Texas State.

On the Jets' next possession, Cumberland ran the same route straight downfield and caught a 47-yarder, with Bartu again trailing in coverage. That set up Smith's second touchdown pass, a 16-yard connection to wide receiver Jeremy Kerley.

The fourth-year tight end caught three passes for 79 yards and a score.

“Me and Marty had a one-on-one talk last week, and he said some things he wanted to do with me and get me more involved in the offense,” Cumberland said. “I gave a little outside move [on the touchdown], but it was pretty much a vertical route and I just used my speed and maneuvered around, and Geno found me.

“We saw through our film that some teams were able to go vertical on them, and those two plays that's what we did.”

While Cumberland wasn't surprised to have his number called, Winslow may have been irritated his wasn't called more often.

He entered the game as the Jets' leading receiver with 16 catches, but was targeted just once on Monday, on the 1-yarder that Smith lofted over Falcons safety William Moore in the back-right corner of the end zone.

Winslow caught the ball, keeping his feet inbounds, and with 12 minutes left in the game the Jets led 27-14.

Smith said Winslow was expressing some frustration on the sideline during the game, and when approached by reporters afterward and asked to respond, Winslow said, “I don't think that would be a good choice.”

Winslow had been listed as questionable for the game, and only practiced once last week because of chronic knee pain.

Smith sure liked Mornhinweg's choice of play there. “Great call by Marty,” said the quarterback, who completed 16 of 20 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns without any turnovers. “Got the play we wanted, had to put some touch on the ball to get it over the safety, William Moore. He's a great player, and it was a great catch by Kellen.”

Cumberland was impressed by the rookie quarterback.

“He's been in some big-time games in college [for West Virginia], and to come in here and be that composed [was great],” Cumberland said. “We knew it was going to be 60 minutes of football, and that's what it was.”

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