Cortland, NY - A day off Sunday was certainly good for the tempo of Monday morning’s practice at New York Jets training camp in Cortland.
How good was it? Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan called it “our best practice since we’ve been here this year.”
A look at the news and notes from the beginning of the second week of training camp:
During the final 11-on-11 drills, Mark Sanchez was nearly perfect, completing 6-of-7 passes on an 80-yard drive that ended with an outstanding act of improvisation by Sanchez, the offensive line and wide receiver David Clowney…After taking the snap on his final play, Sanchez began scrambling around in the pocket and when no receivers were open, weaved in and out of blocks to buy time…Sanchez then stepped up and chucked a 20-yard pass to David Clowney, who leapt above a crowded endzone and hauled down the catch for a touchdown.
Dustin Keller was the signal-caller’s most utilized target on the 80-yard drive. The third-year tight end was the recipient of four of Sanchez’s first five completions, getting open on mostly underneath routes and making a good grab on a Sanchez pass that was thrown through a tight window. Keller accounted for more than 50 yards of the drive…“Well, you think about how Keller finished the season,” Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan said. “Three games in a row, he scored a touchdown. That’s what we can get from this guy.”
With quarterback Mark Brunell holding, Nick Folk ended practice going 5-for-5 on field goals, ranging from 35-40 yards. In the afternoon practice, Folk booted every kickoff into the endzone…Punter Steve Weatherford also looked very solid. He and TJ Conley, who was picked up via free agency, made Jets punt returners run back toward the endzone to field the ball on multiple occasions. Safety Jim Leonard, who was in the punt-returning mix, made a great running catch on one of Weatherford’s punts, earning him bragging rights with the receivers.
Wide receiver Jericho Cotchery was his usual consistent self on all the drills. On one play during 7-on-7s, safety Eric Smith made a huge hit on Cotchery at the exact moment Cotchery caught the ball on a cross route. It was a good play by both Jets, as Smith was right on time, and Cotchery hung on to the ball.
What a difference a week makes…Overall, the defense was decent but not as good as the offense. The defensive backs got beat on a few deep passes, and Keller showed great hands with Antonio Cromartie all over him during the middle of practice. Defensive back Donavan Warren made a nice pass breakup later on, and defensive end Jason Taylor appeared to be moving pretty well around the outside but was out of practice early because of a slight groin pull.
Brunell took more reps toward the beginning of practice and looked pretty good, except when he tripped over a pad during foot drills, which drew a collective laugh from the sidelines and bleachers…The coaching staff gave Brunell the rest of the practice off, aside from his holding duties…“We need competition to find out who that other guy (will be),” Ryan said about quarterbacks Kellen Clemens and Kevin O’Connell.
Clemens made some decent throws but was the only quarterback to fumble a handoff or a snap…
Quick notes: Defensive tackle Kris Jenkins was limited, as expected… linebacker Jamal Westerman made a reverse look silly when he was waiting for receiver Larry Taylor as he swung around the left side with the ball… Running backs LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene looked good. Both were getting a good burst through the line, and Greene showcased his speed on a few outside runs... Fullback Tony Richardson was working full speed, as usual… Midway through practice, there was brief excitement between two linemen, but the potential wrestling match was quickly broken up by a crowd of players on the field. According to Ryan, Matthew Mulligan, Lance Laury and Robert Turner were among the main culprits. He added, “It’s the heat of the battle… I’m not discouraging that.”… Afternoon practice was cut in half and consisted of just kickoffs/returns.
Nick St. Denis covers the Jets for GreenAndWhiteReport.com