Jets Training Camp Notebook: Geno Shines and Milliner Signs

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-Cortland, N.Y.

July 28, 2011

The first practice in pads occurred in a driving rain. There’s nothing like the sound of helmets and pads cracking early in the morning! Especially when Mother Nature came in pads as well.

The announcement came on over the PA: practice suspended at 10:24 due to sever weather.

The fields have been in amazing condition, but it was really coming down. We’ll see what the Jets decide to do. When the monsoon hit, Jets Camp players, team, coaches and fans evacuated. There is no indoor practice facility here in Cortland.

Practice started back up at 3:30.

Dee Milliner Signs Contract:

The Jets announced on Sunday night that they signed cornerback Dee Milliner to a contract. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Dee Milliner’s deal with Jets is for 4 years, $12.66M, fully guaranteed with offset language. SB $7.588M, payable $5.0M.

Milliner, who played college football at Alabama, is excited about replacing Darrelle Revis. Antonio Cromartie and Milliner are a good combo together at cornerback, as Cromartie is stepping up as the leader of the defense and could help to mentor Milliner.

Milliner underwent shoulder surgery in March to repair a torn labrum and he missed the entire offseason program. So the question is will he be cleared for immediate action? I expect Milliner to get on the field soon and become the clear starter for week one. The Jets have about 5 weeks to make it happen.

Offense Linemen:

Offense Linemen/Defense Linemen Drills:

Rookie Brian Winters showed his strength by one-punching a rusher to the ground. Center Nick Mangold showed some excellent ability to slow Muhammed Wilkerson, even after a shotgun snap. Mangold looks like he is in midseason form.

Running Backs:

They opened practice with a 9-on-9 drill, a run-only session. The Jets started their first padded practice with a running drill. Joe McKnight starting out with the ones, and Ivory’s not practicing. Bilal Powell got verbal props from Rex for his blitz pickup.

The coaching staff is high on running back John Griffin. Griffin has excellent ability to change direction, and he cuts extremely well.

According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, OC Marty Mornhinweg said in his presser that he likes what he has seen from John Griffin. According to Mornhinweg, Griffin is an “NFL caliber running back” but that he needs to work on his consistency.

Wide Receivers:

Clyde Gates is really turning heads and I can’t wait to see what he does during the first preseason game. Gates shook up Darrin Walls with a stutter-step comeback, which is just one example of how much he’s improved his route running.

Stephan Hill had a nice leaping catch from Geno Smith down the right sideline. Smith and Hill seem to be benefiting from their work in Florida.

Quarterback Battle:

Geno Smith showcased that big arm, hitting Stephen Hill for 50+yards pass. Hill beat Darrin Walls, and the defense is getting a lot pressure on him. Smith is practicing against a really good defense.

At quarterback, his athleticism gives the Jets a different dimension to the offense. He certainly showed it on a few running plays.

Smith got his chance to work with the starters, and he started barking back at the defense. The offense looked fired up. Smith was really impressive again, but this time against the ones. He took advantage of his reps.

Smith Practice Highlights:

Smith hit Hazelton on a comeback, who beat Cromartie. Hazelton looks quite competent considering his mini-camp performance.

Smith threw over top of the secondary for a 25-yard reception to tight end Jeff Cumberland. Rex gave Cumberland a high-five following the play.

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Smith was pressured on the next play, but Powell had nice blitz pickup. Smith stepped up and delivered a strike to Hill on a 20-yard in route. It was great pass protection on a deep completion from Smith to Hill across the middle.

He was throwing bombs down the field after that. This practice was Smith’s turn to work with the first offense, and while that unit was on fire in its first day of full-pads contact, Smith seemed comfortable moving around in the pocket, avoiding the multiple pressures, and finding some of his receivers down-field.

The buzz around Smith is something we haven’t had as a fan base since Revis’ rookie season..

The kid can definitely play.

Mark Sanchez:

Mark Sanchez took his turn with the second-stringers and went 5-for-7 passing to Smith’s 4-for-6. Sanchez was consistent, but it was nothing to write home about. Sanchez’s best throw was a deep out to rookie Ryan Spadola. He may have realized that it’s harder working with the twos, and as Smith emerges, Sanchez might have to get use to it.

Chris Simms:

Chris Simms had a nice play in practice. He threw a pass to Bilal Powell down the line, who took it deep. Powell showed nice acceleration after catching a short pass from him.

Final QB stats at practice:

Smith 4-for-6, a sack, a nice long pass to Hill.

Sanchez: 5-for-7, a sack.

Defense:

Dawan Landry wants to hit everything and everyone. It looks like the Landry family lives off their physical style of play.

Linebacker Antwan Barnes says he signed with the Jets because of the defensive Line. Barnes thinks that when he rushes off the edge, the defensive line is going help free him up. This could finally be the year the Jets have a formidable pass rush.

Players not in pads:

Running Back Chris Ivory warmed up but did not practice. He is expected to return as soon as Monday.

Tight End Kellen Winslow has chronic knee problems, and was spotted afterward with a heavy wrap on his knee. It was most likely used as a precautionary.

Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards:

Rex has said Jets will have him on a pitch count.

 

Staff Writer

Follow me on twitter@ROBBYJERZEE for more New York Jets news.

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