Brian Winters struggles for Jets

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
7:27
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, NJ – If there was a weak link on the New York Jets offensive line last week in a 31-24 loss to Green Bay. It was left guard Brian Winters. He missed a few key blocking assignments, letting pressure in to rattle quarterback Geno Smith.

“There’s a couple plays that got away from me obviously,” Winters said. “After that I went back and looked at the film and made some corrections.”

Now, as the Jets prepare to meet Chicago and former Jets lineman Matt Slauson, Winters works to correct the issues that cropped up last week.

“Well, he has had some real good outings and then that one obviously wasn’t great for him,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “I know he had a dislocated finger or something and then came back out there. And that 76 [Mike Daniels] is a pretty good player. He kind of reminds me of that kid from Cincinnati, Geno Atkins. So he had his hands full with him. But again I am confident in Brian.”

Winters is getting treatment on the injury to his left hand each day at the team’s facility. He played with the injury last Sunday.

“Dislocated both my fingers,” Winters said. “Taped them together and went back in.”

Injury Report: Bellore doesn't practice

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
6:59
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, NJ -- New York Jets linebacker and special teams stalwart Nick Bellore did not practice Thursday with a hip injury. Jets coach Rex Ryan said there is a chance that Bellore won't be available for the Monday night game against the Bears.

"Well, certainly there is a chance that he won't go because he never practiced today even," Ryan said, "so there is still that chance."

This was the first day that Bellore has been listed with a hip injury.

Here is the rest of Thursday's practice report:

Jets

Did not practice: LB Nick Bellore (hip), WR Eric Decker (hamstring), LB AJ Edds (hamstring).

Limited: Willie Colon (calf), RB Chris Johnson (ankle), OL Nick Mangold (shoulder), DB Dee Milliner (ankle).

Full: DB Josh Bush (quad), LB Quinton Coples (elbow).

Bears

Did not play: DE Jared Allen (back), C Roberto Garza (ankle), WR Brandon Marshall (ankle), CB Sherrick McManis (quad), DT Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), DE Trevor Scott (foot), G Matt Slauson (ankle).

Limited: S Chris Conte (shoulder), WR Alshon Jeffrey (hamstring), LB Shea McClellin (hand).

Full: WR Josh Morgan (groin.)

Pryor: Let's see if Cutler can take a few hits

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
6:45
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jay Cutler showed last week he can take a hit and keep on chucking. The Chicago Bears quarterback took a speeding helmet to the chest, shook it off and rallied his team to a win over the San Francisco 49ers.

So, obviously, he can't be intimidated. Or can he?

[+] EnlargeJustin Smith and Jay Cutler
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezJay Cutler shook off some hard hits to rally the Bears past the 49ers.
"That was one hit. Let's see if he can take a few more," New York Jets safety Calvin Pryor said. "Then we can talk about that."

No, the Jets' confidence wasn't dented by last week's woeful defensive performance against the Green Bay Packers. The Jets don't do meek, no matter how poorly they play. If anything, Aaron Rodgers' three-touchdown, 346-yard passing day may serve as a wake-up call for a defense that prides itself on bullying opponents.

On Monday night, they get a national stage to show their resilience.

"We feel like we have a point to prove, not just to our opponent, but to the rest of the league -- that we're a team to be reckoned with," linebacker Demario Davis said. "We know guys across the league are watching film and we want them to come in with a certain level of respect when they play us. That goes by the way we play. ... We want to be the best. We have to go out and prove it every week."

The Jets are No. 1 against the run, but their pass defense isn't scaring anyone. Rodgers' passing total was the third-highest allowed by the Jets under Ryan (we're talking 82 games) and Jordy Nelson's 209-yard receiving day was the most against a Ryan-coached defense.

Now here come Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Cutler is no Rodgers, but he might have the strongest arm in the league. If he has time in the pocket, he could light up the Jets' corners, Antonio Allen, Darrin Walls, Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson.

"He's still the gunslinger type of guy," Ryan said of Cutler. "He knows he can put it in a little window and he's confident. Prone to turnovers? I don't know. He's prone to throwing touchdowns and, obviously, making big plays. Sometimes there's a price for it, if you miss, but the guy is rare. He has rare physical abilities."

The pressure is on Ryan this week to fix his leaky secondary. It won't be easy, especially with Milliner (ankle) still less than 100 percent. Ryan isn't sure if Milliner is well enough to return to his starting role. Ryan is a creative defensive mind, so you can bet he'll try to cook up something. It wouldn't be a shock if you see an extra safety on the field, perhaps Josh Bush or Jaiquawn Jarrett, a bigger body to deal with Marshall (6-foot-4) and Jeffery (6-foot-3).

"You worry about Marshall, that's the No. 1 guy you worry about," Ryan said of the Bears' top receiver, who caught three touchdowns in last week's win over the 49ers.

Marshall (ankle) and Jeffery (hamstring) have been slowed by injuries, so maybe the Jets catch a break. It has to be better than last week, right? Under Ryan, the Jets are 4-3 after allowing a 300-yard passing day. Only once have they yielded 300-yard days in consecutive weeks. That happened last season, when Drew Brees threw for 366 yards one week after Andy Dalton's 323. Somehow, the Jets managed to beat Brees.

Now, they have Cutler in their sight.

"We're attacking the field with aggression this week," Davis said. "We're looking forward to Monday night."

Vick on his role: 'Five plays too many'

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
5:40
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If the New York Jets ever decide to expand Michael Vick's role in the offense, well, we know how he'd feel about it.

He'd hate it. Truth be told, he doesn't love his current gig, playing two or three plays a game.

Vick
Vick
"We're not going to get into that," he said Thursday, when asked about the possibility of playing a full series. "That disrupts the timing. That disrupts the flow of the game. This isn't college. You don't rotate quarterbacks, substitute one guy for another for a series. That's kind of petty. You want your quarterback to stay in a consistent flow. You don't want to interrupt anything."

In two games, Vick has played a total of five plays.

"Five too many," he said, half-jokingly. "But, nah, it's cool, man. I'm enjoying it."

It would be more accurate to say he's tolerating it. Vick doesn't want to rock the boat, so he's taking what the coaches give him, hoping to eventually pop a big play. At this point, the Jets would settle for anything positive. In five plays with Vick on the field, the offense has netted zero yards.

Those five plays included a red-zone incompletion (by Vick), a red-zone fumble (by Geno Smith) and a sack (Vick). So, no, the Jets haven't exactly killed it.

"I know we haven't had a whole lot of success with him," Rex Ryan said. "Again, I think it does keep a defense off balance a little bit and, hopefully, we'll get this thing rolling a little bit."

It doesn't sound like it will happen Monday night against the Chicago Bears. Vick said they "don't have too much" in this week's game plan, adding, "We just want Geno to go out there and focus on the game."

Vick reiterated that he's "a full-time quarterback," although he admitted he'd love to catch a pass.

"That's a quarterback's dream," he said. "I'll be on the edge with a DB who really can't cover me."

In 2012, the Jets tried to make Tim Tebow an integral part of the offense, but for myriad reasons, it never worked. Reminded of the Jets' Tebow intentions, Vick smiled and said, "That was once upon a time, not in today's time."

Jets' Richardson hit with fine

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
5:32
PM ET
[+] EnlargeSheldon Richardson
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsJets DE Sheldon Richardson was fined an undisclosed amount for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in last Sunday's 31-24 loss to Green Bay.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The FedEx letter to Sheldon Richardson from league headquarters arrived Wednesday, informing the Jets defensive lineman that he was being fined in addition to getting the unsportsmanlike behavior penalty in Green Bay last Sunday.

Richardson admitted he'd received the fine, but he wouldn't disclose the amount.

"No need for all that," Richardson said.

It's the second NFL fine that Richardson has gotten in his career, and it came from a play during which Richardson lost his helmet and defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson was ejected for throwing a punch.

"I've never really agreed with the fines anyway," Richardson said, "because it's only really on the defensive guy to get a fine. Unless the offensive guy blatantly punches somebody in the face or something crazy. I think the fine system is strictly for the D."

Wilkerson, who was not available in the Jets' locker room Thursday, will be automatically fined for the ejection.


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Vick says Goodell 'doing a great job'

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
5:05
PM ET
video

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick, who was on the receiving end of Roger Goodell's justice seven years ago, defended the embattled NFL commissioner, saying Thursday that Goodell doesn't deserve to lose his job.

"You have to give the man a chance, you have to him a chance, you have to give everybody a chance to get it right," said Vick, who believes Goodell is "doing a great job."

Goodell is under fire amid the intense fallout from the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson situations along with domestic violence allegations involving other NFL players.

Vick, who was suspended indefinitely by Goodell in 2007 after pleading guilty to federal dogfighting charges, called for patience, saying the commissioner should be given an opportunity to resolve the issues.

"I think some situations are more complicated than others," Vick said. "You're not going to get it right all the time or the first time. These situations that are arising are situations that we've never dealt with before in the NFL -- from a PR standpoint, just from a situation standpoint.

"It's kind of new to everybody. That's why we're talking about it right now. It has to be dealt with. Nobody is perfect. Nobody is going to make the correct decisions right there and then on the spot when faced with all forms of adversity."

There was a time when it looked like Vick was finished in the league. But, after missing the 2007 and 2008 seasons while serving a prison sentence, he was reinstated by Goodell and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.


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Inside Edge: Bears-Jets

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
2:51
PM ET


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Decker (hamstring) misses practice again

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
1:00
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Eric Decker came out to practice Thursday in uniform -- sans shoulder pads and cleats -- but he ended up doing pretty much what he did on Wednesday, which was not much.

 The New York Jets wide receiver, nursing a hamstring injury, sat out positional drills for the second consecutive day. He participated in the team stretch and worked in the rehab area during the 30-minute window open to the media, but there was no indication that he'd be able to participate in team drills.

Decker's status for Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears remains up in the air. On Wednesday, Rex Ryan expressed cautious optimism that Decker would be able to play. The team still has practices on Friday and Saturday.

In other injury news, cornerback Dee Milliner (ankle), who sat out Wednesday, returned to positional drills. Milliner, who played 40 snaps last week against the Green Bay Packers, is expected to play.

Special teams ace Nick Bellore, battling a calf injury since the end of the preseason, sat out positional drills.

A full practice report will be released later in the day.

Rex Ryan not worried about discipline

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
11:30
AM ET
What discipline problem?

After days of analysis over timeouts, penalties for having too many men on the field and Muhammad Wilkerson's ejection for throwing a punch, the New York Jets have been criticized for not being more buttoned-up during the game.

So, does Jets coach Rex Ryan think his team is undisciplined?

“No, not at all,” Ryan said. “Has it been perfect? Absolutely not. And that’s the thing that we talk about, trying to get better and maybe there’s other areas that we can get better at, clearly we’re going to go for it. We’re trying to become an outstanding football team. But to say this team’s undisciplined, you [can] put anything you want, I don’t believe that.”

Ryan was again asked about the timeout, initiated by Marty Mornhinweg and enforced by defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. Mornhinweg said it was hard to get Ryan’s attention because the coach was on the defensive channel on the team’s headset, not the offensive channel.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Well, I should always be on [the offensive headset],’ but I know just like any coach that calls defense or something like that, that’s not always going to happen,” Ryan said. “That’s not always the case. This isn’t the first time the offense has wanted a timeout that I’ve called or was there to, okay, I go in and make the call.”

Under the spotlight: Nelson and Allen

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
6:00
AM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Each week we will select two players on the New York Jets -- one on offense, one on defense -- who figure to play a key role in the upcoming game:

Nelson
OFFENSE: David Nelson, wide receiver -- With Eric Decker (hamstring) a question mark, Nelson's role grows in importance. He was targeted twice in the first two games (both receptions), a stunningly low number when you consider he ran 51 pass routes. Against the Green Bay Packers, he didn't see a ball until the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter. It's difficult to assess the root of the matter -- is he not getting open or is it the play calling? -- but there's a chance to break out Monday night against the Chicago Bears. The 6-foot-5 Nelson will either be covered by a smurf (Tim Jennings, 5-foot-8) or a rookie (Kyle Fuller). The Jets have to figure out a way to maximize Nelson's skill set.

Allen
DEFENSE: Antonio Allen, cornerback -- Allen is a neophyte at the position, so he's bound to make technique errors. The Jets will have to live with those as he learns on the job. The one thing they can't tolerate is missed tackles. Allen is an excellent tackler, but he missed two against the Packers. He'll have to be on his game against the Bears' big, physical wide receivers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Marshall is built like a tight end, which shouldn't bother Allen because, as a former safety, he's accustomed to covering tight ends. Marshall is playing with an ankle injury that has diminished his elusiveness. In fact, he has only 24 yards-after-the-catch on 13 receptions, so he's basicaly going down as soon as he catches it. Allen has to make sure it stays that way.
Santonio HolmesRon Antonelli/Getty ImagesThe Jets don't want to see Santonio Holmes celebrating in his return to MetLife Stadium.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Let's start off by making this perfectly clear: The New York Jets made the right move by releasing Santonio Holmes last offseason. Too much money, too much baggage and not enough production.

Unfortunately for them, this isn't a case of out of sight, out of mind, because Holmes is very much on their mind as they prepare for the Chicago Bears. Even though he's a diminished player, he poses a threat to the Jets because he's a wide receiver, and any wide receiver with two healthy hands and sub-5.0 speed in the 40 has to be classified as dangerous against their porous secondary.

It's the Jets' worst nighmare, Holmes turning "Monday Night Football" into his personal stage, scoring a big touchdown and doing that silly jet-plane celebration. It's not a far-fetched scenario. For all his shortcomings, he's always been a big-moment player. He has a Super Bowl MVP trophy to prove it.

Imagine the fallout if the Jets go from The Timeout to Tone Time in one week. Actually, you don't want to imagine that.

Rex Ryan, not wanting to give Holmes any motivational fuel for his homecoming, gave his former player a glowing endorsement Wednesday during a conference call with the Chicago media. He portrayed Holmes as a cross between a Boy Scout, an altar boy and Jerry Rice, insisiting it's "totally untrue" that the petulant receiver was a divisive influence in the locker room during his five seasons with the Jets.

I believe Ryan when he says he genuinely likes Holmes, but Ryan also knows that Holmes, whose mouth sometimes was like the bull in the china shop, was the root of the locker-room turmoil that made the Jets a national punchline in 2011.

Who could forget the end of the 2011 season, when Holmes clashed with teammates and was thrown out of the huddle with two minutes remaining in the final game of the season? At the time, one member of the organization described him as "a pain in the ass." They probably would've cut him if they didn't owe him so much guaranteed money, the result of a five-year, $45 million contract extension before the '11 season. He still counts on their salary cap, $2.5 million.

Holmes is the reason why the Jets no longer have captains. Ryan appointed Holmes a captain in 2011, certainly not one of the coach's most inspired decisions. The power went to his head, and his mouth, as he publicly criticized the offensive line after a particularly tough loss. When the season ended, Ryan announced, "No more captains."

Reminded of that sorry chapter, Ryan claimed the decision wasn't based on the misbehaving Holmes. Pressed, Ryan finally acknowledged, "It might not have been a great selection," meaning his choice to put a "C' on Holmes' chest. He also admitted that Holmes threw teammates "under the bus" for his critique of the offensive line, but Ryan doesn't think Holmes meant it to come out as criticism. He called him a good teammate, a "dude who won a lot of games for us."

They don't want him to win Monday night in MetLife. Obviously, the Jets are focused on Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, Jay Cutler's favorite targets, but they can't forget about Holmes. His surgically repaired foot is healthy and, despite only four catches for 41 yards, he looks like the Holmes of old, according to the Jets' defensive players. He played 73 percent of the offensive snaps in last week's win over the San Francisco 49ers, so you know he'll be out there a lot.

Not surprisingly, Holmes declined a request this week to speak with the New York media via conference call. As much as he disliked the New York media, he occasionally created headlines with foot-in-mouth remarks. There was the time last December when he said the Carolina Panthers' secondary was "the weakest link" on their defense, infuriating the defensive backs, who played career games in a win over the Jets.

Hey, maybe Holmes will incite the Jets by insulting their secondary. Said one player: "I don't think anyone would mind that."

Decker, Milliner on pace to play

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
8:22
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker expressed some optimism that he could play on Monday despite a lingering hamstring injury that kept him out of practice on Wednesday.

“Well, it’s one day, my mentality is to take it one day at a time,” Decker said. I would love to play, so [I] am just making sure that we take the right steps. Don’t do too much, but do enough to feel it out and make a decision once that day rolls around.”

Jets coach Rex Ryan addressed Decker and Dee Milliner, who had a high ankle sprain but played in Sunday’s loss in Green Bay.

“Both of those guys we will see how they progress,” Ryan said. “They were not practicing today, but we will see how they do. We’re confident that they will be ready. We know that they are going to work to get out there. I’m confident, we’ll see how it goes during the week, but I should say I guess I’m hopeful that they will play.”

Decker said that he didn’t have an MRI on the hamstring and that he doesn’t think there is a tear or any new or more concerning injury. This is likely a continuation of the training camp issue and he said he just needs to be careful with it.

“I can’t give you a timeline,” Decker said. “I can just tell you that right now, every day I am going to try and do a little bit more and see how it feels, and keep at it, whether it’s a strengthening program, or a stretching program, whatever they have for me, and we are going to be smart with it. But, I want to get out as soon as I can for my teammates, so I am going to obviously make a smart choice, but try to get out there.”

“[The trainers] seem to be feeling pretty confident that these guys can get better,” Ryan said. “They’re already since they left on Sunday.”

Milliner didn’t play as well as the team expected. The second year cornerback played for the first time since he sustained the high ankle sprain Aug. 10.

“I have been doing good,” Milliner said. “Like I said, I am still doing my rehab, progressing day in and day out.”

Does Ryan think he brought Milliner back into a game too quickly?

“I don’t feel that way,” Ryan said. “I thought he started the game well. Obviously at the end of the game he didn’t play as well as he’s capable of, but no, I don’t think so.”


Jets' challenge: One ball, several options

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
8:05
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- In Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers, the New York Jets' passing attack was a two-man show, Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley. They're taking steps this week, behind closed doors, to make sure other players get involved.

Nelson
Wide receiver David Nelson, targeted only once in the game, said there have been discussions with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg on the subject. Nelson described them as positive in nature, not gripe sessions, adding that these type of conversations are typical throughout a season.

"It's been brought up, I'll leave it at that -- not in a dysfunctional manner, though," Nelson said. "It was brought up to identify that we want to get more guys involved. I'm not singling myself out. It's not me complaining about not getting the ball. It was just, as an offense, we're identifying we want to get the ball to more guys. Hopefully, we can do that, moving forward.

"A lot of it has to do with us trying to find out identity, trying to fit the pieces," he added. "In the preseason, you're trying to see what guys can do. With Eric and Jace (Amaro), there are a lot of new additions. The coaches want to see what the flow is and what guys can do. I think you'll start to see it be more fluid."

Nelson said he has talked with Mornhinweg and quarterback Geno Smith.

"We're having healthy conversations," he said. "There's no panic, there's no frustration. It's just that guys are competitors. They want the ball, they want to show what they can do. At the end of the day, it's about winning."

After two games, Decker (nine catches) and Kerley (eight) are the leading receivers. Nelson, a starter, has only two receptions. Jeff Cumberland leads the tight ends with five; Amaro has only three catches. The Jets drafted Amaro in the second round, expecting him to upgrade the passing game. Just last week, Rex Ryan said Amaro was on the verge of becoming a "major" factor.

"His time will come," Smith said of Amaro. "He's got to stay patient within the offense, we all do. It's early. Everyone wants to make plays, everyone wants to be the guy who's sparking the offense, but we've got to depend on one another and continue to do that."

Decker is nursing a hamstring injury and his status for Monday night against the Chicago Bears is uncertain. Obviously, the dynamic would change if he doesn't play. Nelson and Kerley would be the every-down receivers, with Greg Salas playing in three-receiver packages.

Packers loss had Geno peeved for two days

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
7:25
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- One of Geno Smith's best traits is he doesn't get too high or too low. He prides himself on the ability to move quickly from one game to the next, not permitting any feelings -- positive or negative -- to linger.

But Sunday's loss in Green Bay, that was different.

"It took me [until] today's practice," the New York Jets' quarterback said Wednesday. "I was pissed off for about two days, so today's practice allowed me to flush it out of my system and just get back to playing football."

Smith acknowledged it was out of character for him to dwell on a bad loss. It was a bad one, all right. There was the 18-point lead that vanished ... the cold spell on offense ... and, of course, the timeout fiasco. The Jets lost a heartbreaker, 31-24, at Lambeau Field.

"That one just stuck around with me for a bit," Smith said.

Asked what made it tough to swallow, he said, "We lost it. Anytime you lose -- I hate losing and that's really what happened. I'm pretty upset about it."

 

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