Rex Ryan had some definitive thoughts on giveaways inside the opponents' 20, a few of which he saw during this morning's return-to-work training camp practice.
"It's almost like a turnover in the red zone is worth twice as much as a turnover anywhere else," the Jets head coach told reporters at his news conference. "You're right there on offense, knocking on the door, and you don't come away with any points. I've seen too many of them. It does kill you. It's more than just an interception or a fumble. No, it's bigger than that."
Nick Bellore doesn't mind hearing that, since the inside linebacker might be inclined to count his red zone interception of rookie QB Geno Smith this morning as two picks.
"It's always nice when you can make a play down there in that short space," said Bellore, sporting a cut lip from a collision during that red zone period. "You've got to kind of put it behind you, but it's always nice to get those. Of course, I would've liked to take it 100 yards for a score."
We already know Nick Bellore can come through in several roles. Since arriving as an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan in '11, he's been an accomplished special teams leader and tackler and even took his first career reception 23 yards on a fake punt last season.
But this summer he's seeking to expand his defensive portfolio. Last season he was in on 336 special teams plays, second-most on the Jets behind Demario Davis, but played defense for only five plays, all in Game 6 against Indianapolis.
"It's a process every day," Bellore said. "I really need to be ready to step in at any number of positions. I want to be ready for when my name is called to get a shot to do it, and the key to that is just staying on top of all the players, whether it's Mike or Will or dime, whatever, because guys get injured, it's kind of the nature of the game."
If Bellore keeps coming up with two interceptions at a time, at least as far as his head coach scores them in the red zone, he's a snap to start getting more defensive playing time.
Ryan wasn't happy with the practice, faulting not just the RZ turnovers but also three offensive penalties and the defense's downturn in intensity. "I thought the focus wasn't there, the attention to detail," Rex said. "I was not happy with the practice."
One exception was QB Mark Sanchez, whom Ryan lauded and who my partner Eric Allen said, had "maybe his best practice of camp." The one highlight was a drive to the plus-6 during 11-on-11 work, producing a Sanchez TD toss to RB Bilal Powell.
There were some comments about a Sanchez red zone overthrow that bounced off the railing past the end line and off a golfcart on the other side. But that was a positive, not a negative. He didn't take the sack, didn't throw the pick, threw the ball "into the stands" and wasn't flagged. And the drive continued.
Powell, whom Sanchez called "probably one of the most underrated players in the league," won't be that anymore if he continues to pile up practices and games like the Green & White Scrimmage and today's work, which also included a 20-yard dash to set up his TD catch. ... CB Dee Milliner stepped away from the practice briefly to get his fingers taped.
Rookie G Brian Winters was back in uniform and practicing after spraining his ankle and leaving the scrimmage early on Saturday. ... TE Kellen Winslow stayed out of practice again but Ryan said it was the trainers' recommendation and not new-injury-related. Rex: "Just like we did with LaRon Landry last year, we'll lean on the experts. It's about getting these guys healthy and ready to go for 16 games." ... Today's attendance at SUNY Cortland: 811.