The New York Jets Green and White Scrimmage is an annual tradition in Cortland, New York every Summer. One of our lead editors made the trip upstate for the event that brought over 7,000 Jets’ fans to SUNY Cortland. This is his take on the 2014 Green and White Scrimmage, with an inside view…
I had not been up to Cortland since the Summer of 2009, right before I began my senior year of high school. The experience itself is worth the trip, especially if you have not experienced much of upstate New York (it is absolutely beautiful during Summer).
Throughout my college years, it was hard to put together a trip to head up there. On top of that, I live an hour away (much closer than Cortland) from the facility in Florham Park, New Jersey where the team usually holds a few practices after they leave Cortland. Clearly, I was excited to get back up and experience the “real” part of training camp (and to also show my girlfriend, who is a Giants fan, how awesome the Jets are).
First off, the Jets as an organization do an excellent job with the Green and White Scrimmage. Tons of golf carts were chauffeuring fans from the parking lots to “Jets fest”, which had all kinds of games for the kids. The stands were packed by the time the player introductions began, where Michael Vick received the loudest ovation from the crowd.
As for the scrimmage itself, there were a few plays to note. Geno Smith hit Stephen Hill on a deep vertical route down the sideline. Hill torched Dmitri Patterson, who’s safety help over the top from Dawan Landry came very late. Greg Salas had quite a few catches on quick routes, looking like a perfect back up for Jeremy Kerley. Rontez Miles was all over the field both on blitzes and in coverage. Michael Vick also deserves to be mentioned, as he makes just about every throw with ease and still possesses extremely quick feet (to the delight of the crowd).
The bottom line was, it was a scrimmage. No player will make or be cut from the team from a scrimmage, but the little things I noted above were nice to see. It is also a nice prep for the live action that will take place at 7pm on Thursday evening, as the Colts come to Metlife Stadium.
Now for the experience, what a fantastic evening. There is no entry fee to attend and this is about as close as a fan can get to the players. I was fortunate enough to have on field access after the event and got to catch up with rookie offensive lineman Dakota Dozier.
Dozier is a massive human being (as seen above), but one of the nicer guys you can run into (off the field). I asked him what playing in the Green and White Scrimmage was like, where he responded:
“It’s great! Just to be out here playing football and most importantly in front of the fans, it feels really good to be out here.”
Dozier emphasized to me multiple times how awesome the experience of playing in front of the Jets’ faithful was and I’m sure he will enjoy playing at Metlife even more. We chatted about the transition from college offensive tackle to NFL guard and also how he ended up at Furman, which was a really interesting discussion:
“Moving inside is interesting because you do not see the speed rushers that you get on the edge, but the interior rushers that have more power. You have to be ready to face the bull rush and handle the strength that these guys on the inside have. It’s been a good transition though, I just have to keep working at it….
“Coming out of high school, there was not a lot of recruiting attention. I just wanted to keep playing football and took the opportunity to play at Furman, which was a great experience.”
Dozier was an unranked recruit coming out of high school in South Carolina, but it did not take long before he was noticed at Furman, where he was an unanimous All-American. He is definitely a guy to keep an eye on in the preseason, Jets’ fans.
The players signed autographs for quite some time after the scrimmage and I even noticed Stephen Hill posing for pictures with kids of all ages. Nick Mangold came over to a young girl that had a sign made for him (it was her birthday, too) and signed it. Well after the staff escorted the players away to their families for the fireworks, Geno Smith came back to the stands and continued to sign autographs as it got darker and darker.
As I was exiting the field during the fireworks show, I noticed general manager John Idzik to my right. I went over, introduced myself and shook his hand. I let him know my appreciation for the direction that he has taken this team and he was extremely thankful. He seemed like the type of guy that could stand there and talk about football for hours. I wished him the best of luck with the season and headed towards the exit, concluding a fantastic weekend in Cortland.