CORTLAND, N.Y. (AP) Geno Smith, Michael Vick and the New York Jets’ offense still have plenty to work to do.
Rex Ryan’s defense kept his offense out of the end zone in the team’s scrimmage Saturday night at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
”I’m pretty sure that goes down as a win in my book,” defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson said with a smile.
Smith, looking to retain the starting job, finished 7 of 14 for 84 yards – including two drops and two others that were nearly intercepted.
”We didn’t score enough points as an offense,” Smith said. ”We got down into the red zone two or three times, had an opportunity to score and only came away with three points. We’ve got to do a better job of capitalizing once we get down into the red zone and taking full advantage of our opportunities.”
As Smith was talking to reporters, a post-scrimmage fireworks show started and he stepped back and looked to the sky.
”Let’s enjoy the fireworks,” he said with a grin. ”That’s the best part of this whole night, right now.”
Vick, expected to back up Smith or step in if he falters, was 7 of 13 for 47 yards and also ran for a team-leading 35 yards.
”As an offense, you always want to try to put points on the board, (but) we couldn’t do it,” Vick said. ”Our defense is extremely tough. I don’t know if they game planned for us in one day or what, but they did a good job.”
The two quarterbacks each took snaps with the first- and second-team offenses as the Jets prepare for their preseason opener Thursday night at home against Indianapolis.
”Overall, I was really pleased,” Ryan said. ”If we’re looking at it from the numbers, saying, `Well, hey, we never threw `X’ amount of touchdowns’ – all right, no touchdowns – it was much more competitive than that. I tip my hat.”
Ryan highlighted the offensive line’s protection of the quarterbacks, and was impressed by the defense’s tackling. He also wasn’t too concerned that the offense was held to a few field goals by Nick Folk and Andrew Furney.
”We had the 1’s with the 1’s and it wasn’t like we’re softening up,” Ryan said. ”We hope we don’t give up a whole lot of points. … I think when we tee it off for real on Thursday night, we’ll probably put up some points.”
Vick, who along with Chris Johnson got perhaps the biggest pre-scrimmage ovations, drew big cheers again when he took off on one play and ran for 20 yards.
”Shoot, my gosh,” Ryan said. ”The dude can flat fly.”
Greg Salas, trying to win a roster spot, had five catches for 54 yards. Stephen Hill had a 41-yard reception on a toss from Smith.
Eric Decker, signed in the offseason to give the Jets a No. 1-type wide receiver, had one catch for 7 yards while playing in just a few series. He has a minor hamstring issue, but expects to play in the preseason opener.
”I feel good,” he said. ”At this point, I just want to be smart. I don’t want to do anything stupid.”
Johnson, another big free agent signing, ran five times for 14 yards.
”It’s my first time in contact since last year,” said Johnson, who had offseason knee surgery. ”You know, those butterflies, and just going out there and wanting to test my knee out against full contact and (being) tackled to the ground. I came up feeling good.”
Ryan’s defense was impressive, particularly on a goal-line stand by the backups. Daryl Richardson was stuffed on three straight runs, and Garrett McIntyre capped the possession with a sack on fourth down.
”It was awesome,” Ryan said. ”Love it as a defensive coach.”
Jason Babin, signed just before training camp began, was credited with two sacks.
First-round pick Calvin Pryor spent the scrimmage on the sideline as he continues to recover from a concussion. Cornerback Dexter McDougle, the team’s third-rounder, also sat out with a groin injury. Second-rounder Jace Amaro was held without a catch.
Linebacker Jermaine Cunningham suffered what appeared to be the only significant injury. He needed to be helped off the field and couldn’t put any weight on his right leg. Ryan was uncertain of the severity.
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