Jets wake-up call: Day 3

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The New York Jets are on the field at 10 a.m. ET Saturday for their first practice in pads. The first two days were in "shells," as were the offseason practices and minicamp. Finally, we get to see some real football -- or, at least, close to the real thing.

A few things to watch for:

No Pryor restraint: The Jets drafted safety Calvin Pryor in the first round to be an "enforcer" (Rex Ryan's word) in the secondary. With the pads on, he should be able to display the physical style that prompted the nickname "Louisville Slugger" in college. Of course, he has to be careful, because the last thing the Jets need is Pryor taking out one of their receivers. Play nice, gents, you're all on the same team.

Goal-line stand: The first day of pads could mean a live, goal-line drill -- always a highlight of camp. I've seen a few in my day, but one of the most memorable occurred in 2009, in Cortland, when big Kris Jenkins dominated the drill at defensive tackle. That was something to behold.

Eye on the QBs: General manager John Idzik, trying to downplay the perception that Geno Smith is the presumed starter because he received 75 percent of the first-team reps in the first two practices, said the rep distribution will fluctuate throughout camp. We'll be counting, to be sure. It'll also be interesting to see if Smith can make it through practice without a turnover. He threw an interception Friday, and the last thing you want to see is him going consecutive days with interceptions.

Green team: None of the rookie wide receivers has really jumped out. In fact, one of them -- Quincy Enunwa (hip) -- already is injured.

Jets Camp Report: Day 2

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A review of Friday's developments at New York Jets training camp:
  1. Babin makes debut: Two days after agreeing to terms, veteran pass-rusher Jason Babin found his way to training camp and participated in his first practice, providing a glimpse of how he might help the defense. Working primarily with the second team, Babin moved around, playing left and right end, standing up in a two-point stance and even dropping into coverage. Officially, he's listed as a linebacker, but we all know he'll be a situational pass-rusher. His versatility makes him a nice fit in coach Rex Ryan's defense. Ryan called Babin a "proven commodity," saying he never would've been available if he had been a few years younger. Ryan, no doubt, recalls how Babin abused right tackle Wayne Hunter in 2011, when the Jets were embarrassed by the Philadelphia Eagles.

  2. Two-dreaded monster: Encouraging news in the backfield: Chris Johnson, who is seven months removed from knee surgery, practiced for the second straight day. That might not sound like much, but there was talk before camp about him being on a modified practice schedule. That still could happen; it'll be interesting to see if he takes a rest Saturday, the first day in pads. Chris Ivory, who tweaked a hamstring during an offseason workout (sound familiar?), made it through practice without any complications one day after sitting out with his cranky hammy. With Johnson and Ivory, it's all about staying healthy.

  3. Special K: Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, whose importance was highlighted last season when the Jets went 0-4 without him, is off to a fast start in camp. On Friday, he led all pass-catchers with three receptions, including a long touchdown. He took a short pass from Geno Smith, found a seam in the defense and raced up for the sideline. Kerley tends to get overlooked when pundits discuss the wide receiver situation, but the dude can play. It was the play of the day. Later, Smith tainted an otherwise solid day by the offense by throwing an interception, his first turnover in camp.

  4. GM speak: John Idzik, addressing reporters in one of his periodic state-of-the-team chats, was bombarded with questions about the pseudo- quarterback competition. He refused to give any edge between Smith and Michael Vick, even though it's obvious to everyone in Cortland that Smith is the presumed starter. Even the customers at the iconic Doug Fish Fry know it's Smith's job to lose. Nevertheless, Idzik insisted, "I don't think it's tilted at all." He probably thinks the Tower of Pisa is straight.

  5. Q's time to shine: This is a huge season for linebacker Quinton Coples, who jumped out early in practice by blowing past the right tackle and sacking Smith. Later, Ryan defended Coples to a certain degree, disagreeing with Joe Klecko's harsh assessment of the former No. 1 pick. In the offseason, the Jets legend said in a radio interview that Coples "looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane." Ryan noted that Coples recorded a team-high 50 quarterback hits last season. That's fine, but he had only 4.5 sacks. He has to be better than that.

  6. Should Wilkerson get "Mo" money? Ryan was uncomfortable when asked if defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson deserves a contract extension. He called Wilkerson an "ascending player," but he didn't go full gush, as he used to do with Darrelle Revis. Wilkerson told the New York Daily News that he feels underpaid ($1.2 million this season), but he said he won't squawk about wanting a new deal. Here's the bottom line: Yes, he's underpaid, but he's signed through 2015. There's no sense of urgency to lock him up. If they do it now, they would set a precedent that could come back to bite them in 2016, when Sheldon Richardson is in the same boat.

Jason Babin's tardiness explained

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Jason Babin arrived a day after signing his contract and a day after agreeing to terms. So, why the delay?

"It was probably more my fault in signing," Babin said. "I had to clean up some things back home."

New York Jets general manager John Idzik suggested that both sides needed more time to get comfortable with the move.

"We just wanted to make sure it was right from both ends, to bring Jason in, get a nice full day so he can gain a feel for us our staff, our approach, and talk it through for a day," Idzik said. "And sometimes it's good for the player to go home, stew on it, talk to his family back in Jacksonville, and then if it's a fit then you go forward and that's what happened."

Once Babin was on the field, he said things looked more familiar even if the terminology was different. The defensive end worked mostly with the second team, although he had a few snaps with the first team, and was tried out on both sides of the line.

"I think the first things that jumps out about Babin is the production he has as a pass-rusher," Ryan said. "[He] has a relentless motor, so that part of it we're excited about. The way he’ll fit in with the guys we already have is going to give us great depth. We brought him in to play."

Stephen Hill has strong words for fans

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
5:42
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Stephen Hill can hear you.

That's the message the third-year wide receiver sent to fans in the stands, who apparently said Hill shouldn't even be on the field as the New York Jets start training camp at SUNY Cortland.

"Take me out of the game?" Hill yelled back to the stands as he ran out for a play. "You act like I didn't hear that s---."

A few plays later, Hill caught a pass from Michael Vick and got a smattering of cheers.

Hill is fighting for a roster spot after two less-than-stellar seasons with the Jets. He may be best known for a costly drop against the New England Patriots in his rookie year, as well as knee issues that have landed him on the injured reserve list in both of his NFL seasons.

Still, Hill is 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, which makes him an end zone threat. That said, there are a lot of good receivers on the Jets' roster, and they don't need to keep Hill if there are other options.

Is he feeling the pressure?

If his reaction during practice is any indication, he certainly is.

New York Jets training camp photos: Day 2

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
5:20
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Here are some photo highlights from Friday's practice at New York Jets training camp at SUNY Cortland.

Eric DeckerAP Photo Wide receiver Eric Decker connects with a pass.
Chris JohnsonAP PhotoRunning back Chris Johnson runs a gauntlet of coaches bearing pads.
Jalen SaundersAP PhotoWide receiver Jalen Saunders gobbles up a pass.


Jets refuse to 'bow down' to Patriots

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
5:10
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The New York Jets don't play the New England Patriots for 83 days, but it's really an every day thing for the Jets. It's every day, every year, trying to get better with the hope of taking down the big bully of the AFC East.

Their attitude this season? Bring it on.

"They've won their Super Bowls, they've earned their stripes and they're respected, but we're not going to bow down to them," guard Willie Colon told ESPN.com Friday. "We're not going to feel insecure in any type of way about what they have."

The Jets split with the Patriots last season, but they finished four games behind in the standings -- a rather large gulf between the two longtime rivals. The Jets say it every year, how they're aiming for Tom Brady & Co., only to fall short in the end. The Patriots have won 10 of the last 11 division titles, including five straight since Rex Ryan became the Jets' coach.

But once again, the Jets are confident. They have to be.

"It's not enough to split with them," said linebacker Calvin Pace, another veteran leader who'd give anything to end the dominance. "We've got to find a way to beat 'em twice. I think everybody understands, if you want to go far, you have to go through New England. I'd love to sugar-coat it, but it is what it is."

Asked if this is the year, Pace smiled.

"I hope so," he said. "It's up to us. They're going to be who they are. For as long as I've been in the league, the Patriots are going to be the Patriots. They're not going to change for anybody. We have to change. Every year I've been here, there have been so many highs and lows. I don't know why we can't be one way, either be good or be bad. I'm hoping this is the year we can start fast and keep it going for the whole year."

Ryan
In a recent interview with the New York Post, Ryan said he doesn't worry about the Patriots, that "they need to worry about us." Tough talk, indeed, considering the Jets' lack of succcess against them. Behind closed doors, he has expressed a similar sentiment to the team, according to several players. To the outside world, it may come across as typical Ryan bluster, but the players love to hear it.

"I know it rubs people the wrong way, but I don't think it's meant to be malicious toward the other team," Pace said. "He believes in us."

Now they have to figure out a way to topple the Evil Empire, no easy task now that the Patriots have Darrelle Revis on defense.

"Yes, they've won our division, they've had the title for awhile," Colon said. "We strive every year to get it. They're our rivals. Yes, there's going to be some blood, there's going to be some hate. That's football. You have to appreciate that. Do we not like them? Sure, but we have to respect. That's how Rex feels. It ain't going to be a hug match; we're going to play football.

"We want what they've got," he continued. "That's the ultimate goal -- win the division and, hopefully, for a fight a Super Bowl."

Idzik says QB competition not 'tilted'

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
4:05
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Even though Geno Smith took 75 percent of the reps with the first-team offense in the first two days of practice, the New York Jets don't have a frontrunner for the starting-quarterback job, general manager John Idzik said Friday.

"I don't think it's tilted at all," Idzik told reporters in one of his periodic Q & As with the media.

Idzik, who has preached the "competition" mantra from the day he was hired, refused to acknowledge it's Smith's job to lose -- even though Michael Vick and a handful of players have publicly identified Smith as the presumed starter. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has said his plan is to give Smith about 70 to 75 percent of the reps throughout camp, making it rather obvious that Smith is the leading candidate.

But Idzik wouldn't go that far.

Smith
"Competition is not about counting reps," Idzik said. "Reps can ebb and flow. You saw that last summer. You may switch up the workload from early in the week to late in the week.

"Let's let this thing transpire. Let's see what happens. ... There could be a little fluctuation in the reps. Going into camp, we're giving the lion's share to Geno and we'll see how he responds. So far, he has responded very well. [Vick] is an experienced veteran. That plays into it as well."

Rex Ryan, revealing a sly grin, parroted Idzik's remarks, saying neither quarterback has the edge. He said there's no timetable on when he hopes to name a starter.

"At the end of the day, I feel very confident we're going to have a great quarterback situation here," Ryan said.

Idzik addressed a few other topics. As expected, he was extremely guarded with regard to his expectations for the team, declining to give anything close to a goal or a prediction. He wouldn't say if he feels this team is better on paper than last year's group, which finished a surprising 8-8. If he played it any closer to the vest, he wouldn't be able to see his own cards.

Idzik was asked how he'd evaluate Ryan this season.

"I don't know that it's an evaluation in the purest sense, that we're grading things day to day," Idzik said. "We have a fine working relationship. Rex and I have the benefit of having gone through an entire cycle together. He handles the team extremely well. He handles the staff extremely well. We have a common vision. ... It's been a true pleasure working with Rex and I anticipate that continuing."

Ryan signed a multi-year contract extension, putting him under contract through 2016, but only 2014 and 2015 are fully guaranteed. His status isn't as tenuous as it was last year at this time, but a fourth straight non-playoff season wouldn't bode well.
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Still no pads as the New York Jets started their second practice in Cortland, but another decent performance by don’t-call-him-starting quarterback Geno Smith. The second-year player continues to get more reps than don’t-call-him-backup Michael Vick , especially with the first team in the early rounds.

In the latest episode of the quarterback competition that isn’t, Smith’s 8-for-10 performance, with two sacks, was marred by a sloppy pass over the middle that was tipped by DeMario Davis and intercepted by David Harris. Call it almost a tie; Vick didn’t have an interception, but his 8-for-10 day included a sack and a drop.

General Manager John Idzik reiterated that this was an open competition, even though Smith will get a projected 70-75 percent of the snaps this camp. Everyone is clawing for a starting job, and no one is safe. With that in mind, a few moments stood out.
  • Newly acquired DE Jason Babin is in camp and practiced. He played with both the first and second team, and on both sides of the line.
  • OL Willie Colon, DL Antwan Barnes and WR Quincy Enunwa were out of drills and working out on the sideline during practice. Colon, coming back from knee surgery, said he doesn’t know when he’ll be released from the physically unable to performs list but said he feels good, that the patience is mostly precautionary.
  • CB Dee Milliner broke up a Vick pass to Eric Decker by absolutely smothering the veteran receiver. Decker had a few other catches, including one nice one with Smith in 7-on-7s. Decker also returned a punt, which got Jets fans cheering.
  • Also in punt returns, the Jets used Jacoby Ford and Jalen Saunders.
  • The first tussle of camp occurred between CB Dexter McDougle and WR Michael Campbell. Nothing much, just a lot of close talking and a push.
  • Chris Ivory (hammy) and Chris Johnson (knee) participated in team drills. They didn’t get ton of reps, but there are plenty of running backs in camp this year.
  • With Colon out, the offense flipped Oday Aboushi and Brian Winters, starting Winters at RG when on Thursday h started at left.

Jets wake-up call: Day 2

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
6:00
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Day 2 of the Jets training camp is about to start, although this one won’t be in pads. These touch-football practices feel a little like organized team activities, but they are building up to contact in a few days.

Meantime, there are a few storylines worth watching.

Role call: The Jets are hoping to get newly-signed pass-rusher Jason Babin on the field. He could make a big impact for a Rex Ryan defense, but first he has to get into a Jets uniform and introduce himself to the defensive line. Tight end Jeff Cumberland has also been absent for personal reasons, and he could be back.

Tweak or more? Chris Ivory missed reps on Thursday and Ryan later said it was because the running back had, “a little bit of a hamstring, but he’s fine,” Ryan said. If this sounds familiar, it is. Ivory missed a portion of early camp last season for the same thing.

Geno takes two: Can Geno Smith put together two solid days of practice to start his second season? Receiver David Nelson said this was Smith’s team, but Ryan wasn’t quite ready to agree. Smith is getting the reps, now he needs to work on hearts and minds, and a starting title that eluded him all last season.

Jets camp report: Day 1

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
9:00
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A review of the hot topics from Thursday at the New York Jets:

1. Sunglasses needed: Rex Ryan was fired up after the first practice, radiating enough sunshine to raise the tanning index to a 10. The coach said the Jets are "a zillion miles ahead of where we were last year" at this time, claiming this team is further along than any of his previous teams. He raved about Geno Smith, Michael Vick, Chris Johnson, Calvin Pryor, Antonio Allen and Kyle Wilson. Even rookie quarterback Tajh Boyd got some love. Said Ryan: "He's got a little magic in him." Sitting in the news conference, I thought for a moment that I was covering the '85 Bears. But you know what? This is who Ryan is. He's the enternal optimist, and it's one of the reasons why the players still like playing for him after five years.

2. Geno wins the day: On Day 1 of the pseudo quarterback competition, Smith outplayed Michael Vick, who threw an interception that wasn't entirely his fault. (Rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders ran the wrong route.) There will be more days like this, especially if Smith continues to receive three-quarters of the first-team reps. Vick is working with an inexperienced cast of characters, and that's bound to impact his performance. You'll be reading a day-by-day analysis of the quarterback situation (hey, it's what we do), but know this: To nail down the job, Smith needs to show up in the preseason games. In other words, he can't throw a pick-six on a screen pass on his first attempt. (See: Mark Sanchez, 2013).

3. Three-headed safety: Dawan Landry, Antonio Allen and rookie Calvin Pryor rotated with the starting unit at safety. It's not hard to read the handwriting on the wall: The Jets prefer a Allen-Pryor tandem, but they're not ready to abandon Landry, the wise head of the secondary. Ryan said he wants to keep Allen "really humming because I think he's really stepped up, and I'll try to put him out there with the 1s as much as possible." The same could be said for Pryor. Unfortanately, you can't play with 12 players.

4. Early glimpse at the receivers: Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and David Nelson were the best receivers on the field. The others had drops at various points in practice, with rookie Quincy Enunwa (hip) taking an early seat because of an injury. No reason to reach for the panic button. Just stating the facts. Obviously, the Jets need one or two receivers to emerge from the pack.

5. Rex rocks the house: Several players, especially the rookies, were still buzzing about Ryan's speech to the team Wednesday night. Ryan knows how to bring it, especially on the eve of training camp. According to several players, he spoke about the playoffs, how the drought has lasted long enough. This is how Boyd described it: "I'm sitting in there and I don't know what to expect. He gets up there and he's very modest and he's talking, 'It's going to be a great camp, I'm excited.' Then he just flipped the switch five minutes into the talk. You could just feel the fire burning inside the guys. He made me want to run through a brick wall. I think he's got an opportunity to be a legendary coach one of these days."
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- For five years, ever since Brett Favre left town and Rex Ryan arrived, the New York Jets have been a defensive-minded team. That probably will never change as long as Ryan is the coach, but it has to be closer to a 50-50 balance for them to challenge for a championship. Maybe this will be the year it changes. Maybe, with the additions of Chris Johnson and Eric Decker and fewer growing pains from Geno Smith, the offense will have a ball instead of being the ball and chain.

"We've got weapons, man," said linebacker Calvin Pace, who has endured plenty of mediocre offense in his six seasons with the Jets. "The pieces are in place."

[+] EnlargeEric Decker
AP Photo/Julio CortezEric Decker has impressed his new Jets teammates with his route-running ability.
After a pause, Pace deadpanned, "I've seen worse here."

On Thursday, the key parts were together on the field for the first time, something that rarely happened last season. Johnson, who sat out the offseason as he recovered from knee surgery, was in the backfield, chipping off the rust at full speed. Decker, seven months removed from Peyton Manning, was on the outside, showing the young cornerbacks how a precise route-runner gets open. Smith ran the show, spreading the ball around.

For a change, the Jets actually have hope on offense.

"It's night and day for our offense," defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said.

The Jets finished 25th in total offense last season, and they're talking like they expect to take a Bob Beamon jump into the top 10. Is that even possible? Can a team improve that much in one season? Actually, yes.

Since 2000, there have been seven instances in which a team improved its ranking by at least 20 spots, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In fact, three occurred last season: The San Diego Chargers (31st to fifth), the Chicago Bears (28th to eighth) and the Arizona Cardinals (32nd to 12th). So there's hope for the Jets, right? Well, take a closer look at those teams. Each one had an experienced quarterback -- Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler/Josh McCown and Carson Palmer, respectively.

The Jets don't have a seasoned quarterback, so it's probably a stretch to predict a top-five or top-10 offense. They're better on offense than a year ago, but this isn't an elite group -- not yet anyway. But they don't have to be. With Ryan's defense, all they need on offense is a middle-of-the-road ranking. That would be good enough to get them into the playoffs. The Seattle Seahawks finished 17th in total offense, and they did well for themselves.

A significant improvement will hinge on at three factors:

Fewer turnovers by Smith, a healthy season for Johnson and the emergence of a legitimate No. 2 option in the passing game -- i.e. someone to take the pressure off Decker, who was targeted on every other pass in practice. Or so it seemed. Maybe rookie tight end Jace Amaro can be that guy. Maybe it will be David Nelson. Maybe Stephen Hill finally will show up. That will be one of the stories in training camp, hoping someone separates from the pack.

No matter happens, the Jets can't be worse than last season, when they managed only 20 points during a three-game losing streak that wrecked their playoff chances. Decker and Johnson will help, no doubt. In the first practice, they made an impact, if only in subtle ways. Decker was constantly open, frustrating the defensive backs with his precise routes.

"I mean, the top of his routes are unbelievable," quarterback Michael Vick said. "He knows how to create space. You can just tell that him working with Peyton over the last couple of years has helped him blossom as a receiver."

Johnson, too, made an impact in the passing game, splitting out wide and catching balls in space -- a new dimension for the Jets' offense. He's so fast that linebackers will have to cover the flat routes, which will create room in the middle of the field. For a change, the Jets can attack all areas of the field. It's not a phone-booth offense anymore.

"The offense can be extremely good," Vick said, "as good as we want to be."
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Jason Babin may have agreed to a two-year deal with the Jets on Wednesday, but the defensive end didn't sign on the dotted line until Thursday afternoon. What that meant was the former Jaguar missed the first day of the Jets training camp.

"He's supposed to report today," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "Hopefully we'll see him on the field [Friday]."

Babin
The Jets have needed a pass-rusher like Babin, and they won't need to wait much longer.

Tight end Jeff Cumberland, who has been excused from the start of camp for personal reasons, was also absent Thursday.

Pryor restraint: Part of rookie safety Calvin Pryor's game is his ability tackle with meaning. Both he and his coaches realize that what they see before he puts on the pads is just a shadow of his true abilities.

"From a physical standpoint we won't recognize him until we put a live drill out there," Ryan said. "Then we'll hear him play. I mean that's what happens, but he's a special guy that way. I think (Dawan) Landry has been a mentor to all of them, but he's certainly taken him under his wing as well. We expect huge things out of Calvin."

Asked if he was ready to hit, Pryor said yes, but he didn't want to hurt his teammates. He'd save that for actual games.

Decker <3's NY: Jets wide receiver Eric Decker was asked what he liked about New York, and the former Denver resident had nothing but good things to say about the food and the shows on Broadway.

"This is one of the best cities, if not the best city in our country," Decker said.

Now there's a man who knows how to win over the locals.

Ryan's job security: The Jets coach appears to have a little more job security this year than he did last, when new general manager John Idzik came in and agreed to keep him for the time being.

There's optimism around the team, and Ryan seems as secure as a coach in the NFL can be.

"I know you guys had that question for me, still working? Yeah, still here! I am still here. I don't know if there was a whole lot of confidence in that last year at this time, but still here."

Roommates: Michael Vick was asked about his first night with running back Chris Johnson and he said it went well, but they didn't get much sleep.

"We sat up and talked maybe a little too long last night," Vick said. "I'm kind of tired right now, but I think I let him get some rest. I was doing all of the talking."

Just like college.

Nelson on Geno Smith: 'It's his team'

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
5:30
PM ET
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- On the first play of the first team drill, Geno Smith took a three-step drop and zipped a short completion to Eric Decker. And so it all began -- the pseudo quarterback competition and the season that Rex Ryan expects to stretch beyond December.

On the first day of training camp, everything seemed possible for the New York Jets. It always looks and feels better when the quarterback plays well.

Smith
"I think Geno looked better than I've ever seen him," wide receiver David Nelson said Thursday.

It was only one practice, and things can change in a hurry (as we saw last summer), but the Jets swear Smith is a different player than the wide-eyed rookie who coughed up the football through much of last season. They say he looks and sounds more confident in the huddle. Nelson went so far as to say Smith "(knows) it's his team." Smith wasn't ready to go there just yet, saying, "I don't look at it like that. I love the confidence my guys have in me."

My guys? Sure sounds like he's taking ownership. Of course, Mark Sanchez kept saying the same thing last summer, and look how that turned out.

"Coming into this year, I'm a lot more confident in my reads and my footwork, and delivering the ball a lot stronger and a lot more accurately -- all good signs of progress, but we have a long way to go," Smith said. "I have a long way to go."

For the record, Smith took the first four first-team reps. In came Michael Vick. By the end of the practice, the split was 13 for Smith, four for Vick -- pretty much the ratio offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg had outlined recently. For the stat geeks, Smith completed seven of 10 passes in team drills, with no turnovers.

In case you haven't noticed, this is Smith's job to lose -- even if Ryan won't put it in those words. Asked if he agrees with Nelson's assessment, that it's Smith's team, Ryan did a little spinning.

"I consider it our team," he said. "Do I consider it Geno's team? Yep. I also consider it Michael Vick's team. And my team. Everybody's team."

Barring an injury or an utter meltdown in the preseason games, Smith will be the opening-day starter. Even Vick has acknowledged the handwriting on the wall. In a way, training camp is Smith vs. Smith, not Smith vs. Vick. So far, Smith is winning. He's acting like the starter, according to Nelson.

"I see that when he's in the huddle, I see that whenever he's calling plays," Nelson said. "I see the way he has ownership and command over the offense."

Photos from training camp: Day 1

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
5:30
PM ET
Here are some photo highlights from Thursday, the first day of practice at New York Jets training camp in Cortland, N.Y.

Michael VickRich Barnes/USA TODAY SportsHere you go. Michael Vick in a Jets uniform.
Geno SmithAP PhotoGeno Smith throws a pass to wide receiver Jalen Saunders.
Michael VickRich Barnes/USA TODAY SportsMr. Vick visits the sidelines for some quality time with fans.
Jace AmaroRich Barnes/USA TODAY SportsTight end Jace Amaro makes a catch.


Chris Johnson blazes through practice

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
5:17
PM ET
CORTLAND, NY -- That Chris Johnson could be a major piece of the New York Jets offense was evident even in the team's first training camp practice at SUNY College of Cortland.

Johnson got plenty of reps a day after being cleared by team doctors; the running back had knee surgery after his last season with the Tennessee Titans. The 5-foot-11, 203-pound back looked light on his feet, and fast.

"I haven't really went 100 percent with the team since I have been here so being able to go out there and run and do all the team periods felt good," Johnson said.

Some of his reps on Thursday weren't rushing plays, but the team also lined Johnson up wide and had him catch passes.

"It's not really new to me," Johnson said. "From college to the pros I've been doing some of those things so it's not really new."

Last year, the Jets used Bilal Powell in that role, and before that LaDanian Tomlinson was a reliable receiver. Johnson however is a little bigger, and could present a challenge for defenses if he stays in the role according to wide receiver David Nelson.

"When they see CJ in the flat they're going to have to jump to that," Nelson said. "When they do that, it opens up a lot of space in the middle of the field. If they don't he's going to take it to the house. It opens up a whole different dimension for us especially in the passing game."

Still, it's early. Aside from one fumble on a run, Johnson seemed right at home.

The Jets won't be in pads until this weekend, so Johnson and the Jets will have a better sense of his physical condition and how the knee is withstanding the contact. But in the meantime, he said he feels good.

"I felt good," Johnson said. "I felt no pain or anything like that."

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