Miller lays out RB Ahman Green
Leon Washington walked into the locker room today with a pair of Clemson Tiger shorts on and Justin Miller followed soon after decked in a green Jets sweatsuit. A gentlemen's wager was made between the teammates prior to Monday night's ACC tilt between Clemson and Florida State. The Tigers held on late for the win and Washington, who starred at FSU, is paying the price.
"We just had a friendly bet. If Florida State won, I would have had to wear Florida State gear. If Clemson won, he had to wear Clemson gear," said a smiling Miller, whose 13 interceptions at Clemson rank third in school history. "So it's all good fun and games. It's for the whole week."
Miller is back practicing with the Jets after missing most of August with a thigh injury. The third-year corner, who made the Pro Bowl last season as a kickoff returner, had opened eyes early in camp with his play on the outside.
"He's been very physical at the line of scrimmage. He's a naturally strong guy," said head coach Eric Mangini of the 5'10", 196-pound DB. "When he gets his hands on people, it makes it hard to get off the line of scrimmage. He's got that awareness now of how much he can obstruct the routes. He's doing a good job of incorporating that as part of his toolbox and things that he's doing in coverage."
And then Miller went down during the Green & White scrimmage at Fordham University and the pause button was pressed on his progress. But now he's made a return to the field.
"It's always excited to get back and play with these guys. I enjoy playing with them," he said. "You just come out here and get better and play as a unit. These guys are really fun to be around."
On Wednesday's and today's injury reports, Miller was said to have "limited participation" in practice. And with Andre Dyson still battling a foot injury, the Jets may start David Barrett and Darrelle Revis at corner against the Patriots.
Miller, who has started 12 games in his career, could be a welcomed physical presence in the secondary as they try to contain Randy Moss, Donté Stallworth and Wes Welker. He has the ability to press at the line and take valuable time away from QB Tom Brady.
"If you can't press, it's going to make it difficult," Miller said. "It's mostly about giving them something different each time. You don't want to give them the same look. We just want to go out there and play and be successful."
Having already established himself as a return man, Miller has displayed an eagerness take the next step as a corner. The Jets were encouraged by what they saw early in camp and his progress bears watching this fall.
"I kind of rededicated myself to be the player I know I can be, each day studying and having a better understanding of the game," he said. "If you think of each day as an opportunity to get better, I think that's all you can do is get better as a player and as a team."
If he maintains that attitude, you can bet Miller will become a difference-maker on the defensive side of the ball.