New York Jets July 30th Training Camp Takeaways: Defense/Special Teams

Joe Malfa with New York Jets training camp observations on defense and special teams

On Saturday, our own Joe Malfa was on the sideline for Day 3 of Jets training camp. Here are some takeaways from his day in Florham Park:

Defense:

Defensive Line:

The one thing about practice that disappointed me was the fact that I didn’t get to see the full defensive line in action. Muhammad Wilkerson is still on the PUP, and Sheldon Richardson was excused from the team for personal reasons according to Todd Bowles. Steve Mclendon and Deon Simon were the beneficiaries of the absences of Wilkerson and Richardson. They each saw an uptick in reps, but neither of them really flashed during practice. They are both run stuffers, which makes it hard to stand out in a  practice where they try to keep the RBs upright.

Leonard Williams looked dominant, especially when he lined up over Brian Winters. One play in particular stood out — Williams man handled Winters and drove him into the backfield, freeing up a hole for Calvin Pryor to get to the QB untouched.

Linebackers/Edge:

Jordan Jenkins and Darron Lee are going to form a nice pass-rushing tandem over the next few years. During blitz pickup drills against the RBs and TEs, the two rookies shined. Lee made Bernard Pierce look silly, while Jenkins got the better of Tommy Bohanon. When the team transitioned into the the full 11-on-11 sessions, Lee consistently burned by Ryan Clady, while Jenkins had success against both the starters and 2nd-stringers. Lee’s speed and athleticism will turn a lot of heads come September — he has a real shot at rookie of the year.

Davis Harris and Erin Henderson had relatively quiet practices, but it is worth noting that Harris looked a lot slimmer. I had mentioned it out loud, and a few other writers standing near me agreed — he must be on the Todd Bowles diet as well.

Freddie Bishop — remember the name. The CFL sack artist is looking to make the transition to the NFL, and he looked great on Saturday. He was quick around the edge and showcased impressive technique as he consistently beat Ben Ijalana. Is Ijalana a starter? No, but this early success is a good starting point for Bishop.

Secondary:

Two members of the secondary out shined the rest on Saturday — Dee Milliner and Doug Middleton.

Milliner was beaten a few times in 7-on-7s, but for minimal gains. He defended the deep ball well and had a few nice pass breakups, with highlight of his day coming late in the team session. Kenbrell Thompkins ran an out route, but Milliner read it and delivered a big hit as soon as Thompkins touched the ball. The ball popped up in the air, Milliner tracked it, and he picked it off.

Milliner performing well may be expected because the guy is talented — he has just never been healthy. Middleton, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. The undrafted safety out of Appalachian St. was all over the place. He provided tight coverage, got to the ball quickly when he came up to defend the run, and had himself a signature interception just like Milliner. Middleton jumped an out route and came away with a diving interception at the goal line in the 7-on-7 drill against Geno.

Special Teams:

Punter:

The curse of Ryan Quigley is over — Lachlan Edwards looks like he may be the answer to years of punting futility. His first few punts had great distance and hang time, so I decided to record the numbers for his next few punts. Every punt travelled at least 50 yards, with his longest traveling 70 yards. He consistently had a hang time of over 4.5 seconds, with 5.1 seconds being the best and 4.84 being the average. The “Lach Ness Monster” is going to help the Jets do something they haven’t done in a while — consistently win the field position battle.

Kicker:

Nick Folk — remember him? Yeah, he didn’t miss a single kick by my count yesterday, and he made a 58-yard field goal look easy.

Ross Martin, rookie kicker from Duke, had just as good of a day as Folk. He missed two field goals by my count and nailed a 58-yard field goal of his own. No, there is no competition there, but it is worth noting. He can provide insurance for Folk if the veteran were to go down again instead of playing kicker roulette with the available veteran free agents.

Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com