New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
Practice notes that got lost in the shuffle, er scuffle
CORTLAND -- Now that we've all spent a chunk of our day talking about melees and fisticuffs, let us return to football. Here are some practice notes that nearly got lost in the shuffle of the Holmes injury news and today's barricade-breaking fight:
* Rex Ryan began his morning presser by expressing his condolences to Eagles head coach Andy Reid and his wife Tammy. ...Then the coach revisited Saturday's Green and White scrimmage -- an intrasquad game that featured three backups filling in on the offensive line, several limited wide receivers and no Sione Po'uha or Bryan Thomas.
Though his quarterbacks had a bunch of incompletions and several second-teamers blew a couple of coverages, Ryan said he was encouraged by the progress his players have made. "We have to get better and tighten things up. This is expected," he said. "That’s what happens the first time you scrimmage, but it’s also encouraging because when we do things right on both sides of the ball, we look pretty good and (we) encourage that way."
There were several guys that stood out in the scrimmage: LB Aaron Maybin (three sacks), who Ryan called "The Energizer Bunny." "He’s running all over the place, but he makes plays." ...Rookie S Antonio Allen "just keeps making plays," according to Ryan. "(He) doesn’t always do things 100 percent right, but he has a chance because when he’s out there and the lights come on, he’s ready to play." ...Rookie QB Matt Simms caught Ryan's eye as well, delivering the play of the night -- a 31-yard TD pass to Raymond. "He was feeling it," said the coach. "That’s good to see." ...Ryan also was impressed by LG Matt Slauson, who was forced to play to play center due to the absence of Nick Mangold (London Olympics).
* Jeremy Kerley's lingering hamstring continues to be an issue, not only for the slot receiver, but also for Ryan. The coach said he's anxious to get Kerley back on the field, but the WR doesn't appear close to that just yet. "I’m concerned," Ryan said of Kerley, who has now missed eight of nine practices. "I think he needs to get out, and when he can, show that he has the new system down. I think that’s my biggest concern.
"Obviously, this guy at the end of the year was about as effective as any receiver we had, playing that slot receiver (position)," Ryan continued. "We’re hoping he can get back to that. He also did a great job as a punt returner, so clearly we need this young man, but it’s kind of a fine line. If you throw him out there too early and he has a setback, now you’re looking at regular season games, so you don’t want to do that. You also want to make sure he’s dialed in mentally, where he can get on that field and let his physical talents take over."
Ryan said he wasn't sure if Kerley's hamstring is torn.
Regardless of injury, quarterback Mark Sanchez said it's important Kerley doesn't overdue it in an attempt to come back faster. "I know he's doing as many drills as he can," said Sanchez. "But as soon as he's back, we have to get as many reps as possible to make up for lost time."
* DE Muhammad Wilkerson continues to impress, but Ryan was especially effusive in his praise of veteran DE Mike DeVito. The coach said DeVito looks more athletic now that he has in the past -- a credit to new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. "Karl is clearly one of the top defensive line coaches in the league and he’s done a great job with them. Mike has really taken to his coaching and he’s been impressive."
But Ryan paid Wilkerson the ultimate compliment when he said -- outside of CB Darrelle Revis -- Wilkerson is "probably playing as well as any defensive player we have."
* ...Speaking of Revis -- the Jets best player -- got torched by rookie WR Stephen Hill on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez. "He made a great catch, did a great job of tracking the ball," the quarterback said of the play. "That's not exactly where it was drawn up for the catch point to be, but he did a good job adjusting to the ball."
* Ryan expects S LaRon Landry (Achilles/heel) to play Friday in Cincinnati, but the Jets will keep a "close eye" on the veteran. ...The coach also has been impressed with fellow S Yeremiah Bell. "Everything that we thought he would be," Ryan said of the former Dolphin. "(He’s) a tremendous football player. (He’s) smart, tough and I think that his cover skills might have even bit a shade better than I thought that they were. I know everybody looks at him as a low safety in Miami for all those years but he showed skills of being able to play as a complete safety and I think that’s what we’ll get here."
* RG Brandon Moore was back at practice after spending the weekend in Canton for Curtis Martin’s Hall of Fame induction. …C Nick Mangold, who went to London to watch his sister compete in the Olympics, is expected back at practice on Tuesday.