The NFL season is still weeks away from its start, but the New York Jets are already dealing with injuries, particularly with their developing wide receiver group.
Per a report from Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, head coach Adam Gase revealed that Breshard Perriman is dealing with a swollen knee. Perriman, a free agent newcomer, is one of the more experienced receivers on the New York depth chart after the departures of Robby Anderson and Demaryius Thomas.
While Gase did say that he expects Perriman back on Saturday, there’s no timetable for two rookies in the group. The wait for Denzel Mims (hamstring) continues, while undrafted standout Lawrence Cager hurt his knee during Tuesday’s camp proceedings in Florham Park. Cager, an undrafted free agent out of Georgia, has earned strong reviews at One Jets Drive. ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported that he made a strong catch while lined up against fellow rookie free agent Javelin Guidry.
Though there is hope in the case of Perriman to return by the weekend, the Jets receiving corps continues to look thin on experience and proven weaponry. Perriman and Mims were expected to be the top targets for quarterback Sam Darnold this season, but Mims has dealt with the hamstring issue for a majority of camp.
Veteran help through the free agency wire is not out of the question. After signing two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Hogan and working out former first-round pick Kevin White, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that the Jets are set to bring another veteran catcher, Donte Moncrief, for a test run. Moncrief spent last season between Carolina and Pittsburgh.
In other injury news, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that defensive lineman Tarell Basham injured his ankle during Tuesday’s practice and will undergo a precautionary MRI. Basham is set to enter his third season in green and earned his first career interception last season.
Guerriero, the newest member of the New York Jets, was a two-sport athlete and earned nearly 4,000 rushing yards in Long Branch.
The New York Jets have announced the signing of running back Pete Guerriero to their active roster. In a corresponding move, the team released safety Anthony Cioffi.
Guerriero’s invitation to Jets camp in Florham Park continues his New Jersey football. The Monmouth alum hails from Lyndhurst and got his start at the local high school of the same name.
In three years with the FCS program in Monmouth, also the alma mater of new Jets teammate Chris Hogan, Guerriero earned 3,974 rushing yards (second-best in school history) and 39 total touchdowns. He saved the best for last, earning 1,995 rushing yards (leading Football Championship Subdivision) and 18 scores on the ground in his redshirt junior campaign last season. His tenure was capped off a trio of 200-yard rushing performances over his final four games representing Long Branch. The efforts allowed Monmouth to clinch the first outright conference title in program history, winning the Big South Conference with a 10-2 record (including a perfect 7-0 mark in Big South play).
Guerriero also guided the Hawks to their first FCS playoff win, tallying 228 rushing yards and three scores in a 44-27 win over Holy Cross last November. The Hawks eventually fell to the future finalists from James Madison, but they still ended the year ranked 13th in the final FCS Coaches’ poll.
The running back’s efforts were rewarded with a third-place finish in the voting for the Walter Payton Award, the FCS equivalent of the Heisman Trophy (previous winners include Steve McNair, Brian Westbrook, Tony Romo, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Cooper Kupp). Guerriero also ran track in Long Branch, winning the 100m and 200m at the MAAC Championships in his true freshman year of 2016.
Should he make the team, Guerriero would be the first Monmouth alum to play for the Jets in the regular season since Neal Sterling. The receiver was originally a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars as a seventh-round pick (2015) and earned 12 receptions over two seasons in green.
Cioffi, a Rutgers alum, finds himself released by the Jets for the second time in a ten-day span. A four-year starter in Piscataway, Cioffi spent the past two years with the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks. The safety gained a slight bit of notoriety earlier in camp, as he was revealed to be the first Jet to wear No. 33 after the departure of franchise face Jamal Adams.
With preseason games eliminated this summer, strapping on the pads and donning the game jerseys for Week 1 in the NFL will feel just a little bit more special this time around. For some, the waiting will be a bit longer than others.
If linebacker Avery Williamson suits up for the New York Jets’ September 13 opener against Buffalo, it will have been 388 days since he suited up for an NFL game. Williamson had a decent first season with the Jets, leading the team with 120 tackles in 2018 after coming over from Tennessee on a three-year, $22.5 million deal. However, his second season was wiped out by a torn ACL sustained in last summer’s preseason visit to Atlanta. The injury cost him the entire 2019 campaign.
Williamson began training camp proceedings on the physically unable to perform list but was activated earlier this week. It’s safe to say that the veteran defender is aching to make up for lost time.
“It’s been a long journey, definitely,” Williamson said in camp this week, per SNY’s Garrett Stepien. “From that point, just didn’t know, didn’t realize the amount of work I was going to have to put in to get back to this point, to get back to my old self. I thought it was going to be a lot faster. I thought I was going to be running by December, but everybody’s different and I just wasn’t healing as fast as I thought I would.”
The 28-year-old was eager to test things out upon returning to the practice field. He admitted things got a little difficult, especially with his rehabilitation coming during on the ongoing health crisis. But he was quite enthused upon taking to the field at One Jets Drive.
“You’ve just got to get practice,” Williamson said in SNY’s report. “You’re going to find out real quick how good it’s doing and didn’t feel any pain today, pretty much did everything from a perspective of past and it’s feeling great. So just going out and keep getting in shape, at this point, but my knee’s healthy.”
Williamson went on to praise the job his fellow defenders did in his absence, as players like Jordan Jenkins, Neville Hewitt, and James Burgess all rose to the occasion. That will only increase the on-field competition, as players on the Jets battle for the opportunity to remain on the team for the potential good time ahead.
Entering a contract year, Williamson is one of many Jets who will be auditioning for a chance to solidify their future. He’s embracing every single opportunity but feels like things haven’t changed a bit when it comes to the way he’ll approach a most unusual, and personally vital, season.
“Yeah, I definitely feel like I’ve got to prove myself (but) that’s every year,” Williamson said. “It’s always going to be competition, guys trying to take your spot.
“The guys last year, they played well. Give them credit. They definitely played well. So I’ve just got to make sure I know the playbook, early, make sure that when I get my opportunity, I’m going to make it count.”
Each seeking redemption in a new decade, Frank Gore and the New York Jets’ offense may be a match made in football heaven.
No matter what he accomplishes in a New York Jets uniform, the image of Frank Gore bearing the emblems and numerals of New York’s green football team will undoubtedly appear on lists or slideshows of NFL legends dressed in the “wrong” colors. “New York Jets legend Frank Gore” will satirically trend during a future slow day on social media.
Yet, if things pan out, Gore could hold a small but notable role in Jets history.
The addition of the 37-year-old Gore seems counterintuitive to a rebuilding squad. Surely, the latter days of his professional football career would be better spent chasing a title, not helping a rebuilding offense find its footing, no? The third name on the NFL’s all-time rushing list has apparently been playing AFC East bingo over the past few seasons, spending the past two seasons between Miami and Buffalo. An elusive Super Bowl as both a spell option and veteran mentor with a contender would perhaps be the perfect way for the San Francisco legend to ride off into the sunset.
Instead, Gore has spent the opening stages of Jets training camp praising the situation presented in front of him. He’s set to spell incumbent starting rusher Le’Veon Bell after proving servicable in his prior stops with the Jets’ rivals. Gore is one of three 30-year-old running backs to tally at least 1,000 rushing yards over the past two seasons with 1,321 (Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram are the ohters).
“I know the situation here,” Gore in a report from Brian Costello of the New York Post. “We’ve got a great back with Le’Veon, who did great things and still can play this game. I know that he’s our lead dog. My goal is to do whatever it takes when my number gets called to do whatever it takes to help this team be successful.”
Gore is by far the most experienced name on the Jets with 16 NFL seasons under his belt. In a season unlike any other, he’s providing a youth exuberence to the New York proceedings right from the get-go. That included his earliest days with a Jets label, when minicamp endeavors were reduced to a virtual arena.
Head coach Adam Gase knew exactly what he was getting upon extending Gore an invitation to Florham Park. Not only did Gase supervise Gore’s lone season in Miami (where Gore ran for a team-best 722 yards in 2018) but he also played witness to one of the earliest years of his prime as an assistant with the 49ers in 2008.
“He’s a natural leader. He’s the kind of guy that guys respect around the NFL,” Gase said in a report from NewYorkJets.com’s Ethan Greenberg. “He’s done a great job as far as helping younger players that are in the room. I think he’s a good teammate especially the last three or four years in that backup role and the supporting role of whoever that starter is. He’s a great guy for Le’Veon [Bell] to be around. Those two guys can really do some damage together.
“We have two guys that can play all three downs. They both have outstanding skillsets. There’s a little bit of difference in their running style and how they do things, but we know Frank really well and we know how to use them.”
Now that the Jets have gathered in person, it appears Gore’s leaving an impact on the rest of the roster as well, particularly with his offensive contemporaries. Even at his advanced age, he’s finding a way to leave an impact.
Bell, for example, was still a junior at Groveport Madison High School in Ohio when the seasoned veteran made his NFL debut as a third-round pick for San Francisco in 2005. His middle school days came and went while Gore made a name for himself at the University of Miami.
Yet, Bell knows there’s plenty he can learn from Gore, whose earliest NFL days were spent as a silver lining during a lengthy rebuild. He never experienced a winning professional season until his seventh campaign.
“I look at a guy like Frank Gore. I’m fortunate that he’s in my room,” Bell said when asked about his inpiration by Al Iannazzone of Newsday. “I pick his brain. He has a similar mindset as I have. “The fact that he’s 37 years old and he’s playing at a high level still, and he was talking about the things that he was doing when I was 28. He’s like Le’Veon, ‘I was doing this, that and the other.’ So I know I’m doing the right things because I’m hearing it from a guy who’s done it and who’s doing it.”
Gore’s fateful seventh season saw the 49ers go 13-3 and reach the NFC title game. Though a Super Bowl appearance wasn’t to be…the New York Giants stole an overtime decision…they were able to take the next step when Gore’s two touchdowns erased a 10-point deficit against Atlanta for a 28-24 win. Gore is thus a rare Jet who posses experience and a taste of the championship nectar, even if it’s only a mere sip.
The arrival of Gore also takes a certain bit of the offensive load off of Bell. Rushing will be more vital than ever for a Jets team that has major question marks at the top of their wide receiver depth chart slots. It will lead to new opportunities in the backfield, but last proved that one cannot live on Bell alone.
But if Gore can provide relief now and the knowledge to succeed in the future, his impact can last far beyond the one-year deal bestowed to him this offseason.
“We’re excited about not only the production Frank’s brought in his career but we’re excited about the chemistry he’s going to bring to the running backs room and the locker room,” general manager Joe Douglas said in a May report from Randy Lange focusing on Gore’s arrival. “He’s got a great work ethic, he’s a true pro. It’s a relatively young room right now behind Le’Veon. So he’s definitely going to help those young guys and be a great example for them moving forward.”
The New York Jets were forced to cancel a Saturday walk-through after a surge of COVID-19 tests that were revealed to be false positives.
The New York Jets were one of several NFL teams that had their training camp proceedings affected by a testing issue at a New Jersey BioReference lab the NFL has used for COVID-19 testing. New York was originally reported to have 10 positive tests, but these later came back as false positives, head coach Adam Gase explained on Sunday.
“We had just started our squad meeting. I was informed of it,” Gase said, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. “Everything happened really fast as far as what was being told to us. Our guys did a great job as far as getting in touch with the league office, following all the right protocols, making sure we were doing all the right things. Our guys, they jumped on it quick, as soon as we found out.”
The Jets were forced to shut down a walk-through, as well as their facility, on Saturday night but returned to summer action on Sunday. Overall, 11 teams were affected by the procedures. The NFL announced in a Sunday statement that they are working with BioReference to look over the process. Elsewhere in the state, a report from Kevin Seifert of ESPN indicated that the New York Giants were revealed to have no players test positive, but they were awaiting the results of support staff members.
Their 2020 season is still on pace to go on as scheduled, though questions remain over what will happen if positive tests are reported in the lead-up to games. Unlike other the procedures seen in the NHL, NBA, WNBA, and NWSL, the NFL is staging their season in home stadiums, outside of a bubble. Such concerns about the potential for positive tests by gameday were raised by Jets linebacker Avery Williamson after the weekend’s chaos.
“It’s kind of crazy, you know,” Williamson said in Costello’s report. “Just thinking like what if it happens before a game or something? This could happen to any team. It’s crazy. You don’t know what’s going on. There’s nothing you can really do. If somebody has it and you don’t know it and you’re practicing against them and stuff.”
“I just hope that we can stay as clean as possible. I hope that it stays just false positives.”
Players who test positive are subject to quarantine and must present two negative tests before returning to practice.
The New York Giants practiced today after taking Saturday off. The offense and defense faced off earlier this Friday for the first intra-squad scrimmage of training camp. Today, though, the team had a standard practice. Despite the COVID scare in the NFL today, the Giants still held their walkthrough.
In the NFL, multiple teams had positive COVID tests from Saturday’s daily testing. The Giants were one of the teams that had staff members test positive. But, according to reports, the tests around the league were false positive. There was an issue at a lab in New Jersey. The Giants and all other teams affected took the necessary precautions, but it appears that these tests were inaccurate and there is not actually a spike in COVID cases within the NFL.
Today’s Practice Recap
The Giants had a light practice today. It was an easy Sunday as the players continue to recover from their hard scrimmage on Friday. The team is likely to speed things up again tomorrow, though, after today’s practice was “little more than a walkthrough.”
Two key players did not participate in today’s practice: linebacker Ryan Connelly and fullback Eli Penny.
Quarterbacks coach Joe Schuplisnki offered some praise for the team’s young quarterback, Daniel Jones, today. Schuplinski explained that he worked out Daniel Jones before the 2019 NFL Draft (with the Patriots) and thought his “arm looked good.” But the quarterbacks coach thinks Jones’s arm “looks even stronger now.” Schuplinski said this has been “eye-opening” for him.
Second-year wide receiver Darius Slayton made an impressive toe-tap touchdown catch today:
The Giants have practiced hard throughout training camp. It has been high-intensity, but there have not been any fights yet. If fights do happen, though, head coach Joe Judge has a response plan:
“If you fight in a game, you get penalized and get ejected. We’ll play nasty, not dirty. If you get thrown out for fighting in a game, you can get kicked out of practice.” – Joe Judge on team fights during practice via Matt Lombardo
Joe Judge is still delivering on his promises: this will be a disciplined, no-nonsense team under his control. Judge has been receiving plenty of praise and criticism for his hard, disciplined practice style so far. But the players and assistant coaches have all had positive things to say about Judge. Outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema said today: “There’s no falseness to it, there’s no just trying to put a certain look. It’s just him being real.” Judge has made an authentic, genuine impression on his staff.
The New York Giants had their first intra-squad scrimmage today. This was the first opportunity for the Giants’ offense to matchup against the team’s defense. There were a few highlight plays as the New Jersey beat writers live-tweeted the practice game.
The reporters tweeted after the scrimmage had ended any stats or highlights they recorded during the game. One name that kept popping up: Darnay Holmes. In fact, this rookie’s name has popped up a number of times since training camp started.
Darnay Holmes Practice Highlights
Darnay Holmes turned heads today at practice. The fourth-round rookie out of UCLA put together an impressive performance during the Giants’ first scrimmage of training camp. And this was not the first impressive day that Holmes has had during training camp.
Holmes was seen making an impressive pass breakup just a few days ago:
All that time training with Sterling Shepard is paying off for our boy Darnay Holmes! 🔥🔥
In today’s scrimmage, Darnay Holmes made a spectacular interception down the sideline in coverage against Golden Tate. Holmes stuck with Tate step for step, then lunged to make a full-extension interception. Check it out:
This was also not Darnay’s first interception of training camp, according to reports. Holmes has been balling out in every practice. He was listed as a standout player in each of the first three practice reports on Giants.com.
The Giants’ secondary had some major question marks heading into training camp. The absence of DeAndre Baker and Sam Beal was worrying. The Giants did not appear to have a capable outside cornerback to play opposite of James Bradberry.
Many fans were too quick to pen Darnay Holmes down as a pure slot cornerback. Darnay has been cross-training with the Giants at both inside and outside cornerback. The interception he made today was from the outside position. Darnay played outside cornerback throughout his entire collegiate career. He played slot cornerback at the Senior Bowl this year and was very impressive, which is why many expected him to make the transition to slot in the NFL. So far, though, it seems like Darnay will be able to make an impact from either cornerback position. If he continues to play like this, Darnay Holmes could see himself starting on the outside opposite of James Bradberry in the regular season.
Injuries have already attacked the New York Jets’ receiving corps, but it leads to a big opportunity for second-year man Jeff Smith.
In the midst of every tough situation, opportunity seems to knock in an attempt to provide a silver lining. Jeff Smith is on his way to the door.
Training camp has only just begun across the NFL, but injuries have already taken their toll on the New York Jets. A receiving corps that’s already reeling from the loss of Robby Anderson has been particularly affected. Heralded second-round choice Denzel Mims has been held out of early practices due to a hamstring issue and Vyncint Smith (no relation) reportedly needs surgery to repair a damaged core muscle. Minor reinforcement is on the way in the form of two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Hogan, but he’s some times away from clearing the quarantine protocols necessitated by the ongoing health crisis.
Behind veteran newcomer Breshad Perriman and slot staple Jamison Crowder, experience is at a premium on the depth chart. Jeff Smith, for example, is among the remainders with the most experience…and he has one NFL game under his belt.
But now set to work with the top units as training camp continues, Smith knows a major opportunity awaits, one that could shape the next stage of his NFL career.
“Next man up,” Smith said simply in a report from Randy Lange of NYJets.com. “I think my main thing is just to know the whole offense and wherever my chance comes, to be able to go in there, not think too much, and be able to play fast.”
It was Smith, 23, who fell victim to the injury bug during last year’s training camp activities. A hamstring injury of his own relegated him to the practice squad for a majority of the year, but he received a promotion to the active roster in time for the Jets’ December visit to Baltimore. Smith earned his first NFL reception, good for a 12-yard gain and a New York first down, but another injury, this one being an ankle sprain, prevented him from building on the momentum.
Though it was cut short, Smith’s professional debut was the culmination of an offensive transition that began upon his sophomore season at Chestnut Hill. Smith began his career as a quarterback but made the switch to receiver, a move that eventually paid off in the form of a rookie free agent contract from the Jets.
Smith hopes his former skills as a quarterback will help him out in this new, green endeavor.
“I played quarterback my whole life, so I’ve been able to learn things quickly and kind of retain that,” he said. “I kind of see things differently learning the whole concept, just kind of knowing what to do.”
“It’s like learning the offense through a QB’s mind but being able to go run the routes and things like that.”
Additionally, Smith is known for his speed, which was on display during his Boston College adventure. He is, in fact, no stranger to high-speed antics in New York-branded facilities. During his freshman season, Smith’s tough final stand as a quarterback was somewhat soothed by a career-best 117 rushing yards in a visit to Syracuse. Two years later, he returned to the Carrier Dome and torched the Orange for a 64-yard scoring run, one that permanently shifted a 42-14 victory in the Eagles’ favor.
“Us Florida guys just have that natural speed. My dad ran track and my mom played volleyball and ran track, so I’ve just always had that kind of speed,” the St. Petersburg native said in Lange’s report. “That’s just a positive side to my game, being able to use that speed at the right time.”
Overall, Smith has described his position shift as “smooth”. The Jets certainly hope his transition from camp hopeful to first-unit man goes the exact same way as an topsy-turvy season deals yet another curveball.
The New York Giants put on the pads today. Joe Judge’s squad had their first padded practice of the 2020 season today as the media watched from the sidelines. There were a number of standout plays and players, like this incredible catch by C.J. Board:
Best highlight of #NYGiants individual drills today: newbie C.J. Board goes up to get the ball from Colt McCoy, making the catch over Jarren Williams pic.twitter.com/peXVfzBJ7h
Other players impressed the media today too, like Colt McCoy, Darnay Holmes, and Corey Coleman. But what was the first impression of new head coach Joe Judge? So far the reviews have all been quite positive.
What Is The Media Saying About Joe Judge’s First Padded Practice?
After the Giants wrapped up today’s practice, the media took to Twitter to post highlights and their initial reactions. The members of the media showed off highlights from players like C.J. Board, Daniel Jones, and others. They also gave their first impressions on Joe Judge and his practice style.
Jordan Raanan of ESPN described Judge’s practice as “fast-paced” and “efficient.” He noted that there is “lots of stuff going on at the same time in different areas of the field.” Raanan also mentioned that ball security has been a priority at Giants’ practice. That can be seen as Judge gives some pointers to a player in the video below:
Raanan also described the practice environment as “intense” while pointing out that coaches were yelling and screaming non-stop with plenty of colorful language. Art Stapleton of USA Today and other sites also sounded impressed with Judge’s first padded practice. He noted that there was very little wasted time and energy. Art also agreed with Raanan, describing the practice as “high intensity.”
One interesting aspect of Judge’s practice is an emphasis on discipline and conditioning. The Giants ran sprints from sideline to sideline post-practice. Players and coaches were required to run laps after miscues or penalties. Joe Judge explained (per Jordan Raanan), “There are consequences for making mistakes.” Sterling Shepard has bought in to the new coach’s culture, and hopes the rest of his teammates do as well:
“I think it’s going to take everybody buying in. if we’re going to be the team we want to be, we have to buy into what Judge has in store for us. Don’t make mistakes. That’s how to get out of it.” – Sterling Shepard on coaches and players running laps via Matt Lombardo
So far, Joe Judge has delivered on every promise he made in his introductory press conference months ago. Judge is instilling a new, tough culture and proving to be a “teacher,” just as he promised. Time will tell if Judge’s new culture and practice routine will lead to more wins for the Giants, but so far, everything has been positive for the rookie head coach.
New York Jets training camp has only just begun, but first-round pick Mekhi Becton is already making a strong impression.
As the New York Jets opened training camp this week, Connor Hughes, who covers the team for The Athletic, humorously suggested that one could play a drinking game for every time someone mentions that Mekhi Becton is big.
With all due respect to Hughes, don’t do that…it won’t end well.
The Louisville alum, the Jets’ first-round selection in April’s draft (11th overall) has joined new Jets teammates in training camp activities in Florham Park this week. Standing at 6 feet 7 inches and weighing 364 pounds, Becton barely needs pads to suggest an imposing prescience. But once he donned his new green gear, he backed up his fierce reputation in style as early reports from NYJets.com indicate that Becton has made a strong first impression in his days in a new helmet.
“He made himself known out there and what he’s capable of doing,” linebacker Blake Cashman said in a report from Ethan Greenberg. “He’s a great player. He’s going to be somebody that’s going to play a long time in this league and has more potential to grow.”
“Every day I just have to watch him and watch film of not just him but everybody,” running back Frank Gore added. “The first day, he was talking to me out there and saying, ‘I’m going to get you four yards’ and I like that. He can move.”
Another report from Hughes, this one more serious in nature, mentioned that Becton perhaps earned the play of the day by knocking down blitzing backfield invader Neville Hewitt during team drills. Becton’s ability to use his renowned size
“He applies it to the field,” Gase noted in Greenberg’s report. “It’s difficult for guys to figure out how to rush him in the pass game and then in the run game it’s hard to hard to move them back, you don’t see much penetration, that line flattens out pretty fast.”
Becton may not be showing up in the Jets’ box score except under unusual circumstances, but he has the potential to be the 2020 offense’s most valuable member. The first blocker the Jets have chosen in the opening round since D’Brickashaw Ferguson in 2006, Becton is expected to take the jobs of Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell easier as they seek to change the fortunes of a stagnant offense. On average, Jets quarterbacks were sacked 3.2 times per game last season, tied for 28th in the league.
In a league dominated by offensive heroics, a stagnant offense is a big problem and leaves a massive hole in the Jets’ future. But if anyone’s going to fill it, there’s likely no better place to turn than the 6 foot, 7 inch, 364-pound blocker from Highland Spring, Virginia.