After inclement weather forced a delay to the Jets’ first pads practice of training camp, the sun came out Sunday afternoon and the hitting began moments before 4:00 PM. The opening drill was 9-on-7 and both lines exploded off each snap like a pack of crazed dogs.
“Well the Lord blessed the offense with a little bit of rain and we wanted to make sure they had no excuses,” Coples said. “We didn’t want them to say it was slippery or anything, so we came out on the turf at SUNY Cortland and we took action.”
The Jets defensive line could be a handful for the rest of the NFL. Defensive end
“I feel great being part of this defense. There is a whole bunch of talent out there on the field,” Wilkerson said. “We have three first-rounders on the D-line. The whole defense is working hard, trying to make plays out there and having fun.”
“Those guys are extremely athletic,” added Colon. “You have Coples, Big Mo, a lot of those guys that really can move around. The young kid Richardson is showing up each and every day.”
“Coach has emphasized reacting to the pass and playing the run first,” Coples said. “It was a successful day, but we have to continue to get better.”
“It’s nothing new for me. It’s controlled chaos,” said Colon. “It looks like chaos, but once we get on the same page and we start getting our chemistry today and getting our communication together — it’s another day at the park.”
But Sunday afternoon didn’t have a friendly park atmosphere. Wilkerson, who told me Saturday night that he was eager to get the hitting underway, delivered a passionate speech to the defense before the first team snap.
“We had the pads on, so we could do a little more,” he said. “You had the shells on the past couple of days, so there really wasn’t that much physical-ness. But today we got everything going.”
It was real football for the first time in training camp. Hitting and trash-talking were music to everyone’s ears.
“My emotions can get the best of me,” Colon admitted. “I try to think I’ve matured in that aspect, but I like to stand up for me and my guys so sometimes I can get a little mouthy.”
“It felt great,” Mo said. “We got out here, got the pads thumping in the trenches and got after the offense.”