Training Camp Tour: Jets' QB depth chart appears solidified by Fitzpatrick return
On Day 7 of the Pro Football Focus training camp tour, the PFF analysis team traveled to Florham Park, N.J., to take in New York Jets camp.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Following the drive from Pittsford, N.Y., the PFF training camp tour continued on Tuesday with a stop at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, an impressive, sprawling facility in New Jersey. As with each of the last few camps, there was a notably different atmosphere and character to this practice session that saw far more team drills than any of the previous camps we have watched.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s return to camp solidifying position depth
Ryan Fitzpatrick finally re-signing with the team solidified the Jets’ QB situation, and it was a clear from watching this practice that the depth chart is set at this point. Fitzpatrick took the first-team reps, with Geno Smith the second-team, and Bryce Petty following. Rookie Christian Hackenberg (Penn State) was skipped in the rotation for most of the team drills entirely, and only saw a quick-drive worth of snaps at the end of one of the sessions.
Hackenberg may not have been actively involved in most of the team drills, but he was notably in the huddle listening to the call—regardless of who the QB was—for most of the afternoon. The Jets may have no intention of him seeing the field in 2016, but he at least seems to be consciously trying to take mental reps in practice, even if he isn’t going to get many physical ones. When he did throw the ball, he did little wrong, but also wasn’t asked to do much in any drill that involved defenders.
Fitzpatrick seemed to have the best control of the offense, but the ball was certainly not zipping out of his hand, and Geno Smith throws a noticeably nicer football when it comes to velocity, spiral, and often, placement. The Jets’ WRs were made to work for receptions when Fitzpatrick was the QB, but the majority of his decisions were good ones. The entire practice seemed a little sluggish and lacking in pace and intensity, so it was a little tough to tell if Fitzpatrick was putting everything into his throws, or if he was just playing at the same 85-percent level as everybody else seemed to be. At this point in his career, though, his arm talent may become a problem that his decision-making can’t overcome.
Former first-rounder Dee Milliner seeing some first-team reps
Cornerback Darrelle Revis participated in the individual portion of practice on Tuesday and some very early snaps in team drills before taking himself to the sideline and figuratively putting his feet up, enjoying the veteran benefits of training camp. Revis was obviously one CB starter, with Buster Skrine the other. When the team went to nickel defense, Skrine would move inside to cover the slot, and Marcus Williams played the other outside corner spot. When Revis left the field, though, former first-round pick Dee Milliner became the other first-team corner, and consequently saw some very legit snaps against the Jets’ offense.
He had an up and down day, but just seeing him out there looking 100 percent healthy is encouraging. Milliner made one nice play early, breaking up a pass intended for Kenbrell Thompkins after the receiver had done well to get the ball in his hands, despite the coverage, but when he had to step up and cover Brandon Marshall, in particular, his day got notably worse. He wasn’t badly burned, but he did give up a few catches and more than had his hands full. Obviously Marshall is a high-level receiver, but if the Jets hope to get Milliner on the field, those are the types of players he needs to be capable of defending. Still, with only 118 snaps to his name over the past two seasons, just being out there and competing with guys like Marshall is big for Milliner.
More of the same from the Jets big men
The defense had the better day overall in practice, and up front, in particular, they were able to disrupt the passing game pretty well. Sheldon Richardson was again disruptive as a pass-rusher, and with Leonard Williams grading so well last season in his rookie year, the sky is the limit for his potential in 2016.
Williams told us after practice that he was coached to be far more of a read-and-react kind of player at USC, and was turned loose far more last season with the Jets, leading to a much better pass-rushing grade. With another year under his belt and no new wrinkles to master, Williams could see himself grade among the best defensive linemen in the league this upcoming season.
Other camp notes:
– Rookie LB Darron Lee (Ohio State) began the day warming up by himself away from individual drills, but got on the field during the team portion of practice, which lasted most of the session, and made a few nice plays in coverage. He was visibly smaller than most of the other linebackers, but clearly makes up for it with speed and athleticism.
– Rookie center Kyle Friend (Temple )is listed on the roster as 6-foot-2, but looked head and shoulders shorter than 6-foot-6 Jesse Davis, who was often alongside him in the huddle. Friend saw some first-team snaps when Nick Mangold sat out portions of the team drills. He didn’t allow a sack last season at Temple, but earned a negative grade overall and was far from a standout even in the AAC.
– WR Quincy Enunwa seemed to be getting himself worked into a lot of the first- and second-team reps during practice. He’s likely in no danger of eating into Marshall or Eric Decker’s snaps, but it was an interesting name to see so often from the slot. He had an up-and-down day, making at least one bad drop, but also snagging a nice pass on a seam route to get the offense down to the red zone.