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Geno Smith, rookies impress Jets

Jets quarterback Geno Smith, a second-round draft pick

Jets quarterback Geno Smith, a second-round draft pick out of West Virginia, throws a pass during the team's first day of rookie minicamp in Florham Park, N.J. (May 10, 2013) Credit: AP

The Jets made a concerted effort to throw more installs and information at this year's crop of rookies, but according to the Jets front office, Geno Smith and the rest of the newcomers have fared well over the past few days.

“We fire a lot at those guys, by design,” Idzik said at BTIG Commissions for Charity Day celebrity event in Manhattan Tuesday. “We fire-hose them with a lot of information, install a lot of things in a short period of time. I thought Geno and the rookie class for that matter as a whole did very well.”

Idzik echoed similar sentiments to Rex Ryan, who highlighted Smith’s initiative and on-field awareness on the practice field during rookie minicamp.

“There were a couple of occasions like that,” the GM said of the former West Virginia quarterback. “Where we didn’t put too many checks in, we just gave him different looks. Rex is really good about giving a lot of different looks, and it was instinctive to him, so that was very impressive.”

Ryan reiterated he’s been impressed by Smith.

“Well, he had the five plays we put in that I think he looked pretty good at,” he said, playfully. “You do want to see the young man get out there, let’s see him throw it to NFL receivers and all that. And it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, he can definitely throw the football.’ That is the thing that jumps out. I think we did challenge the guys a little bit more. We put more on their plate on offense and defense to let them know, ‘Look, it is going to come fast and a lot you have to stay on top of it.

Ryan said he’s always preferred to challenge his rookies, especially his defensive players. “I want to step it up a little bit, just make sure that they understand that you can’t just get it in the meetings. You have to stay a day ahead of the installation. That is what you try to do and you teach it to them and if they don’t understand it, you blow right through them and let them know how many mistakes they make and all that is not acceptable.

“I want them to understand that obviously there is accountability and if you think you know it, go back and learn it and try to go one more day of installation in front of them,” said Ryan, who called Smith’s hotel-room study session with his offensive linemen “pretty impressive.” “If you do that, they are usually in pretty good shape.” 

Said Idzik: "I think just in terms of the entire class, we were really impressed with everybody. They’re going to have their hiccups. I think the first practice, you get that wide-eyed look, and they’re swimming because they literally had only two hours of meeting time and then they’re out on the field and we’re running them through adjustments. They did a great job, they really did." 

Here are some other tidbits from Tuesday:

* Idzik on first-round pick Dee Milliner: "He was riding the bike out there so he was getting a little aerobic training. He takes mental reps, he was with the DBs. All the guys that may have had a tweaked ham here or there, we’ll make sure they of course are in the classroom. Even when they are out on the field, they’ll stay with their groups, they’ll go through the mental reps. They’ll discuss it, play by play and what happened. So when they’re physically ready to go, they’re not behind.

* Asked about Steve Tisch's recent comments about the Jets ruining Tebow, Rex replied: "I got no reaction to that. I am just excited about coaching my guys and moving forward with this football team."

* It was pretty obvious that Roosevelt Holliday was the unfortunate soul who forgot to line up on defense during Saturday's practice. But just to be sure, Ryan was asked about the mystery player. "I don’t think he is out there anymore," he said.

* Ryan's reaction to the Dolphins being big spenders this offseason? "Sounds like a lot of money," he said. "Obviously they added a lot of good players, there’s no question. You know, they lost a couple of good ones too. Reggie Bush, the big tackle, Jake Long is a great player. So I am glad we don’t have to face him anymore there. He is a tremendous player. I think the whole league, when you look at it, a lot of guys add a lot of players but I am excited about the guys we have."

* Ryan remains high on former Tennessee wideout Zach Rogers and Dalton Freeman, the former Clemson center. "It is kind of hard evaluating because the pads haven’t come on and guys can look great in shorts and as soon as they get hit, all of the sudden it’s like that guy disappears. The Rogers kid in particular, we expected him to look good and he was a tremendous player at Tennessee albeit he never started because the other two guys, high picks and stuff like that. I think he caught like seven or eight touchdowns, productive there. He really did a nice job of running routes and catching the football so I think you can evaluate those guys a little better than the other ones.

"The center from Clemson I think was impressive also. Really, he was a first team All American. I was kind of shocked he wasn’t drafted. When we went down there for his Pro Day, he did like 36 reps, he had a 32-inch vertical jump and ran a sub 5-flat 40. I was like, is it me or what’s wrong with this kid? He has done a nice job. I know (offensive line coach) Mike Devlin is really high on him."  

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