With Braylon Edwards back in the fold and Santonio Holmes still on the mend, you probably aren't going to see too much of Clyde Gates in the headlines. But the 5'11", 197-pound wideout, in his second season with the Jets, had an excellent Day 1 here at camp.
You think about it, you just have to be consistent. Today was a good day," he told me after practice. "You have to come out tomorrow and match and exceed what you did today. I feel like today was great, but you have to come out tomorrow and put it on film tomorrow. It's about consistency. You can't one day be great and the next day just be mediocre."
Slowed by a balky hamstring this spring, Gates showcased his speed and fluid route running Friday at SUNY Cortland. His best catch was a diving grab of a Mark Sanchez heave in a 7-on-7 drill that covered closed to 50 yards for a score.
"It started with the O-linemen. They gave Mark the time and whenever you give Mark time he's unstoppable," Gates said. "I give all the credit to the O-Line and then Mark for making the good pass. It's my job as a receiver to go out and get the ball.
"When the all is in the air, I feel like it's mine. I won't have it any other way."
Both Sanchez and Geno Smith looked sharp Friday as the QB competition got underway in earnest. Gates wants to help both of the Jets' top two signal callers this summer.
"They're both great quarterbacks. I have to make sure I get open for them, do my job and execute it well so it won't be hard on them," he said. "I want to make their job easy and my job easy as well."
The Jets continue to stress competition all over the field. On a few plays, Gates went head-to-head with one of the NFL's top cornerbacks in Antonio Cromartie.
"He's athletic, he's everywhere, he's long, he's fast, he's everything — he's all of the above." Gates said. "Every chance you get to go against Cromartie, you want to win because he's one of the best corners in this league. The competition is through the roof man. It's going to be every day."
Gates, a former fourth-round pick of the Dolphins who caught 16 balls last season with the Jets, has embraced the route running in Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast system.
"It's more flexible. It's not get to this spot or get to this spot," he said. "It's do what you have to do to get open. We can freelance and that's awesome as a receiver. As long as you get to where you need to be and the quarterback knows you need to be, then you're good."
It was just one day of camp, but Gates has some real tremendous skills. Blessed with excellent speed, he can pluck the rock out of the air and explode out of the break. He looks ready to make an impact, but Gates will take it one day at a time.
"I wouldn't say comfortable because you can never get comfortable. There's always something to learn every day. But as far as excitement, I can't even explain it. I'm overly excited. I'm ready, overly excited, I want to come out here every day, put it on film and just have fun."