END OF OTAs: The last week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) were highlighted by open practices on June 13th and June 14th at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey. Fans were treated to two days of players walking through plays they plan to run during the regular season. An unexpected and extra special treat at the end of a practice was watching Tim Tebow taking two snaps with the first-team offense.
In order to defuse any speculation or “QB controversy” chatter, Head Coach Rex Ryan told the media during his presser that Tebow would see a few snaps with the first team.
Sure enough, during some goal line snaps, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano told Tebow to get in there for the last two plays. Afterwards Tebow explained, “I think it’s just a feel thing… (Sparano) threw me in there the last two plays and I tried to make the best of them.” Tebow threw one ball outta the back of the end zone and the team didn’t punch it in, but it was good to see him out there with the first team because I believe two quarterbacks can actually work together.
It would have been nice to see more of starting wide receivers Santonio Holmes and rookie Stephen Hill, but both were slowed by their hamstrings. Mark Sanchez, often questioned about his leadership abilities, had this to say on the subject, “we’ve got to get them on the field… we’ve got to push each other to get healthy and stay healthy… we really need those guys out on the field, because it’s an explosive group.” Sounds like a leader to me.
The Revis-lead defense we’ve come to know under Coach Ryan may have a different look to it come this season. During OTAs, the defense has practiced more 4-3 looks and less of Ryan’s traditional 3-4 base defense. The Jets have been successful playing a defense with three down linemen, solid coverage and keeping everything in front of the safeties. With weapons like Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie manning the corners and linebackers patrolling the middle, the Jets have been successful keeping big plays to a minimum. One drawback to a three-man line is a lack of pressure on the quarterback. The only way the Jets were getting to opposing QBs were exotic blitzes and the occasional linebacker. With the talent the Jets have on the defensive line (Coples, Wilkerson, Pouha, DeVito, Dixon, Ellis, Pace, etc.) it just makes sense to get as many of these pass-rushers and playmakers on the field as possible. Don’t be surprised to see the Jets start a play lining up in a three-down look, then a linebacker like Aaron Maybin or David Harris stepping up to the line and putting his hand in the dirt, adding a forth all-out rusher to the play. I don’t know which I’m more excited to see: the new dual quarterback and ground & pound offense, or the defense putting heat on opposing quarterbacks on all downs! It was great to get a preview of the team to come in 2012, but other than those participating in Sanchez’s Jets West Camp, players will be on their own until they report to training camp on July 26th. Sounding a lot like that leader we’re all looking for in our starting quarterback, Sanchez said this about the upcoming layoff, “just because you’re on a break from the building doesn’t mean you’re not in your playbook… you’ll see who studied when we come back, and nobody wants to be the guy who doesn’t know what to do.”
HOLDING PATTERN: Darrelle Revis took part in OTAs, but has not been definitive as to whether he’ll show up for the first day of training camp… actually he’s been anything but. With the last contract Revis signed, both sides got what they wanted… time! My opinion is the Jets structured the contract with big dollars the first two years and a declining pay scale in the last two figuring Revis couldn’t possibly continue dominating the league as a corner in years three and four of the deal. They banked on his skill naturally declining. If all went as the Jets’ hoped, they would have paid Revis well for his excellent play in the first two years, and still have him earning a very respectable salary even though his best years were behind him. Revis, on the other hand, was going to play, play well, and when the time came and his contract wasn’t up to the level of his play on the field… he would simply hold out again. All of this is conjecture and we won’t know anything for certain until July 26th rolls around. Will he, or won’t he report on the first day of training camp? Let’s wait and see!
NEWS & NOTES: This past Father’s Day, Tim Tebow spoke to a group of around 26,000 fans and supporters at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The childless quarterback spoke about parenthood among other topics that left the crowd as always, wanting for more. In other news, Ladainian Tomlinson signed a one-day contract with the San Diego Chargers and announced his retirement from the National Football League. The 2006 MVP and four-time All Pro leaves the game as the fifth all-time leading rusher in league history & will take his eleven-season resume straight to Canton upon eligibility.
Follow & contact Joseph Haas on twitter @jerseyhaas