FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- What we learned on Sunday, Day 18 of New York Jets training camp:
1. The depth at safety will be tested: Calvin Pryor didn't practice and will be gone for "quite a few days" because of a death in his family, according to coach Todd Bowles. Even if he returns before Friday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, Pryor won't play because of missed practice time. On Sunday, he was replaced by Jaiquawn Jarrett, who was paired with Marcus Gilchrist. Remember, Antonio Allen (Achilles') already is down for the season, leaving Rontez Miles and undrafted rookie Durrell Eskridge as the backups. Eskridge took advantage of the increased reps, making a few nice plays. Look at the silver lining: By Friday night, the Jets should know how they stack up at safety.
2. Jeremy Kerley is confused: That was the takeaway after listening to Kerley, for the second time in four days, explain his diminished role. He continued with the backups, working behind Quincy Enunwa, the No. 3 receiver in the first preseason game. Kerley hasn't received much feedback from the coaches, but he took the high road, refusing to complain. Technically, he's still the No. 1 slot receiver, according to Bowles, who quickly noted that it's a competition. At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, Enunwa has the size that will help in the running game as a blocker. But as a route runner and receiver, he's not close to Kerley, who was a tough cover in Sunday's one-on-one drills.
"I definitely feel like I've proven myself, but it's a constant proving, over and over," said Kerley, who signed a four-year, $14 million extension last fall. He also said, "I signed my contract under a whole different organization. Everything is different. I have to show these guys what I bring to the table. ... Hopefully, I get the ball a little bit more."
3. As the Quarterbacks Turn: Yep, the quarterback situation is a soap opera, but isn't that always the case? On the day that Geno Smith was reprimanded by the organization for playing catch with a friend outside the facility -- only two days after jaw surgery -- Ryan Fitzpatrick presided over his third full practice since ascending to the No. 1 job. Quite frankly, it was a mediocre day for Fitzpatrick, who completed 11 of 19 passes and was sacked three times. In a red zone period, Brandon Marshall dropped a would-be touchdown. Pass protection was an issue throughout the day, especially with rookie Bryce Petty at quarterback. He struggled with blitz recognition, as safeties and linebackers came clean. It's a problem for Petty, who experienced those hiccups in the opener.
4. Injury report: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (hamstring) and tight end Jace Amaro (shoulder) sat out, as did wide receiver Chris Owusu (concussion). T.J. Graham returned from a hamstring injury and showed nice burst in the open field, but he could be losing ground to Walter Powell in the battle for the kick0ff returning job. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie and Marshall left practice with arm/shoulder injuries, but they're not thought to be serious. Cromartie suffered a bruise and actually returned to practice. Bowles didn't have an update on Marshall; he wasn't aware of an injury. Center Nick Mangold and left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson got a rest day.
5. Club Rex is over: Bowles runs tough practices. He keeps them on the field for two hours, rarely ending early. He's an old-school coach in that sense, taking his cue from one of his mentors, Bill Parcells. There's a fine line, of course. You want to build toughness and stamina, but you don't want to wear out your team before the season. Sunday's practice was particularly physical, perhaps because Bowles was upset with the tackling in the first game. He's trying to raise the intensity level.