For the second consecutive practice, the Jets' starting offense got a jolt, but this time it came from an unlikely source.
Wayne Hunter, lining up at tight end, caught a pass from Kellen Clemens for 20 yards and his offensive teammates erupted.
Before the play was run, ILB Bart Scott shouted out, "This looks like a crack toss." But then Hunter, the 6'5", 303-pound backup tackle, exploded off the line and pushed Scott backward. After the initial shove, Hunter kept on running downfield and made a nice stretch to grab the toss from Clemens.
Hunter, a theatrical performer, acted like he was tired before returning to the huddle. The SUNY Cortland crowd, estimated at over 2,500, applauded loudly for the new offensive weapon.
It appears the Jets have another option at tight end.
"We were working the big guy, Wayne Hunter, at tight end some today," said head coach Rex Ryan at his news conference before the second session. "That was fun to watch him run down the field a few times. I think we're going to put him in there and run some crack sweep with him coming in motion. We'll probably save that for an opponent. But it does open up some possibilities, just the flexibility."
The afternoon practice was less physical than the morning as players didn't wear pads, only spiders and shorts. Clemens led the ones in the Jets' second practice out and Sanchez went back to working with the twos.
"I think we'll rotate. Like I said, this afternoon Kellen will be with the ones and Sanchez will be back with the twos," Ryan said. "For the competition, they've both earned that right to compete. They're both going to get snaps with the ones. Again, like we've said the whole time, we'll make that decision to start whoever gives us the best chance to win."
After Hunter's catch, Clemens continued to throw the ball well in 7-on-7 drills. His best pass was a rope to Jerricho Cotchery for 17 yards. He also completed short passes to Leon Washington and Wallace Wright for short gainers.
Sanchez attempted to go long to Britt Davis, but the rookie wideout was unable to find the ball in the air and haul it in. The Southern Cal product also hit TE Jack Simmons over the middle for 25 yards during team action. Sanchez was the story early Saturday, impressing onlookers with his command of the first string offense.
"He's starting to really get the offense down. He's confident, he's always been confident. He's moving around," said Ryan. "He's not moving around like a deer in the headlights like most rookies have when they see all the stuff that our defense is throwing at them. I think he is confident in his offensive line and the receivers we have, so now it is just a matter of getting the system down. I think, if anything, he is taking a big step forward that way."
Following the Jets' first off day of this '09 camp Friday, Ryan reflected on how happy he is that the players are coming together as a team.
"One of my goals coming out here was that we get a team that finds out about each other and that becomes a close football team that really cares about each other. I thought it was interesting that someone asked Robert Turner if he was going to NASCAR. He said, 'No, I'm hanging out with Batman [Ahmad Carroll] today.' A little bit of an odd couple there, but that's just it. These guys are starting to understand what we want and that's really neat."
The Jets were on the field for an hour and 40 minutes this afternoon after a long morning practice. All of the practices have had high intensity and Ryan likes this group's effort.
"The great thing is that we are really competing well with each other. Sometimes the defense is ahead, then our offense, and vice-versa," he said. "Each day is a little different. Competition is going to make both sides better."
More Afternoon Notes
Darrelle Revis was kept out of most of the late session because of a tight hamstring and he sat on the sideline as a precautionary measure. As a result, rookie Marquice Cole got valuable playing time with the ones in his absence.
With the third offense, Erik Ainge dumped a screen to Danny Woodhead and the running back raced 25-plus yards for a would-be TD.
The first offense also flirted with the Wildcat for a few plays.
On one play, Clemens had no time to even begin to look at his reads as Calvin Pace got inside quickly for a would-be sack.
WR Aundrae Allison, who joined the Jets Thursday, is a burner. "He can flat out run," Ryan said.
Today's afternoon practice attendance numbers was 2,538 after 1,342 attended this morning's workout.
FB Tony Richardson is in Canton, Ohio, tonight at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony. T-Rich played with the late Derrick Thomas in Kansas City from 1995-99. ... NT Kris Jenkins (calf) continues to work with strength coach Sal Alosi when the Green & White practice. ... S Keith Fitzhugh (shoulder) returned to the field but was wearing a red jersey because he's not yet cleared for contact.