CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Not every player on the New York Jets thinks they're the best ... the greatest ... the (insert your favorite superlative). Linebacker Demario Davis, keeping it real, refuses to buy into the premature hype.

In an interview Tuesday with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller of SiriusXM NFL Radio, Davis -- one of the young leaders on defense -- didn't seem all that thrilled with the boasts from teammates. Davis also seemed to be questioning the team's work ethic. He said they have the potential to be the best defensive team, but there was a qualifier.

"... What it seems like is that, it seems like too many people are saying we can be the best defense or we are the best defense, but the work has to show it," he said. "You know, as far as me seeing it, have we been putting in the work to be the best defense? I would say no. In the first couple weeks, we’ve got to work a lot harder. Guys have to put more individual time in, you’ve got to watch a lot more film, you’ve got to stay on the field a lot longer, you’ve got to come out a lot earlier.

"It’s not just what is mandatory," Davis continued. "If you want to be the best you’ve got to do more. Being the best doesn’t just happen. So I’ve seen a lot of people saying that. I’ve said it myself, but personally, I don’t feel like we’re putting in the work right now to be the best. We have a long way to go and right now we’re not on pace to be the best. We’ve got to start fast this year. We can’t afford to try to catch fire late in the season. We’ve got to start fast.”

Wise words from a young player.

Jets camp report: Day 6

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Jets' training camp:

" Look who's talking -- again. Yep, training camp had 2011 feel to it Tuesday, with Rex Ryan saying he's not upset with all the big talk coming from his locker room. "It's who we are," the coach said. Frankly, they're doing a lot of yapping for a team that hasn't made the playoffs in three years, but they're feeding off Ryan, who clearly is more confident than a year ago. Last summer, he was Uptight Rex, a shell of his former bombastic self. This summer, he's closer to the 2009-2011 version. It makes great copy for us media types, but it also creates an incredible amount of outside scrutiny. This is why people around the league, and around the country, love to take shots at the Jets. I wonder how general manager John Idzik feels. He said last week "he's okay with optimism" and that the confidence is "legitimate," but that was before the real chirping began.

" Rookie safety Calvin Pryor (concussion) missed practice again. If it were up to him, he probably would've been out there. That's based on the Instagram message he posted, saying he doesn't have a concussion. This is a classic example of why the NFL has a concussion protocol; it allows the doctors -- not the players -- decide when it's okay to return to action. The Jets haven't missed their first-round pick on the practice field -- Dawan Landry had a great practice Tuesday -- but they absolutely need him this season. Ryan, speaking of his secondary, noted how "the names aren't household names yet. Hopefully, by the time the season is over, some of them can step up and earn that." Pryor needs to be one of those players.

" We spoke too soon. One day after noting how the Jets have suffered fewer soft-tissue injuries than usual ... boom! Wide receiver David Nelson and running back Bilal Powell didn't finish practice because of groin and hamstring injuries, respectively. Nelson called it "a little bit of a muscle strain," saying he hopes to practice Wednesday. No word yet on Powell. In past years, the team was hit with an epidemic of various pulls and strains in training camp. This year, they're better equipped to handle a spate of injuries with better depth at most positions but, of course, they'd rather not be in that predicement.

" Ryan's defense showed some that old nasty, attacking the offense with a heavy dose of blitzing -- a kitchen-sink kind of day. It was vintage stuff, confusing the offense with players rushing from different directions. This raises a question: Will Ryan be more aggressive in his playcalling because of perceived weaknesses in the secondary? A year ago, Ryan scaled back on the pressure schemes, sending five or more rushers on 29.6 percent of the snaps -- 22nd in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He agreed that he might call more blitzes because the front seven is "pretty darn good," but he added that game plans will be based on "the chess match."

" Moment of the day: In one-on-one drills between wide receivers and cornerbacks, Michael Vick made his best throw of camp, a 50-yard completion to Saalim Hakim, who tumbled into the end zone. He beat cornerback Johnny Patrick.

" Quote of the day: "We've done a ton of push-ups. I'm sure everyone is tired of doing them. You guys (in the media) will be doing them to if you keep coming to practice." -- Vick, alluding to the number of penalties.

Jets running back Chris Johnson feels good

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- We're only five practices into training camp, a little too early to make bold proclamations ... oh, wait, the New York Jets apparently didn't get the memo. OK, forget about that stuff for now; this is about Chris Johnson, who indicated Tuesday that he hasn't felt this good in about a year.

The former Tennessee Titans running back tore the meniscus in his right knee last season in Week 3, and it bothered him for the rest of the year.

"In practice, I wasn't able to do any lateral moves," Johnson said. "(Now), I've been able to do lateral moves and stuff like that with no problem. I feel good."

Those are three very important words: I feel good. If Johnson is saying the same thing in December, the Jets should be in good shape. A healthy CK2k will do wonders for the offense, which desperately needs a breakaway threat.

Johnson underwent arthroscopic surgery in January and sat out the entire offseason, building up his knee for camp. So far, so good. Rex Ryan, of course, expects big things out of the former 2,000-yard rusher. Asked why he's confident, Ryan said:

"Well, the whiplash that I got from watching him run 92 yards against me; (that's) one reason. You watch it on tape. Now, did we see the 2,000-yard guy? Maybe not, but I know one thing: He's still pretty darn effective. That was kind of the guy we saw. He still went for more than 1,000 yards last year."

Yes, he did -- 1,077 yards, to be precise. But it was a career low, as was his average per carry (3.9). Nevertheless, the Jets signed him to a tw0-year, $8 million contract.

Oh, by the way, that 92-yard run in 2012? It was actually 94 yards. Sorry, Rex.

Rex Ryan: Jets have 'ideal' QB situation

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan didn't want to speculate on what would happen if Geno Smith gets off to a shaky start this season. Can't blame him. Why fuel a quarterback controversy? There's no doubt, though, the New York Jets' coach likes his depth chart better than last year. Ryan has confidence in Michael Vick, and that changes the dynamic of the quarterback position.

"When you've got two quarterbacks that know the system, that have been part of it, obviously that's a big thing," Ryan said Tuesday. "Last year, no offense to Matt (Simms) -- Matt did a tremendous job for us -- but here's a young guy coming in, you've got a young starter, a rookie starter, and basically a rookie backup. I don't know if you'd call that an ideal quarterback situation.

"But what we have now might be considered ideal."

Obviously, it puts pressure on Smith. If he slumps, it could mean a seat on the bench. The leash will be shorter than last season.

The Jets were supposed to have an experienced quarterback last season, but Mark Sanchez suffered what would become a season-ending injury in the preseason. Smith won the job by default, with Simms moving up to the No. 2 role.

It was hardly ideal.

You know what's really ideal? Tom Brady ... Peyton Manning ... Aaron Rodgers, et al.

Rex Ryan cool with team's talk

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- There's a lot of bluster coming from the New York Jets, and Rex Ryan is cool with that.

Responding to recent headline-making boasts by some of his players, the Jets coach endorsed the outward confidence even though he knows it could make his team a target.

"You get a few bullets shot at you when you take this approach, so maybe that's not recommended, but you know what? It's who we are. It's how we feel," Ryan said Tuesday after practice. "They can laugh, but they have to play us too, so we'll see at the end of the day.

"The beauty of it is we get to find out. We're not running from it. We're running into it."

The attitude is reminiscent of Ryan's early years, 2009 to 2011, when he bragged about everything and went so far as to guarantee a Super Bowl berth. With 13 new starters, three new coordinators, a new general manager and low outside expectations, Ryan adopted a muted approach last season. But now the swagger is back.

"I have no idea where they get that from, no idea," Ryan said with a smile, cracking, "I'm a great coach. Just ask me."

The Jets are coming off an 8-8 record, their third straight season out of the playoffs, but that hasn't stopped certain players from making bold predictions. Some might call them outlandish.

Dee Milliner called himself the best cornerback in the NFL.

Geno Smith said he expects to be a top-five quarterback in a year or two.

(Read full post)


NFL Nation Jets reporter Rich Cimini discusses whether the Jets should be as confident in their ability as they let on to the media and whether there is a real quarterback competition between Geno Smith and Michael Vick.

Jets practice report: Cover your eyes

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Mistakes, penalties and injuries. It wasn't a good practice Tuesday for the New York Jets. It mirrored the weather -- chilly and dark.

Afterward, coach Rex Ryan expressed his disappointment, saying he expected a sharper performance the day after a day off. In a team drill late in practice, there were three penalties and a sack in a span of six snaps -- all with the starting units.

"The focus doesn't seem to be there," Ryan said. "We started pretty good and then, at the end, it kind of waned a little. ...They've got to push through it and understand this is an opportunity to get better, and these days don't come around all the time. You have to focus."

A handful of players didn't finish practice because of injuries: Wide receiver David Nelson (groin), running back Bilal Powell (hamstring), cornerback Ras-I Dowling (foot), tight end Colin Anderson (thumb).

In addition, rookie safety Calvin Pryor, who suffered a concussion Saturday, didn't practice. The good news is he made an appearance on the field. Pryor wasn't in pads, but he participated in lights warmups. Curiously, Pryor sent an Instagram message Sunday night, conflicting the team's diagnosis.

Rookie tight end Jace Amaro (knee) was expected to return, but he didn't practice. He was in pads, but remained in the rehab area. ... Running back Alex Green (chest) tried to return to practice, but he wasn't feeling well and was taken to the locker room after a thorough examination by doctors. He returned to watch from the sideline. ... Rookie wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (hip), out since Day 1, did positional drills and that was it.

Quarterback update: Once again, Geno Smith took a vast majority of the first-team reps -- 12 to four over Michael Vick. Both Smith (5-for-6) and Vick (4-for-6) completed a high percentage of passes, but they were mostly short completions. There were pass-protection issues. Ryan didn't hold back on defense, showing an array of blitzes. Each quarterback was "sacked" once.

Ryan said the defense was "pretty sharp," but not wanting to play favorites with offense vs. offense, he quickly added, "You have to throw both of them under the bus."

The Forgotten Man: Remember Dawan Landry? He's the "old man" of the secondary; the players call him "The Mentor." He enjoyed his best practice, producing a sack and an interception in a 7-on-7 drill. Landry doesn't have the speed and athleticism of the other safeties, but he's a crafty veteran whose experience is invaluable.

New look at right guard: Willie Colon, coming off athroscopic knee surgery, participated in team drills for the first time. He rotated with Oday Aboushi, and with Brian Winters at left guard. Get used to it. The Jets are looking for ways to get Aboushi in the mix. The rotation serves two purposes because it also allows Colon to ease in gradually after missing the offseason and the first few days of camp.

All hands on Dex: Rookie cornerback Dexter McDougle was one of the stars of minicamp, earning effusive praise from Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman. So far, though, the third-round pick is off to a quiet start in camp. In a 7-on-7 drill, he got beat badly by Stephen Hill, who caught a long pass for a touchdown. It's called growing pains. The Jets remain high on McDougle, evidenced by the fact he got some first-team reps in the nickel package.

Boss in the house: Owner Woody Johnson made his training-camp debut, spending a good part of the practice chatting with general manager John Idzik.

Odds and ends: Safety Saalim Hakim made a diving catch on a long pass in a one-on-one drill. ... Jacoby Ford and rookie Shaq Evans had one drop apiece. After his drop, Ford rebounded on the next play. He made a nice a grab on a contested deep ball. ... Jeremy Reeves intercepted rookie quarterback Tajh Boyd in a team drill. It was an off-balance throw into coverage, and Boyd's rookie struggles continue.

Jets wake-up call: Day 6

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- After a mandatory day off, the New York Jets will be back on the practice field at 10 a.m. This starts a stretch of four consecutive days of practice, followed by the annual Green & White scrimmage Saturday night.

A few things I'll be watching on Tuesday:
  • The spotlight will be on the wide receivers, who endured a rough practice Sunday. There were several dropped passes, including drops by sure-handed receivers David Nelson and Jeremy Kerley. Stephen Hill and rookie Shaq Evans also contributed to the total. You'd like to think they'll rebound with a strong day. The Jets are still waiting for one of the rookies to deliver a "wow" performance.
  • Rookie safety Calvin Pryor is three days removed from suffering a concussion. He must satisfy the league's protocol before returning to the field. It's so early in camp that it's pointless to make any predictions; it's not like we're in the regular season. Rookie tight end Jace Amaro, who aggravated a sore knee Sunday, expects to practice.
  • Will offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg change up the quarterback reps, creating more balance between Geno Smith and Michael Vick? You know we'll be counting. To this point, three out of four first-team reps have gone to Smith.
  • A programming note: The Jets will be featured on ESPN's Training CampSCenter, with updates from Jets camp throughout the day. It'll bring back thoughts of 2012, when it was all Tim Tebow, all the time. Ah, memories.


Babin's contract: Good deal for Jets

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
The New York Jets had plenty of salary-cap space before signing Jason Babin, and they still have plenty of room now that he's on the team. They landed the free-agent pass-rusher with a relatively modest two-year, $3.2 million contract that includes no guaranteed money, according to ESPN Stats & Information -- a good deal for the Jets. (Note: He pocketed a $500,000 signing bonus from the Jacksonville Jaguars, who cut him last month.)

Here's the breakdown:


Base salary: $1.1 million

Roster bonus: $500,000 ($31,250 per game)

Cap figure: $1.725 million


Option bonus: $250,000

Base salary: $1.35 million

Cap figure: $1.475 million

Note: The Jets must make a decision on whether to pick up the 2015 option by the end of the 2014 league year.

"SportsNation" plays the hashtag game for Geno Smith saying he'll soon be a top-five quarterback.

Aboushi helped create 185 smiles

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
[+] EnlargeOday Aboushi
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIOday Aboushi was part of a five-day surgical mission by the Islamic Medical Association of North America in early March to repair cleft lips in Sudan.

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- There are 185 new smiles in Sudan these days, and Oday Aboushi helped create them all.

Aboushi, an offensive lineman for the New York Jets, was part of a five-day surgical mission by the Islamic Medical Association of North America in early March to repair cleft lips in the African country. IMANA Medical Relief's volunteer SaveSmile team of doctors and nurses operated on infants as young as a few months old to young adults in their early- to mid-20s in Sudan's capital city of Khartoum.

Aboushi, who joined the group along with his older sister Tahanie and youngest brother Haytham, scrubbed in and assisted with giving patients IVs and watched as their mouths were transformed in the 35-minute procedures. Muscles are adjusted and tissues connected so that a lip can form and heal properly.

"It was such a great experience to help people, but also to see such an instant result," said Aboushi, a sociology major in college. "You're bringing them into the operating room and then a few minutes later, you're bringing them out and they look like a totally different person.

"Their parents are in tears, they're so grateful."

(Read full post)

Twitter mailbag: Training-camp surprises

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Monday is a mandatory day off for the New York Jets, so what better time for a mailbag? Here you go:

@RichCimini: I was surprised by the Jason Babin signing, but I don't think that's what you're looking for. Honestly, Oday Aboushi has been a surprise. In minicamp, I thought it was just the Rex Ryan hype machine, pumping him up, but Aboushi has been turning heads in camp. His athleticism is intriguing because he can move and block on the run, allowing them to run more outside zone plays. A few years ago, the Jets were a great outside-zone running team. Willie Colon is a more powerful, straight-up blocker than Aboushi, but he doesn't move as well. I'm curious to see Aboushi in the preseason games. Other surprises: Rookie linebacker Trevor Reilly, linebacker Troy Davis and safety Rontez Miles.

@RichCimini: In a word, yes. And don't forget about Bilal Powell and Daryl Richardson, who has been flying under the radar. The coaches like what he's showing. The Jets finished sixth in total rushing last season, 26 yards per game behind the Philadelphia Eagles. That's a lot of ground to make up, especially with LeSean McCoy down there, but the Jets can challenge if Chris Johnson stays healthy. We know they have a coaching staff whose mindset is to run the ball.

@RichCimini: They feed off Ryan, who obviously is the eternal optimist and isn't shy about expressing his feelings, especially this year. This subject is a slippery slope for reporters. Obviously, our job is to provide interesting content for our readers and viewers, and the fans have a right to know what their favorite players are saying, but it can reach the point of absurdity. And I think we're hovering close to that point right now.

@RichCimini: Quite frankly, none of them have impressed. Quincy Enunwa is injured, so we haven't seen anything out of him. Shaq Evans looks like he has enough speed to be a vertical threat, but he has dropped several passes. Ryan loves Jalen Saunders -- he gets plenty of reps -- but he disappears. Right now, if I had to rank the receivers, I don't think any of the rookies would make the team, based on performance. My top five: Eric Decker, David Nelson, Jeremy Kerley, Jacoby Ford and Stephen Hill.

@RichCimini: Hill is an enigma. Sunday's practice was a classic example. On the first play of team drills, he dropped an easy ball on a crossing route. Later, he ran a 'go' route on Dimitri Patterson, shedding the veteran corner with a downfield burst and hauling in a nice reception from Geno Smith. I think the question the Jets must ask themselves is this: Can Hill be trusted? Right now, I don't think he has earned their trust. I think he has concentration and intensity issues. As for Smith and Decker, yeah, they're already starting to develop a rapport. Smith looks for him a lot, maybe too much. Funny thing about quarterbacks, though: They like to throw to the guy that's open.

@RichCimini: Obviously, he does. He told me he thinks he'll be a top-five quarterback this season or next. Yes, I think he will improve. You can see it in practice: He's more comfortable at the line of scrimmage, doesn't force as many passes and will take off to run if no one is open. He has to be better than last year, right? The question is, how much better? I don't know. We won't know until we see him in game situations. All I know is, if he messes up, it'll be bench time because they won't hesitate to insert Michael Vick. 

Cool Your Jets?

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28


Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith discuss the comments made by Geno Smith, Dee Milliner and Calvin Pace about their confidence in the Jets' upcoming season.