CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Jets training camp:
The Jets like to think they're an elite defense, but elite defenses make big plays -- meaning takeaways. Since 2009, under Rex Ryan, the Jets are only 15th in takeaways. It has been a point of emphasis in training camp, and the defense responded in a big way Wednesday -- five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. It's important to keep it in perspective because the quarterback wasn't Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but it still was a step in the right direction. A baby step, but a step nonetheless.
There are two sides to every turnover. The offense simply has to do a better job of protecting the football. Sound familiar? This has been a common theme throughout the Ryan era. Ryan's quarterbacks (read: Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith) have thrown 94 interceptions in five years, more than all but five teams. You can't win consistently that way. On Wednesday, Smith, Michael Vick, Matt Simms and Tajh Boyd (two) combined for five interceptions. Imagine how good the Jets could be if they can reduce the interception total by, say, five over the course of a season. That would be huge.
It's no secret that Marty Mornhinweg needs a pass-catching tight end in his West Coast offense. They invested a second-round pick in Jace Amaro, a record-breaking receiver in college, but he's learning a hard lesson about life in the NFL. Amaro struggled mightily, dropping a pass and running a couple of wrong routes. The only thing he caught was flak from coaches and teammates. The Jets still believe in Amaro, but another option is developing before their eyes -- Zach Sudfeld. "Absolutely tremendous," Ryan said of Sudfeld. He was a training camp star last year for the New England Patriots, earning the nickname "Baby Gronk," but he disappeared when the lights went on. It'll be interesting to see how he performs in the preseason.
Take a bow, Demario Davis. On this day, you played like Willie Davis.
You almost feel bad for Boyd, the perpetually upbeat former Clemson star who is having the kind of camp that gets players cut. "Oh, yeah, he's struggling, there's no question, he's struggling," Ryan said. But the Jets will be patient with him, hoping he'll perform better in games, with a game plan that will accentuate his strengths. He threw three interceptions in practice, including one in a 7-on-7 drill. Too bad they can't reunite him with his old college receiver, Sammy Watkins. That would make him and a lot of other people around the Jets real happy.
Moment of the day: Davis, reading Geno Smith, overplayed a wide-receiver screen to Clyde Gates. He made the interception and returned it about 20 yards for a touchdown, punctuating the score with a quasi-slam dunk.
Quote of the day: "It was a great pickup by our scouting department. You look at the guy, he's about 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8. I call him Sasquatch." -- Ryan on Sudfeld.