Thursday marked the final OTA session before next week’s three-day mini-camp, and Rex Ryan couldn’t stop raving about his team’s commitment to volunteer workouts.
The Jets coach even went as far as to quote his old nemesis, Channing Crowder, who dubbed the Jets “OTA champions” back in 2009.
Using his own OTA calculations, Ryan said the Jets had a 99 percent attendance rate during volunteer workouts this season – the highest it’s been since he became the head coach.
“When I talk about this team coming together, how hungry this team is, here’s an example of that,” said the coach, who added that heading into this offseason he wanted to the Jets to be “OTA champs.”
“That just shows you about this team and how much this team is looking forward to this season. I don’t care if people are motivated through the nergative thigns that we hear the fact that we missed the playoffs—whatever the driving force is, 99 percent of those workouts were attended in a voluntary setting. I think that’s impressive.”
Though LaRon Landry hadn’t been spotted on OTA days open to the media, Ryan said the safety has shown up to a couple of voluntary sessions.
“I’m confident Landry’s gonna be ready to roll,” said the coach, who expects Landry to show up for mini-camp.
Neither Mark Sanchez nor Tim Tebow fared particularly well during Thursday’s practice – the focus of which was third-down efficiency. And to be fair, their receivers didn’t look that sharp either.
Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano barked reminders all morning long and grew more frustrated as players lined up in the wrong position. Though it’s still early in the offseason, there were far too many drops for Sparano’s liking.
Sanchez, who threw two interceptions, said the offense clearly wasn’t on the same page today. But he also credited the Jets defense for making it tough on the QBs and their targets.
“The most important thing to understand for all of us is, No. 1, we’ve got to hold ourselves, hold each other accountable for the mistakes out on the field. But to understand that that’s one of the toughest defenses we’re ever going to play,” said Sanchez, who agreed with Jets owner Woody Johnson’s “loaded” label for the defense.
“And when we can get a few plays rights, in a row, against those guys, get real consistent, stay positive, even through an adverse day today, we’ll be just fine. And to understand once we see a different kind of defense with maybe less complex schemes, things might look a little easier and happen a little faster. But it’s a really good test for us on offense. And they’re not afraid to play hard and compete.”
Said Tebow: "It’s awesome as an offense to be able to go against that, see all those front, see all those blitzes, see all those secondary movements,” said Tebow. “We’ve seen everything in practice, so when we get to a game hopefully we’ve pretty much seen it all.”
At the conclusion of his press conference, Ryan was asked if Tebow has done any Wildcat/direct-snap plays during OTAs. The Jets head coach playfully responded by saying: “As far as you guys know we haven not done anything.”
But a team spokesman came down a few minutes later to clarify. Turns out Tebow has in fact done two direct snap-type plays this week – but they were simple, according to the team.
The backup quarterback again was used on punt protection during special team drills today.
- DE Quinton Coples lined up as a standup rusher on the outside in the “46 defense,” popularized by Ryan’s father Buddy.
The first-round pick, who usually is seen with his hand in the dirt, said the coaching staff gave him the option of standing up on certain plays, depending on what the offense was doing.
“It’s just all about the personnel,” said Coples. “At the end of the day, if it’s a run play I definitely don’t want to be standing up. And if I know it’s a pass and they have a chance of getting outside me I’m definitely going to stand up.”
Speaking of the "46 defense" -- Ryan said the Jets definitely have the personnel to use the 3-4 defensive scheme more often. "There's no doubt we can use it," he said.
Injuries mounting: In addition to the injured (and unsigned) rookie Jordan White (foot), the Jets also must contend with Stephen Hill’s tweaked hammy.
Wide receiver DaMarcus Ganaway appeared to tweak his hamstring as well during practice. While his teammates took part in team drills, Ganaway got his upper right leg wrapped by head trainer John Melody.
- Mathias Berning hasn’t been at OTAs because of a knee injury
- Marcus Dixon didn’t participate in practice today either
- Matt Slauson (shoulder) and Bryan Thomas (Achilles) will be limited during next week’s mini-camp, said Ryan. The coach said he’s not sure if Landry also will be limited