FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- What we learned on Friday, Day 9 of New York Jets training camp:
1. Good thing they have depth: The Jets took a couple of significant hits in the secondary, losing safety Antonio Allen (torn Achilles' tendon) for the season and cornerback Dee Milliner (wrist surgery) for six to eight weeks. Fortunately for the Jets, they can absorb the losses because of solid depth. The Big Five remains intact, and they have Marcus Williams and Darrin Walls as their fourth and fifth corners. Consider this: Walls and Williams started at times last season. Losing Allen and Milliner in the same practice (Thursday) was reminiscent of last Aug. 10, when Milliner (ankle) and Dex McDougle (knee surgery) went down within 20 minutes of each other. Here's the difference: A year ago, they were ill-equipped to handle the losses. This year, they should be fine unless the injuries continue to mount in the secondary. Keith Lewis (groin) and Curtis Brown (leg) didn't finish practice, but they're "bubble" players.
2. Milliner is cursed: He was drafted 27 months ago, and he already has suffered calf, ankle, Achilles' tendon and wrist injuries. Let's not forget, he arrived from college with a surgically repaired shoulder that cost him the 2013 offseason. Now he will miss his second straight preseason. His career surgery count is up to seven. He's a living version of the game "Operation," considering all the body parts he's had worked on. It's unfortunate, but durability is the key to success in the NFL. As Todd Bowles said, "Some guys just bite the injury bug." Milliner didn't bite it; he swallowed it. Best-case scenario: He returns for Week 3 in the regular season, but when has the best-case scenario ever worked out for Milliner?
3. Mixed signals on Mo: The Jets have been downplaying Muhammad Wilkerson's hamstring injury from the moment it happened, yet they felt compelled to give him an MRI exam. Bowles confirmed the MRI, quickly adding they did it "just to be careful." Teams usually don't resort to MRIs unless they suspect something. Wilkerson, who has declined interview requests, still is experiencing tightness, according to Bowles. He missed his fourth straight day of practice, and he probably won't return until Monday at the earliest. Bowles dismissed the possibility that Wilkerson's absence could be contract-related. I agree. It would be un-Mo-like for him to feign an injury.
4. Geno Smith in the zone: Another day, another interception-free practice. That makes eight practices with no interceptions. Smith had another solid day, completing 17 of 24 passes. He looks like a man in control; that's the best way to put it. Smith's command of the offense is "night and day from the spring and from OTAs," according to Bowles. "I think he's done a good job so far."
5. Rookie has skills: Linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin, a third-round pick, dominated in a pass-rushing period. It was a one-on-one drill, so there was no play call or gap responsibilities. It was just "get the quarterback," and Mauldin showed an impressive burst off the ball and quickness. On one play, he made a nifty spin move to the inside. Keep an eye on Mauldin.
6. Injury bug hits receivers: Shaquelle Evans (bruised ribs) didn't practice and Chris Owusu, one of the early standouts in camp, left practice after getting "dinged up in the head a little." In other words, he was woozy, which could mean a concussion. Saalim Hakim capitalized on the extra reps, scoring two touchdowns, including a deep ball over Antonio Cromartie. That came on a pass from Smith. Later, in a red-zone drill, Hakim caught a touchdown from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Quincy Enunwa also had another solid day.
7. Bowles believes in resting players (occasionally): Some of the old veterans got a chance to sit out in team drills -- Calvin Pace, David Harris and Brandon Marshall. Bowles included Darrelle Revis in that group, but Revis was on the field for most of practice. He did something to his right knee late in the two-hour session -- it might have been a small cut -- but there is no injury, according to the Jets. Iron Man D'Brickashaw Ferguson also got a chance to sit a little bit. This was a smart move by Bowles. The last thing you want to do is beat up your team in camp, leaving them on fumes for the regular season. This hasn't been a country-club camp; they've gone five straight days in pads.