FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan, trim and tattooed, stood in front of the defensive rookies and called the shots. Dennis Thurman may be the team’s new defensive coordinator, but Ryan was back in his old role, working almost exclusively with the defense, as the Jets officially began to prepare for the 2013 season.
It may have been the first day of the Jets' rookie minicamp, but what stood out more than Geno Smith’s accuracy was the new coaching rotation for the Jets. In a sense, there were two new teams on the field. After a massive housecleaning, new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and new quarterbacks coach David Lee were setting up plays for Smith, the second-round draft pick at quarterback, and Matt Simms, who rotated in but took far fewer reps.
In place of Mike Westhoff, longtime assistant Ben Kotwica led the special-teams drills.
Smith was 11-for-15 in 7-on-7 drills, with a receiver drop, and he went 6-for-10 in team drills. He threw a few fast balls into tight spaces. The players didn’t wear pads, but Smith was a little slow to get the ball out on a few occasions. Still, nothing unusual or alarming for a rookie trying to take in a new system.
The Jets' first overall draft pick, cornerback Dee Milliner, participated in an early defensive walk-through led by Ryan, but moved to the exercise bike soon after and was closely monitored by team trainers. After shoulder surgery in March, his fifth, Milliner said he expected to be ready to play on the first day of the season.
First-round defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson also practiced.
Most notably, everybody appeared to be in game shape for the most part. After the year running back Joe McKnight lost his lunch on the field during rookie camp, that’s really all that matters.