What we learned on Day 28

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
9:05
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Observations from the sideline:

1. A message for the rookie: The Jets made QB Geno Smith practice on his sprained ankle last week because they wanted to toughen him up, according to QBs coach David Lee. Players have to learn to play hurt, and the coaches apparently felt Smith needed a reminder. Lee noted that Mark Sanchez never uttered a word despite playing with an infected toe nail that prompted the trainers to "dig a hole in his toe big enough to pull a half-dollar out of it." That's a bit on the graphic side, but you get the point. The Jets' strategy with Smith ended up backfiring because he aggravated the injury, but their motivation tells us they see him as a player who must work to earn his teammates' respect. Shouldn't it come naturally?

2. Delay of name: All the big wigs involved in the QB decision -- Rex Ryan, Marty Mornhinweg and Lee -- insisted they're in no rush to name the starter, claiming they're not opposed to extending the competition into the final preseason game. I'm not buying that for a second, but they're hesitant to give a specific timetable because the biggest wig of them all -- GM John Idzik -- has "a pretty big role" in the process, as he told us last month. No one wants to upset Lord Idzik, so they're walking on egg shells.

3. Concern at wide receiver: The Mohamed Massaquoi signing tells me the Jets are freaked out by the injuries at wide receiver. No one knows when Santonio Holmes (foot) will be back, and Braylon Edwards has a leg injury that could sideline him Saturday night -- plus, he's no lock to make the team. It means they could open the season with Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and Clyde Gates at receiver, hardly the big three. The Holmes situation is so predictable. I told you a couple of weeks ago that he'd turn his injury into a federal case and that his diva act would wear thin. His comments Wednesday showed where his head is at.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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