Rex Report: Is Geno out of shape?
July, 31, 2013
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger created a stir earlier this week by criticizing New York Jets rookie Geno Smith's conditioning, mentioning that the rookie was lagging behind in post-practice wind sprints with his fellow quarterbacks.
Smith dismissed the remarks. So did Jets coach Rex Ryan.
"If we're training for the Olympics or he's going to run the marathon, we might be in trouble," Ryan said Wednesday, laughing. "I haven't seen that in him. He seems fine to me. He looked good when he ran for 80 yards that one play. He looked pretty good."
Said Smith: "That's his opinion. My coaches are the ones who evaluate me and I haven't heard that from them, so I don't have anything to say about that. I'm right there [conditioning-wise]. I'm pretty good with it."
The feeling in the organization is that, while Smith might not be in top "game" condition (hardly alarming at this stage of camp), he's not in bad shape, either. As for trailing Mark Sanchez in the gassers, Sanchez is regarded as one of the most well-conditioned players on the team.
QB talk: In his daily news conference, Ryan was hit with a barrage of Wildcat questions. He acknowledged the plan is to use more Wildcat formation and read-option plays than the team did last season, which isn't saying much because they barely used Tim Tebow in that role. Ryan also tried to downplay Sanchez's shaky performance Wednesday, noting his interception came on a third-and-long play in which he was trying to make something happen. It was coachspeak, because there's no excuse for an interception. Sanchez completed only three of 10 passes, although he was victimized by a drop on a well-thrown deep ball.
"You'd certainly like to see higher numbers than that," Ryan said.
Different kind of mayhem: Ryan shot down any comparisons between OLB Antwan Barnes and Aaron Maybin (remember him?), who fizzled as a situational pass rusher after a promising 2011 performance.
"No, he is a completely different guy," Ryan said of Barnes. "I think he can be more involved in some of our base stuff as well. But Antwan’s a guy certainly that brings some pass rush ability to us."
The ends: Ryan gave an assessment of the tight-end position. He compared Kellen Winslow to former S LaRon Landry from a medical standpoint, noting how Winslow -- he of the chronic knee condition -- is following the same camp regimen as Landry did last summer with his heel issue. In other words, Winslow doesn't practice on consecutive days.
The team's likely starter is Jeff Cumberland. Two years ago, he missed the season due to a torn Achilles' tendon. Interesting comment from Ryan: "I see Cumberland kind of gaining his speed back. I told him, 'You look faster in [No.] 87.' I don't know if that's true or not, but it looked faster to me. When he came in the league, there's a guy that ran a 4.4."
Changing of the guards: Third-round pick Brian Winters played left guard with the starting unit, replacing Stephen Peterman (shoulder). It doesn't sound like Winters is close to unseating the former Lions guard, but it could happen at some point. They have a three-player, two-position rotation at guard with Winters, Peterman and Willie Colon, who has a spot locked up.
"We're rotating all three of those guys though at right guard and left guard, and that's what you want, you want all three of them to learn those spots," Ryan said.