When your team is practicing against each other, it’s hard to celebrate any victories. On every play, there is a winner and a loser and plenty of teaching points to go around. After the Jets defense collected four interceptions during Tuesday’s workout, head coach Todd Bowles gave some insight into his mind.
“One side of the ball is never going to win and me being the head coach, I'll probably never be happy,” he said. “But I saw a lot of progress from a team standpoint, so I'm happy about that.”
Appreciating the effort his players gave in sweltering conditions, Bowles acknowledged the spirited back-and-forth from his offensive and defensive units.
“I know it’s a lot of give and take and the first time as a team,” he said. “The offense wins some and the defense wins some, so that was good to see.”
Veteran safety J.J. Wilcox intercepted a pair of Sam Darnold long balls while fellow safety Terrence Brooks neatly stepped in front of a Teddy Bridgewater pass intended for wideout Tre McBride. Bridgewater, who made an excellent throw to Robby Anderson to get the offense moving in a late-game situation, was also intercepted by cornerback Darryl Roberts on a got to have it fourth down from the 2.
“When you can get takeaways from an offense, you change the momentum of the game You change the outcome and you give yourself a better chance of winning,” said safety Jamal Adams. “Just getting those picks and taking them to the end zone — there’s nothing like that. It flips the field.”
But Bridgewater and Darnold, who received the majority of the reps for the second consecutive day, also had plenty of bright moments. Darnold dialed up a play action long ball to Jonah Trinnaman and was effective in the red area, connecting with TE Chris Herndon for a short score on a slant and later firing to ArDarius Stewart following a designed rollout. Bridgewater had a flawless fade to Anderson for a touchdown.
The catch of the day belonged to Terrelle Pryor. Darnold had Pryor one-on-one with Derrick “Bones” Jones, one of the early standouts in camp, and the rookie passer made the smart move of giving the 6’4”, 228-pounder a chance. Pryor palmed the ball at the top of his jump and brought in for a score.
“Pryor, I think he duplicated the catch I made in fourth grade,” said Bowles with a grin. “But it was a heck of a catch.”
The Jets safety group is loaded with guys who can make plays. Adams and Marcus Maye get the headlines, but Wilcox, Brooks and Doug Middleton all are making their presence felt. Middletown delivered a big pop on Anderson after a short reception and he later recovered a fumble.
“I love it, man. There are a lot of hungry guys willing to work,” Adams said. “We’re working together and as long as do that and keep our heads down, we’ll be fine.”
Rookie running back Trenton Cannon, who is also vying for the return role, makes a couple of plays a workout that makes your head turn. He is fast and his vision has improved over time. The Virginia State product will be one to watch during game action.
“I think he’s grasping the offense, so he's doing less thinking,” Bowles said. “I think he made leaps and bounds from the spring and a week’s progress, so he just has to keep working. I think he’s a hard-working guy, he’s a confident guy and every day he gets better at something. I don’t know if there’s any individual thing to get better at, it’s just his overall game. He just has to prepare himself and he has to show up in the preseason.”
The King of Pop
In preparation of game action, the Jets pumped in music all afternoon. The first song that came over the loudspeakers was “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson.
“We need some crowd noise,” Bowles said. “It's either crowd noise or music, so we took music.”