<
>

Todd Bowles' first practice includes dark clouds and solid defense

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- What we learned on Thursday, Day 1 of the New York Jets' training camp:

1. More film for Bowles: Todd Bowles presided over his first training-camp practice as a head coach. It started outside and, with a storm approaching, finished inside. The biggest difference between being a head coach and a coordinator, he said, is that he can't focus on certain position groups. He has to bounce around, making sure he sees everything. As a result, he suspects he'll have to review the practice tape a few times more than usual to get up to speed on everything. The feeling among the players is that Bowles' practices will be longer than Rex Ryan's practices, with less joking around. Practices ended with push-ups for the offense, which lost the daily competition period against the defense.

2. Sheldon Richardson is a backup: Presiding over his first practice, Bowles wasted no time in shaking up the defensive line. With Sheldon Richardson facing a four-game drug suspension, Bowles inserted first-round pick Leonard Williams into the starting defense. The former USC star took the majority of first-team reps, with Richardson -- a Pro Bowl selection a year ago -- relegated to backup duty. This was the right call by Bowles, whose No. 1 objective is to get Williams -- talented, but raw -- ready for the season opener. He needs as many reps as possible. Besides, Richardson could use a helping of humble pie.

3. It's all Geno: As expected, Geno Smith worked with the first-team offense throughout practice. It was a solid, if not stellar day, as he completed 12 of 20 passes with no interceptions, unofficially. Ryan Fitzpatrick (7-for-11) got off to a slow start, but he perked up at the end of practice, hitting five straight. He threw a couple of surprisingly nice deep balls -- he's not known for his big arm -- including a long strike to T.J. Graham. It was a nice first day for Graham, who is battling several others for the last receiver spot. Another standout at receiver was Shaquelle Evans, one of the Idzik 12. In a seven-on-seven drill, he used a nice fake on Antonio Cromartie and blew past him for a long touchdown. On the flip side, it was a quiet day for tight end Jace Amaro, who had no receptions in team drills.

4. Right guard truly is wide open: With Willie Colon (knee) sidelined on the PUP list, Brian Winters and Brent Qvale shared the reps. Before long, you could see Oday Aboushi in the mix. Bowles said "there are some tough people in there and they're going to battle it out." Colon could be activated soon, according to Bowles. Will that solve the position? Hard to say. Maybe Brandon Moore should come out of retirement.

5. Big Mac is back: Dex McDougle delivered the play of the day, making a clever interception on a wobbly throw to the sideline by rookie Bryce Petty. It was a feel-good moment for McDougle, who missed his rookie season after blowing out his knee in training camp. He, too, is a member of the Idzik 12. The Jets have terrific depth at cornerback; my, how times have changed. Dee Milliner (Achilles' tendon), who was cleared to practice, didn't participate in any team drills. He's working his way back, slowly.

6. No place like home: With lightning in the area, the Jets were chased indoors, finishing practice in the field house. It's one of the advantages of conducting training camp at their year-round facility. In Cortland, New York, where they held five of the past six camps, there was no indoor option.