Thursday, June 11, 2009

Minicamp Day 3 Review

Today's practice, I spent a lot of time watching the quarterbacks again because, let's face it, it's the most important positional race on the team and it's the easiest thing to look at in practice.

Neither of the quarterbacks really stood out. Both had a few hiccups practicing out routes, but against actual defenses, here is how they did.

Clemens was 11-15 in a variety of 4 on 3's, 6 on 7's, and 11 on 11's, having some success moving the ball and completing his last seven passes. He had a pair of touchdowns, one to Dustin Keller, who beat everybody's favorite secondary whipping boy Drew Coleman and another to Wallace Wright.

Sanchez was a mostly shaky 13-20, but in an 11 on 11 drill towards the end of practice, he completed his last six passes, culminating with a fade to Wallace Wright in the corner of the endzone for a touchdown. This prompted excited teammates to chant "Wallace, Wallace" after the grab, while the fans were cheering the throw. Sanchez himself was happy to end the practice on a good note. The key receivers on that drive were Wright, who caught the touchdown, and David Clowney who had four receptions.

The biggest difference between the two quarterbacks at this point is the decisiveness. The newly signed Sanchez has been hesitant, often holding onto the ball for too long. Anybody can tell by watching the two quarterbacks which one is the veteran and which one is the rookie because Clemens makes his reads much more quickly than Sanchez does at this point. The game needs to slow down for the golden boy, and there's no reason to expect that it won't. Hopefully, Rex Ryan never uses the "s" word by saying Sanchez is "swimming" learning the offense. We all saw how well that went for Vernon Gholston (who actually had a few pressures in yesterday's practice that I forgot to mention).

Clemens was far from perfect though. Most of his completions were short, and he tended to struggle landing the deep ball, overthrowing a few deep passes. He probably doesn't offer a whole lot of upside, but he also rarely made mistakes.

Sanchez, on the other hand, did throw one interception, and it was once again Eric Smith making the play after a James Ihebdigo tip. He also fumbled one snap. As for Smith, this was his fifth interception in the three day camp, making him the clear top performer. Still, don't expect him to challenge Jim Leonhard for a starting job, at least not yet.

Players that caught my eye were Dwight Lowery, who had another nice pass deflection today. Also, I must add that the quarterbacks must be pretty smart because they barely throw the ball in Darrelle Revis's direction.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Damien Woody both looked bigger than last year. The offensive line sealed really well on an outside run by Shonn Greene that he would have broken for a long gain if it was real. Greene is being given a lot of respect by the coaching staff, as he's right there behind Thomas Jones and Leon Washington in terms of reps, including on the goal line.

Finally, it's time to mention the punting battle, where both Reggie Hodges and T.J. Conley had good practices. Reggie Hodges punted well, averaging 45 yards on four punts, including one booming 55 yarder angled towards the sideline. But it was Conley who had the slightly better day, averaging 45.9 yards a punt, including two 55 yarders with good hang time.

As for the people receiving the punts, Chansi Stuckey muffed one Conley bomb. More interesting was the Music City Miracle-style lateral play the Jets ran on another Conley boomer. Jim Leonhard received the punt, took a step and then threw it across the field to Darrelle Revis for a good gain.

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