The New York Jets are unlikely to contend in 2013, but that doesn’t mean it will be a lost season, necessarily. GM John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan know that evaluating young talent is an important ongoing process.
At the Jets’ three-day rookie mini-camp last weekend, Idzik and Ryan made a conscious decision to push their rookies harder than in years past, challenging them with what Idzik called a “fire hosing” of information.
For the Jets, it was a way to get the rookies used to the hectic environment of training camp and the regular season. They’re going to need their rookies, drafted and undrafted, to make more of an impact than ever before.
“I think we did challenge the guys a little bit more,” Ryan said. “We put more on their plate on offense and defense to let them know, look, it is going to come fast and a lot you have to stay on top of it.”
Among the players who stood out, according to Ryan, were quarterback Geno Smith, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, wide receiver Zach Rogers and center Dalton Freeman. The latter two were undrafted.
Obviously, it’s hard to project much from rookie mini-camp, but I like the approach of throwing the rookies into the deep end and letting them sink or swim. Life in the NFL is not easy, and the rookies need to learn that, fast.
“They’re going to have their hiccups,” Idzik said. “I think the first practice, … they literally had only two hours of meeting time and then they’re out on the field and we’re running them through adjustments. They did a great job.”
Let’s hope that experience and hard work pays off on Sundays.