One thing on tight end Jack Simmons' daily training camp to-do list comes every night, after Jets position meetings conclude. That's when his dad, Terry Simmons calls him from his home in the northwest Chicago suburbs.
"He doesn't want to be overbearing. He knows we have a tight schedule," Jack said. "So he calls every night after 10 p.m. We talk for 10 minutes and he asks me how things are going."
Terry Simmons is not just a pigskin pop, though. Like his son, he also played tight end (and punter) at the University of Minnesota, from 1977-80, and participated briefly in Detroit Lions camp as an undrafted rookie until he blew out his knee.
"He said just go in there and have fun. You can't really get too high or too low," Jack recalled Dad's advice to him before he left with the Jets for their SUNY Cortland camp. "That's kind of my approach. You've got to let the good plays go and the bad plays."
Jack Simmons also took something else from his father — spitting in the face of long odds. Simmons, whom the Jets signed after he impressed head coach Rex Ryan as a tryout at rookie minicamp, continued to produce some more good plays at this morning's full-squad practice.
In 7-on-7 drills, Mark Sanchez and Simmons collaborated on a strong throw-and-catch, at the end of which Simmons hit the deck. Sanchez ran down field to congratulate his TE, but Simmons, not seeing the rookie QB in his rear-view mirror, bounced up and also kept running toward the goal line. Finally Sanchez gave a dismissive hand gesture, all in fun, and headed back to the huddle.
"I didn't know he was running after me," Simmons said. "Get up and finish — that's a big thing about what we do. Coach [Brian] Schottenheimer is always preaching that, and Coach [Mike] Devlin. It's important. You never know when a play's over, so you want to get up and keep going."
Then late in practice during end-of-game scenarios, Sanchez found Simmons again, this time for a "last-second" 10-yard TD.
"We were just practicing the different situations, scramble rules and all that stuff," Simmons said, "and it kind of broke open right at the beginning of the play. Mark threw a great ball and luckily I came down with it."
Simmons has shown well so far, but he knows nothing's in the bag yet.
"I had the understanding coming in that it was going to be really an uphill battle for me," he said. "I'm excited with the progress I've made, but by no means does that mean I have a roster spot yet. I'm still looking at it the same way I did on day one at the minicamp."
Other Morning Highlights
Ryan is really impressed with the "competitive" nature of the 9-on-9 running drills. One thing noticed during the second offense vs. the twos on defense: DT Howard Green, DE Ropati Pitoitua and S James Ihedigbo are active with tackles at or behind the line.
It's Kellen Clemens' turn to QB the first offense this morning. One of his first plays on 11-on-11 drills is a bootleg "sack" when Bart Scott comes in unblocked.
But on the very next play, KC finds Chansi Stuckey, singled by CB Dwight Lowery, with a strong throw. Stuckey adds a few more excellent catches. As has been said before, when the ball goes to Chansi, it usually stays stuck.
Besides finding Simmons, Sanchez also has a beautiful 40-yard "TD" hookup with Marcus Henry just over the goal line in 9-on-9 pass drills.
Marquice Cole has two nice plays in two-minute and end-of-game drills. First the CB picks off Erik Ainge on an out route. Then Cole dives to break up a comeback pass from Sanchez to Huey Whittaker. Cole, shaken up, is helped to his feet by Whittaker. Then the voice of DBs coach Dennis Thurman is heard: "You don't have time to be hurt." Cole jogs back to the defensive huddle.
The Walking Wounded
Ryan went down the list of his nicked-up players at his news conference.
Darrelle Revis (hamstring) "did do individual, but we held him out of group stuff."
Nick Mangold (knee) is "a little sore today but that's understandable. He's probably day-to-day."
Donald Strickland (knee) "tries to get out there but he couldn't go. ... It's just that bruise on the knee so he should be ready to roll soon."
Kris Jenkins (calf) "is still progressing. I know it's killing him. He wants to get out there."
Shaun Ellis "is a little tight in his low back, hip or something like that. I don't anticipate that being a big deal."
Damien Woody "just got knocked in the head pretty good. I don't know if it's a concussion or not, but you'd rather be safe than sorry."
Tony Richardson (hip): "I'm not sure what his injury status is now. He seems to be doing better."
Depth Chart Alert
As you know, we can't post the Jets depth chart on newyorkjets.comuntil we get clearance from the powers-that-be, which in this case is Rex Ryan himself. But the depth chart for the St. Louis preseason opener has been approved and is now up on our site. You can find the Jets' depth chart here.