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Posted 27 Jul 2014Dee Milliner's confidence evidently was not shaken by his inconsistent rookie season with the New York Jets.
Milliner, who will enter his second NFL season as the Jets' top cornerback, told the New York Daily News that he believes he is the league's best player at the position.
"The best corner in the league? Me," Milliner told the Daily News in an interview Saturday. "I ain't gonna say that somebody else is better than me."
A first-round draft pick who was benched multiple times last season, Milliner made positive strides down the stretch in 2013. He clearly feels that his late-season surge will carry over into 2014.
"I'm not going to say somebody that plays the same position is better than me," Milliner said. "Don't care if they've been in the league 10 years and I've been here five months. That's how it's going to go.
"I'm the best. I'm not going to say that another man that plays the same position ... and say he's better than me? I can't do that."
Milliner's lofty aspirations also include an eventual place in the Hall of Fame.
"I want to be great," he said. "That's the difference between the players that are in the Hall of Fame and not in the Hall of Fame. ... You want to do great things. That's what I want to do."
Milliner figures to be tested early and often in his second year, as the Jets will have to contend with some of the NFL's top wide receivers over the first two months of the season, including Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Marshall and Jordy Nelson.
But Milliner claimed that he is "not worried" about any expectations placed on him.
"They say the pressure is on, but I ain't worried about it," Milliner said. "I'm not worried about pressure. I go out there and do what I'm coached to do."
Last December, Milliner was selected as the NFL's defensive rookie of the month after getting 27 tackles, three interceptions and 13 passes defensed. He was also the AFC's defensive player of the week after intercepting two passes in the season finale at Miami.
"I love the way he ended, but there's guys that never get on a field and nobody talks about them," Jets coach Rex Ryan told reporters Saturday. "Did he go through growing pains? Absolutely, but he was in the fire.
"So, right now, it's nothing to him. He's out there, let's go. And his teammates, believe me, they're definitely confident in Dee Milliner."
Posted 22 May 2014Chris Johnson will take his time before making an on-field debut with the New York Jets.
The veteran running back -- who signed with the Jets in April -- told reporters Thursday that his surgically repaired knee feels good, but he'll probably sit out organized team activities, according to ESPNNewYork.com.
"I think theyâre gonna hold me out of OTAs and just let me continue to rehab until I get 100 percent," Johnson said. "Take it slow, since I have time on my side, and just be ready for (training) camp."
Johnson suffered a meniscus tear in his knee in Week 3 last season with the Tennessee Titans. He played through the injury, finishing with a career-low 3.9 yards per carry. He underwent surgery after the season.
With more than 2,000 touches on his odometer and his 29th birthday approaching, the Jets are going to take a very cautious approach with Johnson this summer. Once he does get to full speed, expect Johnson to be on the winning end of a time-share with Chris Ivory.
Posted 17 May 2014Rex Ryan glowed about his first-round safety, Calvin Pryor, following Saturday's rookie minicamp.
"I have a funny feeling he's going to become one of the more popular Jets as this thing gets going," Ryan said. "Smart, instinctive and is on top of it. It's rare that it comes easy and you can see it in there. It's just the way he communicates, just everything. So he has really been everything that we've wanted and then some."
Oh boy, did Rex just find his new football crush?
While the coach was talking up the safety, Pryor was talking up talk.
"That's the main reason I don't wear a mouthpiece," Pryor said of talking trash, per The Star-Ledger. "When you're able to talk trash and you go out there and make plays and hit guys hard, it's just kind of an intimidation factor: 'This guy, he means what he says and he's ready to play.' It's just all fun and games for the most part."
Pryor said trash talking is the persona he displays on the field, not off the field. The 21-year-old hitter said he won't back down because he's in his first year in the NFL.
"With me being a rookie, that doesn't mean anything," he said. "I am who I am. I'm going to talk trash. I'm going to be myself. People who don't like it are just going to have to get used to it."
Pryor was asked if he'd even talk trash to an elite receiver like Andre Johnson.
"He's human, right?" he asked rhetorically. "I have no problem with it at all. We're all football players."
Pryor's brazen attitude sounds eerily similar to that of a man we used to know. Now, who was that guy? Oh, right, the old Rex Ryan.
Posted 4 May 2014Jets quarterback Michael Vick says there won't be a fight with Geno Smith over New York's top job under center.
"Geno's the starting quarterback for that football team," Vick said Saturday, per The Star-Ledger. "Ultimately our goal is to try to help Geno become the best quarterback that he can be. Myself and (third-stringer Matt Simms) are all trying to put him in a position where he can get better from Year One to Year Two."
That flies in the face of LeSean McCoy's assessment, but Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg hinted last week that signing Vick was motivated largely by a desire to help Smith develop into a franchise passer.
"We brought Mike in to compete, to push Geno, and to make Geno the very best he can make him and I want to make sure Mike was ready for that," Mornhinweg said Tuesday. "I had Mike for a year with Donovan (McNabb) there (in Philadelphia). I think this thing is going to work beautifully."
Mornhinweg also acknowledged that Smith would "get a few more reps" during the team's offseason activities but said if Vick is "called upon to play when he's called upon to play, I expect Mike Vick to play at a real high level."
At age 34, Vick wasn't brought to town to create waves and make demands. We're bound to see both passers this season, but the Jets -- here in May -- haven't given up on making Smith their starter of the future.
Posted 27 Feb 2014Phil Simms never is shy about offering an opinion, and the CBS NFL analyst expressed a few Wednesday on this year's class of quarterback prospects to NFL.com columnist Adam Schein on SirusXM's Mad Dog Sports Radio.
The most interesting opinion: "I think if Geno Smith was in this draft class he would be the number one guy, without question."
Yes, Simms is saying that he thinks a quarterback who went in the second round in the 2013 draft is better than any quarterback in this draft. And remember that three quarterbacks -- Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, UCF's Blake Bortles and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel -- potentially could go in the top four in the '14 draft.
Not surprisingly, Simms -- who spent 14 seasons as the New York Giants' quarterback -- had thoughts on each of the top three. Here are some of those thoughts.
(Keep in mind that Simms admitted that "I haven't watched them on coaches' film." He also opined in October that "this 'unbelievable' quarterback class that is coming out -- it is not going to be unbelievable.")
» "It would concern me, and a lot, that he ran a 4.68 at the combine. ... The 30-inch vertical jump? I know it's a vertical jump but, I hate to say it, it bothered me. I expected more explosion. If you're going to be a scrambling, move-around quarterback, I think that's a pretty important thing -- to be explosive and to do these things."
» "The style of play? Does it worry me? Oh, sure it does. Because nobody can play that free and easy in the NFL."
» "The Russell Wilson comparison. ... Russell Wilson is more explosive. He's naturally bigger and stronger than Johnny Manziel. They're not even close in arm strength."
» "He's probably the one I want to watch more than anybody. I saw Blake Bortles play, maybe, I'm going to say five games this year on TV. ... I just didn't think I was looking at potentially a top three or four pick in the draft. I just didn't see that."
» "Yeah, of course, I liked his size [Bortles measured 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds at the combine] and all that. ... At least you have that."
» "The arm from Blake Bortles -- I just don't see him as a, so far, maybe I didn't see it, got to couch it because I said some of these things about Andrew Luck, that I didn't see great throws when he was at Stanford. Boy, I see a lot of them now in the NFL, that's for sure. So he could be one of those guys."
» "I have question marks about him, too. The arm. What is Teddy Bridgewater going to be? You tell me. What does he do that's going to drive him over the top in the NFL as we think of quarterbacks?"
» (asked to characterize Bridgewater's arm) "I'll characterize it, NFL, middle of the pack. ... Solid arm. When I say middle of it, I'm taking about all the quarterbacks in the NFL. It's just an average power arm or whatever."
On the overall quarterback class
» "I think this is a tough class to judge to say there is a true, without question, franchise quarterback ready to be drafted."
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