FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- For the second straight day, rookie Geno Smith took the majority of the first-team reps in practice. It was a fairly positive day for Smith, whose tender right ankle still isn't 100 percent.
Smith displayed excellent accuracy in team drills, completing 11 of 12 passes. His best moment came on a gadget play, a 70-yard touchdown strike to a wide-open Stephen Hill. Smith had two hiccups. He failed to get the offense out of the huddle and to the line of scrimmage on time, receiving an earful from OC Marty Mornhinweg, who ordered a re-huddle. Later, Smith was intercepted in a 7-on-7 drill.
Greg McElroy, who didn't play the last game because of an ankle injury, received more reps than Sanchez, perhaps because of the time he missed. McElroy showed his rust, throwing four interceptions -- two in team drills, two in 7-on-7. On the positive side, he made a nice long completion to recently-signed Rahsaan Vaughn. McElroy is locked in a close battle with Matt Simms for the No. 3 job.
A+ FOR DOUBLE A: Antonio Allen, competing with Jaiquawn Jarrett for the free-safety job, worked with the first-team defense. He was all over the field, making two interceptions. Afterward, he was praised by Rex Ryan.
"It was the opposite of a brutal practice," said Ryan, alluding to his "brutal" comment from last week about Smith. "It was a great day."
So great that Allen will start Saturday night against the Giants. Jarrett will get another start in the preseason finale, facing his former team, the Eagles. The competition won't be decided until then, according to Ryan.
ATTENDANCE REPORT: CB Dee Milliner (calf), NT Kenrick Ellis (back) and LB Josh Mauga (back) didn't practice. RB/KR Joe McKnight, apparently recovered from a head injury, practiced fully -- no red jersey. ... FB Lex Hilliard, on the roster bubble, left practice with an apparent shoulder injury. ... It was a rest day for WR Braylon Edwards.
Ellis has missed nearly a week of practice with his back issue.
"I'm not worried about it," Ryan said, "but I feel better when I see the big fella out there."
A source said Ellis' injury isn't serious, and that he's being held out as a precaution.
LINE SHUFFLE: LG Stephen Peterman, working with the first unit since the start of camp, was moved to center, behind Nick Mangold. The Jets apparently aren't comfortable with Caleb Schlauderaff and Erik Cook as the backup center, so they gave some reps to Peterman. Vladimir Ducasse got all the fist-team work at left guard. Update: The Jets claimed former Cards C Scott Wedige on waivers.
ODDS AND ENDS: TE Hayden Smith, fighting for a roster spot, made a handful of nice catches. But he also had a drop. ... P Ryan Quigley continued to impress and has a good chance of unseating incumbent Robert Malone (back), who returned to practice. ... TE Kellen Winslow got into a jawing match with LB Danny Lansanah. Winslow pulled off his helmet and yelled at him. They had to be separated. Later, Winslow said it was no big deal, just part of football. ... RB Chris Ivory had a drop.
WELCOME BACK: More than 20 former Jets, mostly from the 1960s to 1980s, watched practice from the sideline. Ryan and GM John Idzik, whose fathers are former Jets assistants, mingled with the alums during the early portion of practice. Ryan invited the former players to watch their former position-group drills. "(Joe) Klecko still looks like he can play," Ryan said. The alumni day was a nice touch for an organization that, at times, hasn't embraced former players.