Attitude of Jets is a direct influence of Ryan

Checking in again after watching the morning practice of the New York Jets on Wednesday.

I can understand the love affair between Rex Ryan and his players, but he is not afraid to work them hard. I watched a live kickoff return drill — the entire drill was live — and I have never seen that before in all my years around the NFL. What a great opportunity for the young players to showcase themselves as they try to make the team.

There was a lot of contact during a very physical practice that lasted almost three hours. It was hot, but the attitude of the players was like nothing else. All I did was see guys working. It was something to see, and a direct influence of Ryan.

You can see and hear Ryan everywhere. He also had Tony Saragusa in camp working with the defensive line, and Clyde Simmons — who of course played for Buddy Ryan in Philadelphia — working with the pass rushers.

If anyone thought talk of Darrelle Revis was going to dominate practice, they’re wrong. All his absence does is give guys like Dwight Lowery and Kyle Wilson a chance to work on their skills.

This was a typical Ryan practice. There’s a reason why the Jets have a physical and dominant defense, and it’s because they practice it live at full speed. It’s been going on for two weeks, and I didn’t hear anyone complaining. All of the starters were out there hitting and playing.

None of it was because the HBO Hard Knocks cameras were filming. Ryan has his guys get after it in practice, and it was impressive.

  • I think Wilson is going to be a very good player. He already looks like he can play on the outside and inside in the nickel. He’s learning two positions, which most coaches don’t attempt to do with a rookie. It makes him more versatile, and more valuable.
  • I couldn’t help but notice free agent TE Matthew Mulligan, who has a chance to make the team. A big, strong kid who can run and block.
  • I don’t know what LaDainian Tomlinson has left, but he really jumped out at me. I know what his stats say the last few seasons, but all he does is work out there. It used to be that under Marty Schottenheimer, L.T. didn’t do much during the preseason. That won’t be the case under Brian Schottenheimer. L.T. is going to be a big part of this team, and he’ll get his touches.
  • Even without Alan Faneca, the Jets have a very good offensive line. Nick Mangold is the best center in football, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson is the best left tackle. Putting young guard Matt Slauson between two Pro Bowlers will only make him play better. I think Slauson will beat out rookie Vladimir Ducasse. Then you have RG Brandon Moore, who is a run-blocking beast.
  • Santonio Holmes won’t be on the field to start the season, but he makes any offense better and will make a big impact this season. People don’t move like he does in this league very often. His suddenness and ability to explode and his second- and third-gears are as good as there is.
  • Ryan told me that while goal is to again lead the league in rushing, the Jets ultimately might not run as often. They might not need to. Ryan wants to take advantage of the coverages teams use when they stack the defense against Shonn Greene and L.T., attacking with a more experienced Mark Sanchez and an improved receiving core. What we saw last year may not be the Jets this year.
  • David Harris is a phenomenal player that doesn’t get talked about often enough. Along with Bart Scott, Harris never comes off the field. They’re very similar players who play every down and cover a lot of ground as inside linebackers. Both very good players.
  • It was just one practice, but I see this team competing for the AFC East, with or without Revis.

— Brian Baldinger

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