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Observations from Thursday's OTA

ARRIVAL NICK FOLK, kicker Signed a one-year deal

Signed a one-year deal with the Jets this offseason
With all of the moves by the Jets this offseason, was it any surprise they hopped on the kicking carousel? New York pounced on Folk after he fell out of favor in Dallas. His upside is one of the league's most accurate kickers. However, he's one-year removed from posting a 64.3 percent kick accuracy rate - an embarrassing number for some high schoolers, let alone the NFL.
MORE: Latest news on Nick Folk
Photo Credit: AP

Rex Ryan began his press conference in his typical stand-up comedy fashion, joking he had the players kicking with their left foot during an unflattering field goal session.

One scribe actually believed him.

That's because Nick Folk and Clint Stitser put on an atrocious display, combining to miss 6-of-9 attempts by my count. Folk, the perceived starter to replace Jay Feely, was wide right on his first four attempts before nailing a roughly 40-yarder to earn a few Bronx cheers.

Stitser wasn't much better and was officially put on notice by Ryan.

So I asked Ryan if what he's seeing concerns him, even though we have months to go before the season kicks off.

"Absolutely, yes it does," he said. "Even now, I know it’s a long time before we play a game, but yes it concerns you. When it comes down to it, you’ve got to make those kicks. That’s all you do. You might not be on the top of your game right now. I remember Matt Stover for 100 years at Baltimore, this time of year I don’t think Matt could make a kick. When that season rolled around, I don’t think he missed.  He was one of those automatic guys. It’s all in the timing and the new holders, but I think we’d all feel a lot better if they decided to make them."

But the Jets knew they weren't getting the most accurate of kickers when they signed Folk and reportedly elected to let Jay Feely walk over $500,000. Sure, letting Feely leave helped free up money to sign Jason Taylor, but Folk's struggles could lead to a more serious problem.

And the Jets know they are playing with fire a bit when it comes to Folk.

"Two years ago he’s a Pro Bowl kicker and last year, he struggled," Ryan said. "It is a bit of a risk, but I think the benefits we got [outweigh it]. Jason Taylor is going to be a huge plus for us as far as pass rushing and rotating in with Calvin [Pace] and BT.  What those guys can do out there on the sub team together and when we get ahead in the fourth quarter, it's checkmate. That’s what it needs to be.  When you’ve got that kind of pass rush and the kind of coverage we have in the back end, we can’t surrender leads like we did last year.

"That was a big decision. Again, Nick is a guy, I think he made two 50-something yard field goals to win a game against Buffalo. He definitely has the ability. It’s just go out there and get it done. I think we’d all feel better if he was 100 percent on those practice kicks."

My guess: The Jets will go hard after the loser of the Texans' kicking battle between Kris Brown and Neil Rackers. I just can't believe that they'd go into the season with an unsure kicking situation.


We had our first injury to a notable player.

C Nick Mangold was out there for the beginning portion of practice, but was riding one of the stationary bikes midway through. Apparently, he got run over by the team's starting running back during a drill.

"He’s got a quad," Ryan said. "As he put it, he was all over Shonn Greene because he ran into him and ran into his quad. As Nick put it, 'I can handle it if I did something to myself, but Shonn never had to run into me.' Maybe if he got a little bit more movement, he wouldn’t [have run into him]. But no, he’s going to be just fine."


Of course, we're watching to see who ends up replacing the vanished Alan Faneca at LG. Second-round pick Vladimir Ducasse was working with the first-team offense for the most part and Ryan thinks he held his own.

"I think you should ask Jim Leonhard that question since that first play Jimmy came in there and whoops, ‘Somebody pick Jim up over there,’ " Ryan said when I asked him about Ducasse's play. "I don’t know how that guy can surprise you, but he surprised Jimmy and launched him about 20 yards. He’s just a big, massive kid. It’s great to watch him. He came to an ideal situation. He’s going to be sandwiched in between Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. 

"Oh, by the way, you’ve got the best coach in the league too with Bill Callahan sitting right there. I have a funny feeling that he’s going to be a terrific player for us. I really do."

Sounds like Ducasse already has the edge over Matt Slauson.


If you were following me on Twitter (if you aren't, what are you waiting for? Hit up @rodboone), I mentioned how RB Joe McKnight wasn't on the field. I asked Rex about that and he offered up another one-liner.

"We released him today," Ryan said, drawing a few laughts. No, that was [a joke]. He had the Rookie NFL Premiere, so he was excused."

Asked if McKnight was faring better than he was in rookie minicamp, Ryan quipped: "Oh yes. He hasn’t thrown up. He’s in much better shape."

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