The Jets held a closed light morning practice at SUNY Cortland this morning, and now the focus shifts to the Green & White Scrimmage, which is set to begin at 6 p.m. today.
"The Green and White game, I think, is a good chance for everybody to get a little evaluation of where they're at," said QB Kellen Clemens, who has taken the majority of first-team reps on offense. "For me it's all about completions and making good decisions for us in the pass game and the run game. With the defense of the quality ours is, that's going to get the ball back for us, it's our job to have some sustained drives. We'll be able to run the football, which is good, convert third downs when we have to, and then just keep the chains moving."
After a week of training camp, the QB race remains close and tonight's scrimmage will be the next step in the evaluation process. Rookie Mark Sanchez, who has worked mostly with the second unit, sees this as an early test after many hours of preparation.
"In practice every day, you work on specific situations. Today it was short yardage and goal line, sometimes it's four-minute offense, two-minute offense," Sanchez said Tuesday. "And now in that scrimmage, any of those situations can pop up at any time, so it's time to put all that practice into play, know what situation it is, and show that by the way you play."
Head coach Rex Ryan says he has a hungry football team and that should be on display this evening as the session will feature the first, second and third offensive units taking turns challenging the first, second and third defensive units. The drives, featuring live tackling, are scheduled to last until they're complete (no kicking) and you know this new Ryan/Mike Pettine-led defense will want to set a tone early.
"We still have a long way to go and I think we have plenty of time to pretty much get it," said ILB Bart Scott of the D. "But I think we're taking strides. Like with anything, you have to make the mistakes. That's what practice is all about. You make the mistakes, and you go back and talk about it."
Both sides will continue to benefit from the multiple looks they're facing. The defense is famous for its pressure packages and then showing pressure and backing off while offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has returned to his core philosophy of multiple personnel groupings, shifts and motions.
"The good thing is our offense is very unpredictable, so it forces us to communicate and to really know our checks and to really move on the fly," Scott said.
It's been an interesting week as tempers have risen on occasion and the Jets' secondary has starred with CB Darrelle Revis and S Jim Leonhard committing a number of robberies. In addition to the all-important QB battle, other storylines to watch include the development of OLB Vernon Gholston, Chansi Stuckey's early lead at the No. 2 receiver spot, the question of TE behind Dustin Keller, depth at the line positions, and the emergence of some youngsters like S James Ihedigbo and rookie ILB Jamaal Westerman.
On the injury front, it is expected that NT Kris Jenkins (calf), FB Tony Richardson (hip pointer), RB Shonn Greene (ankle) and S Keith Fitzhugh (shoulder) won't see action. So DTs Sione Pouha and Howard Green, FB Jehuu Caulcrick and RB Danny Woohead should beneift with more reps. DE Mike DeVito could also spell Shaun Ellis (back) up front.
We'll have live audio of tonight's scrimmage on newyorkjets.comat 5:50 p.m. as Bob Wischusen, the voice of the Jets, and Marty Lyons, a longtime fixture in the booth, will call the game from the SUNY Cortland pressbox. For much of the action, we'll go to a four-man broadcast as Randy Lange and myself weight in with our observations.
Our site is the only place you'll find the game tonight and we'll also provide a re-broadcast all day tomorrow, when the Jets will get their first day off at camp under Ryan.