Marquice Cole had one play late in this afternoon's training camp practice that he'd like to have back. But Cole also had three plays that he can take to the bank as he fights for a Jets roster spot.
Cole, the first-year CB out of Northwestern who has yet to play in an NFL game but has spent time on the rosters of the Raiders, Titans and Saints, made his first big play for the second defense during red zone drills. Mark Sanchez's short throw to Britt Davis sailed on him, all the way into Cole's hands at the goal line.
Then Cole erred in trying to get into the groove of the offensive defensive players when he ran upfield, then lateraled backward. Trouble was, no one in green was there. The play seemed to be blown dead, but the player who came up with the ball was center Rob Turner, who lumbered toward the goal line.
The play drew a reaction from DBs coach Dennis Thurman, who came over, gave the "no good" signal and said, "No, we're not doing that in that situation." Or words to that effect.
But Cole had more good plays to unveil. In the twos vs. twos two-minute drill, Sanchez rifled a short third-down pass to David Clowney over the middle, which would've been good for the first down — except that No. 34 dropped the hammer on Clowney's arms, forcing a fumble that DE Ropati Pitoitua picked up. End of drive.
Sanchez got to run the next two-minute drive as well, and on a first-down pass from the plus-37, he tried to find Huey Whittaker on a timing pass. But Whittaker couldn't hold on and Cole appeared to bother him and may have even broken up the pass.
But Sanchez rebounded on the next play with a 31-yard screen pass to Danny Woodhead, who zigged and zagged his way to the 6-yard line, setting up the successful conclusion of the drive. Jay Feely wasn't asked to try the chip-shot field goal, but if he had hit from 24 yards, it would've given the White team a last-second 16-13 victory.
A few other notes from earlier in practice:
Lito Sheppard got on the pick board on the first play of 11-on-11 when Kellen Clemens was trying to hit Chansi Stuckey on a long out-route throw. A few plays later, though, Clemens hit Stuckey, who was open among Sheppard, James Ihedigbo and Donald Strickland.
Sanchez hit Woodhead, who got past Marques Murrell for a wide-open 9-yard scoring pass in 7-on-7 drills. And Erik Ainge zipped a scoring pass to TE Kareem Brown over the middle in the same drills.
Reggie's Big Boot
Reggie Hodges is a really humble guy, so he didn't want to crow to me about his 95-yard punt from the special teams practice of the afternoon before. I asked him if the kick from in front of his end line felt like a near-record kind of kick when he launched it.
"No, not at all," he said. "When you're backed up there, Mike [Westhoff] wants us to get it out across the 50 and give our defense a shot. I'm just trying to flip the field. I had a little lucky breeze and I just happened to kick that one clean, and it just kept sailing."
The Hodges talking point here is not the yardage of one punt on Aug. 1 but the "cleanness" of his kicks so far this summer.
"I definitely feel good hitting the ball," he said. "I dropped a ton of weight, my flexibility's better, and the technique stuff, I'm hitting the ball a lot cleaner than I have."
Hodges and T.J. Conley didn't do as much punting during the teams segment of this afternoon's practice. The most interesting thing about Conley is that he's using the Aussie "drop punt" style for his punts when the line of scrimmage is in plus territory. He got an inside-the-10 punt today, as did Hodges.
Standing Room Only
Well, not quite, but with the rainclouds parting and putting the "sun" back in Sunday, the attendance for this afternoon's practice was 1,301, the best showing of camp. If you're preparing to come to Cortland Stadium on Monday, the revised starting times are 8:50 a.m. for the morning practice and 4:15 p.m. for the afternoon special-teams-only practice.