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Eric Smith's Play Is Picking Up Steam

#1 User is offline   Holmes10 Icon

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 12:31 PM

Eric Smith's Safety Play Is Picking Up Speed

It's still kind of cool for June in New Jersey, but Eric Smith is on a hot streak.

Smith, the fourth-year safety, had a huge day Tuesday with three interceptions in the first two practices of the full-squad minicamp. This morning he had an outstanding pass breakup.

"Things are going pretty well," Smith said with a smile after today's first session. "Everything's a lot of fun the scheme, the guys, the meetings. It's very entertaining."

Smith's recent entertainees include one of the Green & White's most important spectators: head coach Rex Ryan.

"His three interceptions yesterday, I think that was pretty darned impressive," Ryan said at today's news conference between the open practices at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. "He's really taken off for us, he's really improving. Here's a veteran player who came in, I don't know if he was a little disgruntled at where he was initially on the depth chart. That first minicamp, maybe he wasn't putting out his best. Ever since that time, you see him taking off."

Smith said his upturn is not all attributable to the fun factor. The scheme, he said, gives safeties "a little more freedom" after the calls are made, which translates into playing "a lot faster."

Then there's the answer man for Smith, a.k.a. Jim Leonhard, who quarterbacked the Ravens' secondary last season.

"I'm still learning from Jimmy. He knows everything," Smith said. "I'll come to him and he'll tell me, 'Play it this way and you'll have a better shot.' The next thing you know, I'm picking the ball off."

There's still a long training camp to go, and that's a month and a half away, but similar Smith contributions can make a very good secondary even better. Plus he's an example of what's happening all around the Jets.

"You see that with a lot of the guys. They're getting more familiar with the defense," Ryan said. "And like I told them, now that you know the system, now you try to master it. That's what we're trying to do: master the little things of both systems, offense and defense, and that's the focus of this camp."

Rex Gone Wild?

The Wildcat pounced in the NFL last year, especially for the Miami Dolphins. And that trend has been noted by Ryan and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who ran a number of Wildcat formations at this morning's full-squad minicamp practice with Leon Washington and Brad Smith in the backfield and Kellen Clemens lined up at wideout.

"Those are things we're going to look at. It kind of took the league by storm," Ryan said. "If you have those kinds of athletes, you have a Leon Washington and a Brad Smith, I think that's going to be a great thing.

"And really with the Dolphins, you can expect them with the young quarterback they drafted [Pat White from West Virginia], they'll put him back there. So it's a great opportunity for our defense to get a look at that stuff and it's a great changeup for our offense. And Brian's done that in the past."

Besides the effects that a single-wing direct-snap play or set of plays can have during a game, there is the effect of having the upcoming opponent having to gameplan for it.

"If you can pull some prep time from the other things you run, that helps," he said. "We can do it one play or we can do it 60 plays. As a coordinator, you've got to make sure everything's covered."

Competition Through Collaboration

Ryan's latest take on his quarterback competition was how well Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez are working together.

"I'll hear them getting on the receivers running routes for the other quarterback when he's in there," he said. "I don't think I've ever seen that before. They really are pulling for each other, and they understand that the competition will make them both better."

Practice Notes

TE Kareem Brown made some outstanding catches. Rex: "I thought he had a huge day today." And the day's only half over. ... Other nice grabs were made by TE Dustin Keller down the deep middle and WR Jerricho Cotchery on a slant, both on sharp passes from Kellen Clemens. ... Rookie RB Shonn Greene, overcoming those drops from the rookie minicamp, made two excellent receptions in early drills.

CB Donald Strickland and LB Brandon Renkart had emphatic PDs. ... Ryan and DC Mike Pettine continue to give 360-pound NT Kris Jenkins work at DE. Ryan: "He'll probably spend most of his time over center, but this is definitely something we intend to do." ... Morning attendance was 978 fans, afternoon was 1,263 for a total of 1,123. Not bad for an overcast Wednesday. ... We'll have a feature on just re-signed punter Reggie Hodges later today.
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#2 User is offline   S-Dubb Icon

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 12:53 PM

Too late Eric Smith. Leonhard is here.

Its good though it just means our team is deeper. Rex's system probably has a been deal with it as well.
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#3 User is offline   Holmes10 Icon

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 12:56 PM

QUOTE (S-Dubb @ Jun 11 2009, 01:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Too late Eric Smith

When all is said and done, this kid is going to pick up Rex's D and beat out Jim Leonard...

I said it yesterday to Amen and Secondhand, and I'm sticking by it....


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Posted 11 June 2009 - 01:31 PM

I like Eric Smith's aggressiveness and his hard hitting. If the kid is playing that well, nothing is too late. He'll get a lot more play and that's a good thing. Having great depth at Safety only helps this team and keeps the secondary fresh as the season wears on. But this is still mini camp. Lets see what happens when it's full speed in pads. That changes everything.
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#5 User is offline   Amen Icon

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 01:46 PM

hmph.
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 01:51 PM

Hold on here. Are we still talking about the same f*ckin guy?.. Eric Smith the Strong safety?.. the same Eric Smith who blows coverage and gets owned on a regular basis. The same Eric Smith that been laying eggs?...

When you make more mistakes then plays something is wrong. Hey... I'm all for a guy showing and proving his worth but it's going to take some serious time and he is going to have to wow me. I mean he's going to have to do a total 180 from last season because he was and has been to date... horrible.
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 01:52 PM

Jim Leonhard will still start. He may be little but he is a gamer, he played awesome last season. Especially in the postseason where he was everywhere and was a great complement to Ed Reed.
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#8 User is offline   Holmes10 Icon

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 01:57 PM

QUOTE (S-Dubb @ Jun 11 2009, 02:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hold on here. Are we still talking about the same f*ckin guy?.. Eric Smith the Strong safety?.. the same Eric Smith who blows coverage and gets owned on a regular basis. The same Eric Smith that been laying eggs?...

When you make more mistakes then plays something is wrong. Hey... I'm all for a guy showing and proving his worth but it's going to take some serious time and he is going to have to wow me. I mean he's going to have to do a total 180 from last season because he was and has been to date... horrible.


Yeah Mangini's prevent defense made the whole secondary look like world beaters...

Where was kerry last year? Look at how Lowery digressed. Elam in coverage? Coleman and Poteat chasing recievers around the field. Calvin Pace chasing TE's from sideline to sideline. No pass rush, no continuity in pass coverage!!!

Yes #33 will be the starting saftey....The same #33 with Doug Plank as his positions coach.


BTW 0099 Adam Schefter is making the same prediction and he is never wrong..
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 02:10 PM

QUOTE (Leon#29 @ Jun 11 2009, 02:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah Mangini's prevent defense made the whole secondary look like world beaters...

Where was kerry last year? Look at how Lowery digressed. Elam in coverage? Coleman and Poteat chasing recievers around the field. Calvin Pace chasing TE's from sideline to sideline. No pass rush, no continuity in pass coverage!!!

Yes #33 will be the starting saftey....The same #33 with Doug Plank as his positions coach.


Interesting prognosis.

It's interesting to hear Eric Smith's name in this manner. I heard he got lucky and caught a few tipped balls in OTA's and stuff like that but anointing him the starter?.. should be interesting.

If thats the case Leonhard should have went someplace else and gotten more money.
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 02:11 PM

QUOTE (Leon#29 @ Jun 11 2009, 02:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah Mangini's prevent defense made the whole secondary look like world beaters...

Where was kerry last year? Look at how Lowery digressed. Elam in coverage? Coleman and Poteat chasing recievers around the field. Calvin Pace chasing TE's from sideline to sideline. No pass rush, no continuity in pass coverage!!!

Yes #33 will be the starting saftey....The same #33 with Doug Plank as his positions coach.


BTW 0099 Adam Schefter is making the same prediction and he is never wrong..

We'll see, Jim Leonhard is Rex's boy.


Where did you hear Schefter's input from? I haven't seen or heard anything from that guy since FA.
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 02:23 PM

"Are we talking about practice? Practice?"

He didn't look bad, but I don't buy the starter talk. Not until there's pads and preseason. He did great with Mangini because he was a 'smart' guy who did well in practice. Otherwise, his in-game performances were those of a slow, un-athletic back-up who was in over his head in games.

The real Eric Smith is the guy who stumbles over his own feet in the red zone and misses opportunities.
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 02:25 PM

QUOTE (S-Dubb @ Jun 11 2009, 03:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If thats the case Leonhard should have went someplace else and gotten more money.


He didn't hit a big contract, and he followed Rex. Two teams wanted him... the Ravens (Who Landry was taking back his spot. Or Rex's new Jets, who had a need for safety.

By no means am I saying Smith will win the job, but he does have a fair shot at it.
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 02:27 PM

QUOTE (Jetsman05 @ Jun 11 2009, 03:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
He didn't hit a big contract, and he followed Rex. Two teams wanted him... the Ravens (Who Landry was taking back his spot. Or Rex's new Jets, who had a need for safety.

By no means am I saying Smith will win the job, but he does have a fair shot at it.

The Eagles or Broncos wanted Leonhard, I forget which one and was offering more money than the Jets.
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 02:31 PM

QUOTE (S-Dubb @ Jun 11 2009, 03:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Interesting prognosis.

It's interesting to hear Eric Smith's name in this manner. I heard he got lucky and caught a few tipped balls in OTA's and stuff like that but anointing him the starter?.. should be interesting.

If thats the case Leonhard should have went someplace else and gotten more money.


Obviously it's too earl to tell... I like Leonhard don't get me wrong, and I'm very happy he is on our team. It's not even TC..but I was alot happier when we gave up Elam instead of Smith on draft day. And yes I liked Elam's intangables. I just think that Eric smith was becoming a scapegoat in Mangini's D. I honestly believe that he is an intelligent player that will pick up this defense very well. The best guy will start, but all I'm saying is to keep an eye on Eric Smith. Nothing better then depth.

And forget moving Lowery to saftey because he is a cornerback, and will be a pretty good one in years to come. Leonhard came here to be the starter no doubt...
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 02:32 PM

QUOTE (Jetsfan0099 @ Jun 11 2009, 03:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Eagles or Broncos wanted Leonhard, I forget which one and was offering more money than the Jets.


Before or after the Broncos signed Dawkins?

Either way, he was going to go to the Jets or Ravens, for the obvious reasons. The familiarity of Ravens, and Rex Ryan at the Jets.

He wasn't given the spot with his contract whatsoever. I do think he keeps it, but Smith will be and is given a fair chance to get in there and snag himself some time.
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 02:45 PM

QUOTE (Amen @ Jun 11 2009, 03:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"Are we talking about practice? Practice?"

He didn't look bad, but I don't buy the starter talk. Not until there's pads and preseason. He did great with Mangini because he was a 'smart' guy who did well in practice. Otherwise, his in-game performances were those of a slow, un-athletic back-up who was in over his head in games.

The real Eric Smith is the guy who stumbles over his own feet in the red zone and misses opportunities.



See Amen this is where we are going to disagree....like we did yesterday. Of course it was only practice! He isn't that slow bro!! He like everyone (with the exception of Revis) were exposed with the vanilla defenses of Mangini. Yesterday you brought up 2 plays that he was exposed on. We could have done that with all our DB's in the 3 years that Eric was here, especially when the QB had much more then average time to throw. It's the nature of the NFL...give the QB too much time to throw and the coverages break down...

Leonhard/Smith..I came away happy with that combo, and feel that we have depth at that particular position...that really is my point..
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 04:52 PM

I got to meet him in his rookie year and I support E.Smith but if he ends up backing up Leonhard he will still be a beast in the secondary when he gets a chance and it won't be like it's a step down when he spells Leonhard on some plays so our Secondary will be solid in '09 and E.Smith will be an impact player in '09
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 04:59 PM

Jim Leonard is a beast and knows the system so he will start like others have said. But the fact that Eric Smith is comming on only helps because you need depth, especially on defense, so when Leonard is taking a break or God forbid he gets hurt, there wont be a huge dropoff if Smith keeps it up.

and Dubbs, i agree with you on Smith about last year, but if the guy is making 3 interceptions in one day, hes def no longer a scrub.
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 08:48 PM

Jets DB Eric Smith draws lofty comparison from Ryan After Thursday's practice (today)

When Rex Ryan was with the Baltimore Ravens he coached some of the best defenders in the NFL, and when Eric Smith grabbed his fifth interception in three days of Jets minicamp, it brought back memories of one of those former players.

" Ed Reed," Ryan said. "That's what that reminded me of."

That is lofty praise for a player that entered minicamp behind Kerry Rhodes and newly signed Jim Leonhard on the depth chart at safety.

Smith has tried to ignore that for now, however, and focus on improving himself every day in practice. With five interceptions already, he is off to a good start.

"I think he's really one of our gems of this camp," said linebacker Bart Scott, whose locker is next to Smith's and has been helping him with the new defense. "I think he's getting more comfortable in the system. He's making big plays. When you make big plays like that Rex will find a spot for you on the football field. It's testament to him, his work ethic and his playmaking ability."

It didn't always look this easy for Smith. When he first learned the defense, Smith struggled often in minicamp, but after Thursday's practice, he couldn't imagine playing in another system.

"This defense makes it fun," Smith said. "It makes it so you can play fast. It's something that I think every defensive player would want to play in."

Smith, perhaps best known for his helmet-to-helmet collision with Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin last September, is in his fourth year with the Jets. Although he had a strong season in 2008 (32 tackles and one interception in nine games), Smith appears to have lost the starting job with Leonhard and Rhodes in his way.

A strong performance in minicamp was something Smith needed, but that progress was almost all erased when he grabbed his right hamstring after an interception, bringing back images of when he hurt his hamstring during training camp in 2007.

"That one time I had no choice but to drop to the ground," Smith said. "This was nothing, I'm fine."

With that brief scare behind him, Smith perhaps did more in his coach's eyes than any other player at minicamp.

"He's really taken off for us," Ryan said. "He's really improving. Here's a veteran player who came in - I don't know if he was a little disgruntled where he was initially on the depth chart - but he just keeps getting better."
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Posted 11 June 2009 - 11:08 PM

wtf an eric smith article?

we need new receivers...
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