Drew Coleman made something of a statement at this morning's training camp, again on the new grass field at SUNY Cortland.
"I missed an interception earlier in the two-minute with the second group," Coleman explained, "so when I saw that opportunity, I had to redeem myself."
Redeem, he did. The fourth-year corner with the gentle East Texas drawl dived over the deep middle to pick off Erik Ainge's low, hard throw during a two-minute drill and end the practice.
It was the piéce de resistance of a strong two-minute period for Coleman. Earlier with the second dime defense, he deflected away Mark Sanchez's deep pass toward the left sideline.
Three plays later Coleman tangled feet with WR Britt Davis over the deep middle. The flag was thrown on No. 30 for defensive pass interference.
But Coleman didn't wait to atone there, either, coming back in three more plays to deflect away a Sanchez timing pass for Davis to set up fourth down.
Head coach Rex Ryan lauded his secondary, for its depth in general — "a great group" at safety and "loaded" at corner — and in particular for the play of his starting corners, Darrelle Revis and Lito Sheppard, and backups Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery and Coleman.
"Drew Coleman had a great day today," Ryan said. "He's a talented guy who's got the foot quickness, he's got the speed, all that kind of stuff. And I think his style fits what we do defensively."
Coleman takes the competition he's facing for a roster spot with Ahmad Carroll, Marquice Cole and Rashad Barksdale in stride, with the cool, calm and collected demeanor of, well, a fourth-year veteran.
"You see guys come and go, not just guys that you didn't know but guys that have been here since I've been here. David Barrett, Justin Miller — guys come and go," he said. "I would just listen to them and copy off of their work ethic, knowing that at one time I was there to take their job. They always told me that every year I would have to prove myself.
"This year we have a new coaching staff and I want to prove to them that whatever the rumor is about me that I'm going to play 100 percent and I'm here for the team and the main thing is that it's one goal and I'm here to contribute."
Other contributions made today:
Calvin Pace was one of the leaders of a big defensive day . He had perfect coverage on Thomas Jones in the end zone, deflecting away a Clemens pass, then pushed D'Brickashaw Ferguson back for a "sack" of K.C.
Kerry Rhodes snapped up an interception after Lito Sheppard's tip of a Clemens pass for TE Dustin Keller.
David Harris stopped a shovel pass to Jones for no gain.
The first offense went backward during its two-minute period. Down, 20-14, with 2:01 left and with the ball in minus territory, S Jim Leonhard took Jones down for a loss of 4 and Clemens had three incompletions.
Then Sanchez and the twos got to the plus-19 with the help of the Coleman interference before a false start and no-chance incompletion for Davis ended their drive without points.
In between, there was another scuffle. S James Ihedigbo wrapped up Wallace Wright hard after a reception, they talked, Wright flipped the ball at Dig and the teams converged. It dissipated quickly.
Special teams practice starts at 4:15 this afternoon. We'll have a special blog on changes that Ryan made in Thursday's Green & White scrimmage.
The Injury Bug
Ryan went over his injury list, most of which didn't sound too major:
* DE Shaun Ellis "went out with a little back thing. I don't think it's going to be that big a deal."
* CB Donald Strickland "got kicked in the knee from David Clowney. I don't think he's holding him personally responsible. ... I think Donald's going to be fine."
* S Keith Fitzhugh's left shoulder: "I think that's going to be a while."
* RB Shonn Greene "was really working with Sal [Alosi, head strength coach]."
* FB Tony Richardson (hip pointer) was out on the field but in sweats.
* And last but certainly not least, the coach said NT Kris Jenkins "seems to be getting a little better."