Fresh off the golf outing Wednesday and today's media availability in the locker room, we've talked to a lot of Jets the past two days. While scouring my files and reviewing my transcripts, I thought it would be best to break out some notes, quotes and observations.
Sanchez's Best Day
Those predraft reports questioning Mark Sanchez's arm strength are laughable. Now this kid isn't Dan Marino, but he's got plenty of zip on the ball and can make every throw.
Case in point: The pigskin was humming to Marcus Henry on a sideline out-route that the receiver grabbed in front of corner Dwight Lowery in 7-on-7 work. The play probably covered 15-20 yards, but that's a tough toss across the field you have to make in the NFL and the USC product delivered a rope.
Then a couple of snaps later, Sanchez got off another spiral that whizzed by defenders downfield and bounced off Wallace Wright's hands. Instead of getting down, Sanchez sought out Wright and said, "We'll get it. We'll get it."
There have been multiple times when Sanchez has found a window when it just didn't look like there wasn't anything available, but this is a process. Later in practice, Sanchez was nearly intercepted on consecutive plays, by a DB who was in better position for the errant ball than the intended Chansi Stuckey, and then by Ahmad Carroll, who almost picked an underthrown ball. Sanchez also overthrew speedster David Clowney on a long heave, but he threw the ball easily 55 yards in the air without a problem.
But he's clearly making progress, improving every day, and he told reporters that this was his best outing yet.
"More completions, balls in the right places, the right reads, seeing the defense, feeling more comfortable, being able to talk about the play fluidly right after instead of asking too many questions and remembering each play at the end of practice," he said when I asked him specifically about today.
"Knowing I missed that third play in 7-on-7 — let's work on that one. OK, what's the read again — let me go through it right. Before I had to wait for Schotty to tell me the different plays. Now I'm starting to remember them after practice, know each situation, exactly what happened. That's important, just getting comfortable. But it was the most completions and I felt good in the two-minute situations."
Woodhead Opening Eyes
Before GM Mike Tannenbaum teed off at Trump National, I asked him if anyone has surprised him or jumped out this spring.
"You take a guy like Danny Woodhead, coming back from his ACL injury. I don't think he lost any of his short-area quickness or his explosiveness," Mr. T. said. "In fact, I think he looks a little bit quicker or more explosive, so we'll see how the summer goes when we put pads on. But I'm looking forward to doing that here in another six or seven weeks."
Tannenbaum also said his group has begun talking about the contracts for Sanchez and RB Shonn Greene. The Jets had a franchise-low three draft picks in 2009 and have already signed sixth-round pick Matt Slauson.
"We've already had some preliminary discussions and based on experience, sometimes they get done real quickly, like Bryan Thomas a couple of years ago [who signed in June 2002] and sometimes it takes a little bit longer," he said. "We have a lot of good people working on it and we'll see how it goes."
No Receiving Concerns
Many pundits look at the Jets as a team in urgent need of a receiver to line up opposite Jerricho Cotchery. But Chansi Stuckey, David Clowney and Brad Smith have all had their moments this spring and Kellen Clemens doesn't buy into the outside theories.
"We have a lot of guys who are very talented. We don't have the big-name guys that are surrounded by all the drama and all the controversy and that stuff, but we have very talented guys who silently make a lot of plays and are very talented receivers," said the veteran QB. "It's not a concern for us. It is a concern for everybody who isn't in the building, but for us we're very confident in the guys that we have."
The NBA: Where Amazing Happens
When the NBA Finals commence Thursday night in Los Angeles, eight to 10 Jets will get together here in the area and take in the matchup on TV.
"I think that's the most important thing in the offseason," said kicker Jay Feely, "fostering that atmosphere where you develop relationships and grow together and bond so when you do have a tough loss come December, there is a foundation to trust each other."
Speaking of Feely, he'll join Seth Everett tonight on the latter's ESPN Radio Show from 7–10 p.m. Feely, a knowledgeable sports junkie, has radio-show-hosting experience from his days down in Atlanta at Star 94 and Miami's WQAM 560.
Vacation time is right around the corner for players and coaches. After next week's minicamp, the Jets won't officially meet as a team until training camp up in Cortland, N.Y.
"I'm definitely going to get away from it," head coach Rex Ryan said. "You really need to, you have to recharge your batteries because your players deserve that. They don't need a tired coach. They need a guy who can't wait to get to work and all the excitement. You have to get away. Our guys are going to get five weeks off and our coaches will get five weeks off."
Ryan admitted he probably won't take the full five weeks, but he is planning a family journey to North Carolina.
"I think I'm going to end up going to the Outer Banks," he said. "I thought about going to Europe, but I think I'm going to do that next year with my in-laws. They'll be married 50 years next year."