CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics from New York Jets training camp:
The Jets conducted their final open practice in Cortland, a relatively light workout focusing on their next preseason game, Saturday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. The most entertaining part of the day came after practice, when the entire team participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. With a big assist from the Cortlandville Fire Department, the team was doused with cold water, much to the delight of a few hundred fans. It was a neat, fan-friendly way to end the three-week run in Cortland. The New England Patriots nominated the Jets for the ALS event and, as Rex Ryan said, "Anytime you get issued a challenge by New England, we're going to accept that challenge."
One of the disappoinments to Cortland was that none of the rookie wide receivers separated from the pack. Shaq Evans got hurt, Jalen Saunders was OK but nothing special and Quincy Enunwa dropped too many passes after returning from a hip injury. Saunders will make the team as a punt returner, but the way it looks now, he'll be no better than the fifth or sixth receiver. It's still early, of course. They have three games left, time for Saunders and/or Enunwa to jump out. Ryan is waiting. "Yeah, if somebody jumps out and puts on a Victor Cruz performance, like he did against us in that preseason game (in 2010), I'll definitely sign up for that," Ryan said.
Eric Decker sat out again with a quadriceps injury. That makes four out of the last five days on the sideline. It's too early to panic, but it's important that he and Geno Smith spend as much time together as possible, developing chemistry. It looks like Decker will play against the Bengals, but don't expect it to be an extensive outing. In that case, Week 3 of the preseason becomes very important.
Time for some quarterback number-crunching. We charted every pass over 14 practices in Cortland (11-on-11 drills only), and it's fair to say that Michael Vick outperformed Smith from a statistical standpoint -- slightly. Unofficially, Smith completed 55 percent of his passes (72-for-130), with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Obviously, he needs to raise his completion mark over 60 percent. In a West Coast-style offense, that should be the minimum for a quarterback. Vick completed 60 percent (64-for-106), with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Mind you, some of these stats are subjective, especially touchdowns, so this isn't an exact gauge of the two quarterbacks. It's also worth noting that Smith, who took 81 percent of the first-team reps, had to face the starting defense on a vast majority of his snaps. Clearly, he has work to do, but just remember what happened a year ago on the final day in Cortland -- the infamous "brutal" practice, as dubbed by Ryan.