NFL Nation: Kyle Wilson

This is the ninth and final installment in a position-by-position analysis of the New York Jets as they prepare for the draft:

Position: Secondary

Current personnel: CB Dee Milliner (signed through 2016), CB Dimitri Patterson (2014), CB Kyle Wilson (2014), S Dawan Landry (2014), S Antonio Allen (2015), CB Darrin Walls (2014), S Jaiquawn Jarrett (2014), CB Ellis Lankster (2014), CB Ras-I Dowling (2015), CB Johnny Patrick (2014), S Josh Bush (2015), S Rontez Miles (2016), CB Nick Taylor (2015), CB Lowell Rose (2016), CB Jeremy Reeves (2016), S Brandon Hardin (2014).

Projected starters: Milliner, Patterson, Landry, Allen.

Newcomers: Patterson (free agent/Miami Dolphins), Patrick (waivers/San Diego Chargers), Reeves (college free agent).

Departures: Antonio Cromartie (cut/Arizona Cardinals), Ed Reed (free agent), Isaiah Trufant (free agent/Cleveland Browns).

Top salary-cap charge: Milliner, $2.88 million.

Scouting report: The secondary needs help. The Jets allowed 15 pass plays of 40-plus yards, the fourth-highest total in the league. They surrendered 3,947 passing yards, the most by the franchise since 1986. A broken-down Reed made three interceptions in seven games -- and that was good enough to tie for the team lead. Need we go on? In free agency, they made only one significant move, essentially replacing Cromartie with Patterson. When healthy, Patterson is a playmaker, especially in the slot, but he hasn't been healthy in recent years. Cromartie played poorly last season, so maybe they figure anything they get out of Patterson is an upgrade. That's a risky way to do business. Rex Ryan needs at least three good corners to play his style of defense, and there are no sure things on the roster. Milliner capped an otherwise bad rookie season with a strong finish, but does that make him a legit No. 1 corner? If Milliner doesn't make a big leap, it's trouble.

Last DB drafted: They picked Milliner, ninth overall, last year.

Potential targets: There's a decent chance they could pick a corner in the first round (18). No fewer than seven corners made pre-draft visits to the Jets' facility, including the top four -- Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State), Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State), Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) and Bradley Roby (Ohio State). Dennard is the best scheme fit because he played a lot of man-to-man in college. Gilbert is a freakishly talented athlete with terrific ball skills, but he's not physical -- a younger version of Cromartie. Fuller can play in any scheme. Roby has "boom or bust" written all over him. Dennard, Gilbert and Fuller would be good value at 18. Keith McGill (Utah) is a possibility if they want to wait until the second or third round. Dex Mcdougle (Maryland) is a third-day option. The could use a cover safety, but Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama) won't last until 18. Ryan's defense doesn't value safeties as much as other teams, so it wouldn't be a surprise if they wait until Day 3 to draft one, if then. Dez Southward (Wisconsin) is a late possibility.

Need rating (scale of 1 to 10): CB -- 10; S -- 7.

Wilson cagey about swapping No. 20

November, 14, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Ed Reed has played a Hall of Fame career with a No. 20 jersey. Now that he’s a Jet, he showed up wearing No. 22. The No. 20 Jets jersey has been worn by cornerback Kyle Wilson since he was drafted in 2010 in the first round with the 29th overall pick.

Wilson
Wilson
Reed
Numbers mean a lot, they can be lucky, or signify a something larger for a player. Changing numbers may be considered bad luck, or merely annoying when every photo of your professional career is accompanied by a 20.

There’s a protocol at times like this. Usually it means that the veteran offers money and/or consideration to the younger player in exchange for the number.

But on Thursday, when Wilson was asked whether he had been approached by Reed for his number, the corner turned serious.

“Nah, I’m not trying to talk about that with you guys.” Wilson said.

Is a swap off the table?

“Not going to discuss that with you guys,” Wilson said.

Will we see on Sunday?

“I’m here for Buffalo,” Wilson said.

So there you have it. Maybe the 20 means something to Wilson, maybe Reed doesn’t want it, or maybe Wilson’s comments are just a starting point in the negotiations.
Cornerbacks Kyle Wilson and Dee Milliner are available to play against the Patriots. Both are listed as probable for Sunday's 1 p.m. game at MetLife Stadium.


Wilson had a concussion and Milliner has missed three games with a hamstring injury.

Just in time, because with TE Rob Gronkowski eligible to play, the Jets will need every piece they can use on defense.

Wilson, who was in a red no-contact jersey Thursday, practiced with out it Friday. He said he thought he has been cleared to play, and coach Rex Ryan later confirmed he would likely play.

Here is the full injury report:

Jets

Out: WR Santonio Holmes (foot, hamstring), WR Greg Salas (knee).

Probable: LB Quinton Coples (ankle), CB Antonio Cromartie (hip, knee), DT Kenrick Ellis (back), RB Chris Ivory (hamstring), S Jaiquawn Jarrett (knee), WR Jeremy Kerley (back), CB Dee Milliner (hamstring), WR David Nelson (hamstring), RB Bilal Powell (neck), CB Darrin Walls (shoulder), CB Kyle Wilson (concussion).

Patriots

Out: WR Danny Amendola (concussion, groin), DT Tommy Kelly (knee), RB Leon Washington (ankle).

Doubtful: CB Aqib Talib (hip).

Questionable: RB Brandon Bolden (knee), T Marcus Cannon (shoulder), G Dan Connolly (concussion), WR Julian Edelman (thigh), TE Rob Gronkowski (back, forearm), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (knee), WR Matt Slater (wrist), S Tavon Wilson (hamstring).

Probable: CB Kyle Arrington (groin), S Devin McCourty (shoulder), DE Rob Ninkovich (groin), T Nate Solder (back).

Practice report: 'Tone' out, Wilson in

October, 18, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Santonio Holmes didn't appear any closer to getting on the field for the Jets this week, spending the last full practice of Week 7 on the sideline in a T-shirt riding the exercise bike.

Holmes
The Jets wide receiver said he was getting seven hours of treatment a day on his foot and hamstring when he spoke to the media Thursday. He complained that his 10-minute weekly media obligation was detracting from his rehab when asked how he was feeling.

"How am I feeling right now? Like, you guys are interrupting my treatment time right now,” Holmes said.

The good news for the Jets: Kyle Wilson (concussion) practiced without the red jersey. Having the cornerback return the week after his concussion would help; with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski back in the lineup, the Jets can use every defensive veteran they can get.

Dee Milliner (hamstring) also practiced, at least for the portion that was open to the media. We will get a more detailed practice report later.

WR Greg Salas (knee) was the only other Jet on the bike.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets likely will be facing the New England Patriots with a beat-up receiving corps.

Santonio Holmes (hamstring) didn't practice Wednesday, David Nelson (undisclosed) was limited in positional drills and newcomer Greg Salas, signed Tuesday off the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad, spent the early part of practice riding a stationary bike. Unless Salas was injured on the drive up the New Jersey Turnpike, it appears the Jets signed damaged goods.

The Jets' other newcomer, WR/KR Josh Cribbs, made his debut on the practice field, wearing No. 16. As expected, he was involved in punt and kickoff returning, and he also ran drills with the receivers.

Holmes showed up midway through the media period at practice -- he walked in with general manager John Idzik -- but he wasn't in pads and did only light jogging. There's little chance he will play Sunday. On Tuesday, they lost Clyde Gates (shoulder) for the season, placing him on injured reserve.

Cornerback Kyle Wilson (head injury) also is a question mark. He, too, was on the bikes.

On the positive side, rookie cornerback Dee Milliner (hamstring) participated in positional drills, working his way back to action. There's growing optimism about his chances of playing Sunday. He has missed three straight games.

Locker Room Buzz: New York Jets

October, 13, 2013
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Observed in the locker room after the New York Jets' 19-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium:

Pace
No consistency: Rex Ryan and several players lamented the team's lack of consistency on a week-to-week basis. In fact, the Jets (3-3) have managed only one two-game winning streak over the last 25 games -- and that occurred last season. "It sucks, man," linebacker Calvin Pace said. "We talk about how we want to be a playoff team, but to be a playoff team, you have to win more than one game [in a row]. If you win one, lose one, you're 8-8. We have to be better than that." Sitting a few feet away, the usually affable Sheldon Richardson refused to speak to the media. "It's called being mad as hell, and I don't want to talk to y'all," the rookie defensive tackle said.

Walking wounded: The Jets suffered four injuries -- CB Kyle Wilson (possible concussion), RB Mike Goodson (knee), WR Clyde Gates (shoulder) and RB Bilal Powell (shoulder), who insisted he was fine. That wasn't the case with Gates, who was seen in the locker room with his left arm in a sling. The Jets already are down a receiver, with Santonio Holmes (hamstring) likely to miss next Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. Losing Gates would hurt. Obviously, the backfield would take a hit without Powell and Goodson, whose injury could be serious.

Contradicting alibis: Geno Smith said his first interception, near the Steelers' goal line, was an intentional throwaway. Ryan gave a different version, saying he "would've liked to have seen him throw the ball away there and not force it." Looking at the replay, it sure looked like a forced throw into triple coverage. Graybeard S Ryan Clark read it perfectly and made the interception at the 1-yard line in the third quarter, ending Smith's streak of eight straight quarters without an interception.

Upon Further Review: Jets Week 4

September, 30, 2013
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Four hot issues that emerged from the New York Jets' 38-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans:

[+] EnlargeSmith
AP Photo/Mark ZaleskiDespite their 2-2 record, the Jets and quarterback Geno Smith are performing unevenly.
Who are these guys? The Jets finished the first quarter of the season at 2-2, demonstrating many of the qualities we expected from this group -- a defense-minded team with a mistake-prone rookie at quarterback. For the most part, they’ve been terrific on defense, especially at the line of scrimmage. Other times, such as Sunday in Nashville, they’ve suffered from shaky coverage on the back end. Offensively, they’ve been what we expected for 12 out of 16 quarters -- a struggling unit. They were prolific against the Buffalo Bills, but was that a mirage? Sure looks like it. The lack of discipline (44 penalties) is uncharacteristic and alarming.

Help the kid: Smith will remain the starter for the time being, so it’s up to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to figure out a way to help him. On Sunday, he should’ve leaned more on the running game instead airing it out. Bilal Powell averaged 5.7 yards per carry in the first half, gashing the Titans on some first-down runs, but he carried it only three times in the third quarter, when it still was a game. Look, I’m not going to rip Mornhinweg for being aggressive -- a week ago, he was hailed for his attacking mentality -- but he should dial it back a little when Smith slips into one of his funks. He already has eight interceptions, a season’s worth for some quarterbacks. It makes sense to feature the run against the Atlanta Falcons, considering wide receivers Santonio Holmes (hamstring) and Stephen Hill (concussion) are banged up and running back Mike Goodson is returning from a four-game suspension.

Cornerback issues: For three-plus years, Rex Ryan enjoyed the benefit of having two excellent cornerbacks, Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. He never had to worry about bad matchups on the outside. Now that Revis is gone, Ryan is experiencing what most coaches go through. Darrin Walls became the third player to start at right corner, following Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson. The once-formidable secondary doesn’t scare anyone anymore. The run-oriented Titans compiled a 129.8 passer rating, beating Cromartie twice for touchdowns and Walls once. I’m not second-guessing the Revis trade, but you can certainly criticize the Jets’ post-Revis plan, as Milliner was struggling before he got hurt.

Self-inflicted wounds: The numbers are damning -- 12 giveaways and 44 penalties. Let’s simplify: That’s 56 bad things in four games. If you throw in the 14 sacks allowed, it’s 70 bad things. It’s hard to win football games at that rate. That they have only two takeaways, meaning a minus-10 turnover margin, compounds the issue. It has to get better or else the Jets will be out of the race by Halloween, especially with a tough October schedule. Ryan’s team is leaking oil in a lot of places, and it’s too late for a full-service oil change.

Bad defensive day turns into slapstick

September, 29, 2013
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NASHVILLE -- Can we please postpone the coronation of the New York Jets' defense?

Full of confidence after last week's eight-sack beat down of the Buffalo Bills, the Jets were sliced and diced by Jake Locker and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who combined for four touchdown passes in the Tennessee Titans' 38-13 victory at LP Field.

The final indignity occurred with 7:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, when cornerback Antonio Cromartie, Nate Washington and back judge Billy Smith collided on a 77-yard touchdown pass -- another Jets blooper.

Cromartie said he asked the official, "What the hell are you doing back here?" He said Smith apologized.

[+] EnlargeTennessee's Nate Washington
P Photo/Wade PayneJets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, back judge Billy Smith and Titans receiver Nate Washington collide. The result was a 77-yard score for Washington.
That pretty much captured the disastrous day for the Jets.

Truth is, Cromartie was beaten cleanly by Washington, who had to slow down because Fitzpatrick's throw hung in the air like a punt. Once Washington made the catch, the collision occurred with Cromartie and Smith.

"No, he didn't interfere with the play," Cromartie said. "That's on me fully. Me being the number one corner on this team, I need to make sure that I go up and intercept that ball or bat it down."

It was a tough day for the Jets' corners. Earlier, Cromartie slipped on the wet grass and allowed a 4-yard scoring pass to Washington. Darrin Walls, who started in the Dee Milliner-Kyle Wilson slot, allowed a 16-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Justin Hunter. It was a terrific catch by Hunter, but Walls could've played it better. The Titans use Hunter almost exclusively in the red zone, so it shouldn't have been a surprise that he got the ball -- especially in the final seconds of the first half.

"That's a killer," Rex Ryan said. "There's only one play they can run and that's the shot in the end zone. You know it's coming and everybody in the ballpark knows it's coming. The only time they put that kid in the game is to throw the jump ball, and there's a reason he came down with it."

The cornerback spot opposite Cromartie has turned into musical chairs. Walls started for Kyle Wilson, who last week started for Milliner, the struggling rookie who pulled a hamstring in practice. Ryan is running out of competent corners and, frankly, Cromartie was off his game as well.

Give credit to the Titans; they had a masterful game plan. Recognizing the Jets were focusing on running back Chris Johnson, the Titans put the ball in Locker's hands, letting him throw from the pocket. That's what the Jets wanted, but they got more than they expected from Locker, who completed 18 of 24 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns. The Jets underestimated Locker, not known for his passing exploits.

"Maybe that's why it surprised us," rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said.

The Jets were held to two sacks and produced no takeaways for the third straight game. That's simply not acceptable. By the way, the Titans have yet to commit a turnover. In fairness to the defense, it had to play on a short field throughout the game because of Geno Smith's turnovers. The Titans' first three touchdown drives were 18, 26 and 46 yards.

No matter. Linebacker David Harris was visibly irked by the performance.

"Just say we lost," he said. "We got our butts kicked by a better team today. Simple as that."

Asked if the Titans might simply be a better team, Harris snapped, "We lost. Did you see the score?"
NASHVILLE -- As expected, rookie cornerback Dee Milliner and running back Chris Ivory -- both with injured hamstrings -- were among the New York Jets' inactive players Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.

The Jets announced before the game that Darrin Walls will start at cornerback, opposite Antonio Cromartie. This doesn't come as a huge surprise, but it doesn't reflect well on Kyle Wilson, who started last week for the demoted Milliner. Wilson might have lost the job because of his ill-timed implosion in the fourth quarter, when he lost his poise and committed a penalty on four straight plays.

Wilson is expected to play in the nickel package.

Without Ivory, the Jets went into the game with only three running backs -- Bilal Powell, Alex Green and rookie fullback Tommy Bohanon, who is capable of playing tailback in a pinch. The team didn't immediately announce who will replace Milliner, who was used as a nickel back last week after being demoted in the previous game.

The Jets' other inactives are quarterback Brady Quinn, guard Will Campbell, tackle Oday Aboushi, tackle Ben Ijalana and linebacker Ricky Sapp.

For the Titans, receiver Kenny Britt, the former Rutgers standout, is inactive. He's suffering from a rib injury. He also has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff and, according to ESPN Insider Adam Schefter, is on the trading block.

The Titans' other inactives are former Jets running back Shonn Greene, linebacker Patrick Bailey, center Brian Schwenke, tackle Byron Stingily, defensive tackle Sammie Hill and defensive end Lavar Edwards.

Thurman to Wilson: Revenge will come

September, 26, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman offered a piece of advice to cornerback Kyle Wilson, who was slapped with four consecutive penalties last Sunday because he let a wide receiver get into his head:

Don't get mad, get even.

Wilson
Wilson
"The football gods will allow you to get even with a guy, especially if he's wronged," Thurman said Thursday. "It may not happen in that game, it may not happen the next time you play him. But as some point along the line, you'll get a chance -- with a fair, clean hit -- you'll get an opportunity to get him back. You have to wait and be patient.

"Trust me, when guys have been wronged on the football field by someone ... ask anyone if they got a chance to get revenge. They'll tell you yes. It happens that way. That's the way it's supposed to happen."

This stems from a wild sequence in the fourth quarter of the Jets' win against the Buffalo Bills, when Wilson was flagged on four straight plays. He got into it with Stevie Johnson and came unraveled with an embarrassing display of behavior. Wilson apparently felt he was wronged by Johnson, complaining to an official about Johnson's tactics. That didn't help.

Wilson was penalized for holding (Johnson), illegal contact (Johnson), unsportsmanlike conduct (he shoved Bills center Eric Wood) and a personal foul for unnecessary roughness (Johnson). Johnson was called for taunting after the first penalty. Wilson was pulled from the game, but returned on the next series.

"It happens, it's not that big a deal," Thurman said. "It's a teaching moment."

But Thurman didn't disagree with the premise that Wilson, in his fourth season, should know better. His loss of poise allowed the Bills to score a game-tying touchdown. Wilson was penalized more times in 28 seconds than most players get flagged in a season.

Wilson has avoided this media this week during interview periods. His meltdown could have an impact on his playing time. Wilson started last week for demoted rookie Dee Milliner, but he probably won't start Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. That assignment probably will go to Darrin Walls, with Wilson playing the nickel, according to Rex Ryan.

Ryan probably will be forced to shuffle his lineup because Milliner injured a hamstring Wednesday in practice and isn't expected to play.

We'll find out Nov. 17 if the football gods are sympathetic to Wilson. That's when they play the Bills again.

Upon Further Review: Jets Week 3

September, 23, 2013
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An examination of four hot issues from the New York Jets' 27-20 victory over the Buffalo Bills:

1. Broadway Geno: A week ago in this space, we wondered how Geno Smith would respond to his awful fourth quarter in New England. The answer: The way the Jets had hoped. He became the first rookie in Jets history to pass for 300 yards and two touchdowns in a game. Not even Joe Namath did that in 1965, when the AFL was a wide-open passing league. In some ways, Smith's performance was Namath-esque, because he threw a couple of interceptions (that makes a total of six). But he also demonstrated the ability to attack downfield, as the Jets unleashed a seldom-seen vertical passing game. Smith averaged 11.4 yards per attempt. You can win a lot of football games with that number. He made one big play in crunch time, the 69-yard touchdown strike to Santonio Holmes, and that was enough.

[+] EnlargeMuhammad Wilkerson
Rich Schultz/Getty ImagesMuhammad Wilkerson sacked EJ Manuel twice in Sunday's win over the Bills.
2. Paging Rex, spill on Aisle 3: Rex Ryan has a lot of stuff to clean up. The Jets have committed 34 penalties, including a franchise-record 20 Sunday, and they're minus-six in turnover margin -- but they're off to a 2-1 start. Go figure. Tom Coughlin would love to have these problems at 2-1. Of course, the Jets won't keep winning if these issues persist. Ryan needs to figure out a way to tidy up the mess; expect a heavy emphasis in practice this week on penalty prevention. It was a team breakdown, as the offense was responsible for 11 penalties, the defense nine. The worst offenders were CB Kyle Wilson (four for 49 yards) and G Vladimir Ducasse (four for 35). If it weren't for one declined penalty and one offsetting, the Jets would've tied the league record at 22. Ryan contributed to the meltdown with an ill-advised replay challenge on a potential first-down spot. Note to Ryan: There's only a 40 percent success rate on those type of challenges this season. Ryan had no challenges remaining in the fourth quarter, and he could've used one on a possible fumble by EJ Manuel.

3. Get the quarterback: Essentially, that was Ryan's message to the team in the Saturday night meeting. The defense heeded his message, recording eight sacks. The last time the Jets made eight sacks in a game was 1988, when the quarterback was Matt Simms' dad, Phil. Fortunately, Matt wasn't around to see that beatdown; it was three months before he was born. The Jets haven't been a big sack team under Ryan, who usually has to manufacture pressure with clever schemes, but the trend is turning. With Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Sheldon Richardson rushing the passer -- first-round picks from 2011 to 2013 -- Ryan has the horses up front to frighten quarterbacks. Manuel, who came into the game with a growing reputation for being calm under pressure, was hit 16 times and rattled by the pressure. Wilkerson recorded the first multisack game of his career.

4. From third-string to lifesaver: Before training camp, Bilal Powell was projected as the No. 3 running back, behind Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson. It changed quickly when Ivory hurt his hamstring and Goodson didn't show because of off-the-field issues. Powell ran with the opportunity, won the starting job and saved the Jets Sunday with a career day -- 149 rushing yards, including 109 in the second half. His day began on the bench, as Ivory got the start. He lasted only four plays before he injured his "good" hamstring, setting it up for Powell. He's the most underrated player on the team, a steady, if not flashy runner who grinds out the yards. With Ivory likely to miss time, Powell will be a very important player over the next few weeks.

Notes: Jets could have 'salty' defense

September, 13, 2013
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The New York Jets held Tom Brady to one of the worst statistical games of his career. Surprised? You shouldn't be, according to Rex Ryan.

"Is anybody surprised we play great defense?" Ryan asked Friday. "I mean, that doesn’t surprise anybody. It doesn’t surprise Jets' fans, it doesn't surprise our football team. We’ve got a lot of good fooball players, we’ve got an excellent coaching staff."

The Jets are off to a fast start, having allowed only 30 points over the first two games. Ryan predicted a top-five defense in training camp, and he's not backing down.

"By the end of the year, this team, it could be pretty salty on defense," he said. "I don’t think there’s any doubt about that."

Injury update: Ryan didn't provide an update on DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle), saying he's "not real sure" of the severity, if you can believe that. OLB Quinton Coples, who fractured his ankle in the preseason, is getting close to returning. There's some hope he could play next Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. "We've got to get Coples back," Ryan said. "That's really going to help us." Ryan, sounding more and more like Bill Belichick with regard to injuries, declined to speculate on the availability of WR/PR Jeremy Kerley (concussion).

They need Kerley's punt-returning ability. The Patriots punted a staggering 11 times (registering more punts than first downs for the first time in the Bill Belichick era), but PR Kyle Wilson managed only seven return yards.

Odds and ends: Chris Ivory ran 11 times for 49 yards in the first three quarters, but he got only one carry in the fourth. Ryan said he had no issue with Marty Mornhinweg's play calling in the fourth quarter, claiming they want to remain balanced on offense. They ended up with 32 rushes and 39 pass plays. Said Ryan: "We were pretty balanced. I think that’s the kind of team we want to be. Should we have run it more? It’s easy to say, 'Oh, yeah, absolutely.' But I thought we had good balance." He acknowledged Ivory as running "extremely well."

A fine mess:S Dawan Landry was fined $21,000 for hitting Bucs WR Mike Williams in the head/neck area on his 17-yard TD reception last Sunday. Bucs S Dashon Goldson was fined $30,000 for his hit on TE Jeff Cumberland. S Mark Barron wasn't fined for his shot on Kerley, even though he was flagged for unnecessary roughness. And, of course, LB Lavonte David was hit with a $7,875 fine for shoving Jets quarterback Geno Smith out of bounds.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner, the ninth pick in April's draft, was benched at halftime of the New York Jets' 13-10 loss to the New England Patriots on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. And this was on a night on which Tom Brady was human; imagine if he was actually hit.

Milliner
Jets coach Rex Ryan was upset with Milliner because he made a couple mental mistakes and was beaten on an apparent 25-yard touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins -- a play that was reversed because the ball touched the ground.

"The young man is going to be a tremendous player, there's no doubt, but I said to him, 'I want you to watch on the sideline,'" Ryan said. "Sometimes when you do that, it's the best thing for you. ... I'm trying to win a game and put in who I think has the best chance to win it. The young man, he's going to be a great player. But at that time, I went with the veteran."

Kyle Wilson and Darrin Walls split the duties at Milliner's spot.

This has been a shaky start for Milliner, the former Alabama standout. In the opener, he allowed a touchdown to Tampa Bay's Mike Williams. Milliner missed two preseason games because of a strained Achilles tendon.

Milliner took the benching in stride.

"I was fine with it," he said. "It was a coaching decision. I'll always back him up on any decisions he makes. He just felt like he needed to pull me out and watch."

Milliner said he made "simple mistakes" -- with costly ramifications.

Observation deck: Jets-Eagles

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
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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.

Observation deck: Giants-Jets

August, 25, 2013
8/25/13
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It sure looked as though it would be David Wilson's night when the explosive second-year back ran 84 yards for a touchdown on the New York Giants' first play from scrimmage. And there's no denying Wilson's rare ability as a runner. He can make things happen that most other running backs can't when he has his hands on the ball.

However.

Wilson got only four more carries in the rest of the Giants' 24-21 preseason overtime loss to the New York Jets, while Andre Brown got seven. And I'm interested to see the snap-count numbers, because I believe Brown was on the field considerably more in the first half than Wilson was (neither played in the second). Of the eight third-down plays the Giants ran in the first half, Brown was the lone halfback on six of them, Wilson on one and both were in on one. Brown was also on the field (and Wilson on the sideline) for all four of the plays the Giants ran inside the Jets' 10-yard line. And in the second quarter, he got the bulk of the first-down and second-down work as well.

What's it mean? Well, I think the reason Brown was getting the third-down work Sunday night and again Saturday was because the Giants trust him more in pass protection right now than they trust Wilson. And I wonder if he started getting the early-down work for the same reason, because Eli Manning looked uncharacteristically uneasy in the first quarter behind a revamped offensive line that lost starters David Baas and David Diehl to injury in the Colts game Sunday. It's possible the Giants put Brown in because they're worried the depleted line can't protect Manning sufficiently right now, and if that concern were to linger into the regular season, Brown could end up getting first-down and second-down carries even then.

It's a real conundrum, because the Giants can't ignore what Wilson offers them as a runner, but their No. 1 priority is absolutely the protection of Manning. It's possible they do trust Wilson in pass protection more than it appears and they're giving Brown all the extra work in an effort to preserve Wilson for the season. But they weren't preserving any of their other starters in the first half Saturday night, and I know they like the way Brown has run the ball this summer. So this remains a situation worth watching closely when the regular season begins.

Anyway, here are some other things I took away from an unnecessarily late night at the Meadowlands:
  • The knee injury to starting safety Stevie Brown could be pretty serious. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he didn't have any new information after the game, but he also said, "I feel bad for Stevie. He's been a tremendous addition to our team, and the guy has another interception and then that happens." Brown, who had eight interceptions last season and is one of the Giants' projected starting safeties this season as a result, appeared to go down without being hit while returning an interception in the first quarter. He'll surely have an MRI on Monday, and the Giants will hope the news isn't as bad as they fear.
  • Cornerback Jayron Hosley also left the game in the first quarter with an injury the team called an ankle sprain. He'll surely find his way into an MRI tube on Monday as well.
  • I'm not sure how Coughlin could watch the Jets and think he has problems, but he was sure upset about the way his offense performed in this game. Manning was 8-for-20 for 83 yards. The ground game averaged 2.5 yards per carry if you take out Wilson's first run (though, on the plus side, it was 6.0 yards per carry if you don't!). They were 3-for-18 on third downs. They allowed four sacks. They couldn't get in on four tries at the goal line. "It's very obvious that, in all three areas, we're not doing what we need to do on the offensive end," Coughlin said. "We've got work to do."
  • Jim Cordle played center in place of the injured Baas and got run over a couple of times, most notably by Sheldon Richardson on a play that resulted in a sack of Manning. Cordle said he struggled with the twists and other wrinkles the Jets front was throwing at the Giants. "Some of it was stuff I hadn't seen, but most of it was stuff we had seen and you've just got to reach a little bit faster," Cordle said. First-round pick Justin Pugh looked passable at right tackle, but there were communication issues along the line all night, as you'd expect with so much change in a short period of time.
  • Terrell Thomas got "20-plus plays," mostly as the nickel cornerback, in his first game action in two years. Thomas, who's recovering from two surgeries on the anterior cruciate ligament his right knee in the past two years, said he felt great playing again and will continue to build strength and confidence. Still no way to be sure what role, if any, he has on this season's team. The injuries to Brown and Hosley could conceivably create opportunities for him, though, if he shows he can play at a high enough level.
  • Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks wasn't on the same page with Manning all night, but he did make a one-handed circus catch along the sideline while being blatantly interfered with by Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson. And he delivered a key block on the edge to help spring Wilson on his big run. Nicks is the total package at wide receiver, and the most important thing for the Giants about him Saturday night was that he said he felt healthy.
  • Ryan Torain was the running back getting all of the carries once the second half started. The Giants like him as a pass protector as well.
  • Former Eagles defensive tackle Mike Patterson, who had brain surgery a year and a half ago after collapsing on the field during an Eagles training camp practice in 2011, looked impressive for the second game in a row. The defensive tackle play in general was a bright spot, and Patterson looks like a guy who deserves a spot in the rotation.
  • Finally, a word on the concept of overtime in the preseason: seriously? What a farce. In this era of supposed emphasis on player safety, the Giants and the Jets played half of an extra period to decide a winner in a game that doesn't count. Giants cornerback Laron Scott even got injured on a play in the overtime. I'd say the NFL needs to make a new rule that says preseason games can't go to overtime, but I'm astounded to learn that wasn't a rule already. It's preposterous that they'd even consider playing overtime in the preseason. Overtime is a mechanism for determining a winner in a game that ends in a tie. Preseason games do not require winners. Therefore, they do not require overtime. Pretty simple. Preseason overtime is one of the stupidest NFL things I've ever heard of. And you know, if you read me regularly, that I have a long list.

Anyway, I'll check in with you next week. Hope you enjoyed this game more than I did.

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