It only seemed as if head coach Todd Bowles ended the first day of the Jets' rookie minicamp today quicker than scheduled.
"We just practiced up-tempo," Bowles said, adding that practice speed will be a drumbeat for many practices as the Jets vets and rookies head toward training camp. "We want tempo. We want to give them less time to think and more time to play and react."
Besides the giddyup at this first practice, conducted in the Atlantic Health Training Center fieldhouse due to the rainy North Jersey weather, Bowles and his staff are also looking for playbook comprehension from the large group of young players (nine draft choices, eight undrafted free agents, nine invited first-year players and 39 tryouts).
"It's just the learning and the teaching," he said, "all those guys getting the information and then transferring it to the field, starting to play faster and faster and cutting down on the mistakes."
Safety DanceSafety is the hot spot at this camp, of course, after Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye were selected with the Jets' first two draft picks. But two of the team's veteran safety names came up during the course of Bowles' news conference.
About Marcus Gilchrist's release, the coach said, "He's injured and he won't be ready for camp. We need the roster spot because we had a lot of guys coming in. So hopefully we'll see how he heals and we'll go from there."
Best Images from the First Practice of 2017 Rookie Minicamp
Then there's Calvin Pryor. Has Bowles spoken with his fourth-year man, a former first-rounder himself, since the draft?
"We've talked football, yeah," he said, adding about the changing safety landscape. "It's competition everywhere. ... If you're afraid of competition, you don't need to be here."
Re-Khiry Robinson?Veteran RB Khiry Robinson was released this offseason after twice reinjuring his broken leg during brief game exposure for the Jets last season. Yet Robinson has been invited back to this minicamp as a tryout.
"We just wanted to see where he was physically," Bowles said. "That's part of playing sports — you can get hurt any time. It just happened to be Khiry. He's had a stroke of bad luck. We're just kicking the tires and seeing where he is."
Corners of a FeatherSixth-round CBs Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones share some similarities. Both were lesser known corners who have some good things going for them as they attempt to become pros.
In Clark's case, it was being coached by former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. "Having a coach who was in the Super Bowl, it just teaches you a lot," Clark said. "It gives you a pro-style aspect of the game while you're still in college. You're like, 'Oh, man, this is what I have to get ready for.' He kind of prepped us for that."
For Jones, it is impressive physicality that, after a nondescript college career split between WR and CB, he put on display at his pro day. His 4.40-second 40 would've been tied for fifth among the corners at the Combine, his 11'0" broad jump would've been second among CBs, and his 41.0" vertical would have been the top mark at his position and fourth among all Combine participants.
"It was a great opportunity for me to show the NFL coaches my athletic ability, my ability run, and definitely my ability to use my hips as a DB because I played wide receiver, too," he said. "I'm pretty sure that was something they wanted to see and I guess that worked out pretty good for me."
Clark and Jones are roommates for this minicamp and have been hitting the playbook together.
From Big Sky to Big AppleOLB Dylan Donahue calls Montana home and attended Palomar JC in Southern California and West Georgia University. He was asked what it's like to drop into the New York metropolitan area for the first time. "It's definitely eye-opening," he said. "I know people from here and they always talk about how crazy all the buildings are. Seeing it for the first time, it's like an ocean of buildings."
And the way folks drive in these parts, he said, was also "a little different." How so?
"All the honking is like a second language," he said. "It's like saying hello in New Jersey."