must-win game slip away

01 Mars 2019 03:06


  • FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Geno Smith is unfazed by it all. The presence of Michael Vick doesnt shake his confidence. Neither does his not-so-solid hold on the New York Jets quarterback job. Not even his uncertain status as the future of the franchise. Its all talk, as far as Smith is concerned. More like white noise he can easily tune out. Smith believes in himself. Always has. And now, his teammates are also starting to buy in as well. "Hes taken a quarterback role, hes taken a leadership role and hes always growing," wide receiver Eric Decker said after the Jets first minicamp practice Tuesday. "Hes always maturing, hes always getting better at what he does and hes got a future in the NFL." Smith has transformed from wide-eyed rookie to respected leader in a span of a few months. The second-year quarterback entered minicamp as the starter, ahead of Vick, and Smith intends to keep his spot on the Jets depth chart. "Really, Im a sponge," Smith said. "Im learning as much as I can. Im learning on the fly. Im learning every single day. I just soak it up and continue to work hard." An up-and-down rookie season ended on a positive note for Smith, with three wins in the final four games and the Jets finishing a respectable 8-8. "Really, for me, its just about continuing to stay grounded," he said. "This team has a long way to go and were still working extremely hard to try to reach our ultimate goal." Even as some Jets players have acknowledged being a bit star-struck by Vick, Smith has managed to gain the trust of his teammates -- in the huddle and outside of it. No, there havent been any games. And, no, Smiths body of work doesnt compare to Vicks career. But Smith has taken charge of his situation this off-season, pulling teammates aside on the field to go over plays and studying more film than ever before. When the Jets signed Decker in April, Smith sought out general manager John Idzik to get his new wide receivers phone number so he could welcome him to the team. "I always see myself as a leader and thats in life, in any aspect of my life," Smith said. "Being in this locker room, Ive just continued to be myself and guys gravitate to me because I have just a natural leadership ability, leadership qualities, and thats a part of the reason why Im here in the first place. I just try to continue to push the guys." And make no mistake about it: Smith is pushing himself, too. He knows that last seasons 21 interceptions against 12 touchdowns is no good. He has been working with offensive co-ordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterbacks coach David Lee to improve on his footwork, and going over the playbook in his mind constantly. He is also noticeably bigger physically, the result of increased work in the weight room. "When it comes to being on the field, I just want perfection," Smith said. "I try and chase perfection. I try and be the best I can be at every single practice, every single rep. I think thats what guys are seeing the most." That includes coach Rex Ryan, who was encouraged by Smiths finish last season and has liked what he has seen from him as he tries to build off that. "He knows this offence forward and backward," Ryan said. "And, I think were going to see some great things from him." The Jets have acknowledged that both Smith and Vick are competing for the starting job, but Smith clearly has an edge going in. That could certainly change, especially if Smith falters and Vick thrives in Mornhinwegs system as he did in Philadelphia. Smith isnt planning on that, of course. He also doesnt believe he needed Vick with New York to push him, calling himself a "self-starter." But having Vick around could play an important role in Smith taking that next step as an NFL quarterback -- and a leader of a franchise. "I think G is a great listener, first and foremost," Vick said. "I think any key to success in this sport at our position, you have to have the ability to listen. "I think Geno wants to learn. He wants to be better." NOTES: RB Chris Johnson, rehabilitating a surgically repaired left knee, participated in individual drills, but will not take part in 11-on-11 team periods during minicamp. The Jets are being cautious with Johnson, who signed with New York in April. ... G Willie Colon, recovering from off-season knee surgery, said hes feeling good and fully intends to be ready for training camp. ... The Jets had six players in for tryouts: Punters Drew Butler and Jacob Schum, kickers Andrew Furney and Carson Wiggs, and offensive linemen Bruce Campbell and Ray Dominguez. Butler is the son of former Bears kicker Kevin Butler and spent two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Johnny Bench Jersey .com) - The San Antonio Spurs will try to even their series with the Dallas Mavericks Monday night when the two teams collide at American Airlines Arena for Game 4. Cliff Pennington Jersey .Brooks, a three-year veteran, was slow to get up after suffering the injury during a 5-yard run by Arian Foster.Brooks limped off the field midway through the quarter and then slowly walked to the locker room a few minutes later. http://www.redsgearshop.com/Reds-Joey-Votto-Kids-Jersey/ . That assertion is getting harder and harder to make, especially given the way 23-year-old Danilo Gallinari has been playing this season. Drew Storen Jersey . One out away from finishing off an impressive shutout, they let a must-win game slip away. Cincinnati Reds Jerseys . With Washington teammate Nene drawing double-teams coming off his big game against the Lakers, Gortat scored 25 points on 11-of-12 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Wizards to a 100-92 win in overtime over Milwaukee on Wednesday night. SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Blake Costanzo had been keeping busy re-tiling his bathroom back home in New Jersey and doing regular yard work. He remained optimistic he would land himself a job, even as free agency lingered into its fourth month. The linebacker and special teams standout rejoined the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday, signing 2 1/2 years after leaving the organization to play for the Chicago Bears. He signed a one-year contract for the veteran minimum of $855,000 for players with seven to nine years of experience. "The biggest thing is this stadium right behind here," Costanzo said of what has changed, looking toward $1.2 billion Levis Stadium. "There are a lot of new faces, but there are also a lot of guys I played with. Its a good opportunity to come out here and play some football again. I was doing too much yard work at home." The 30-year-old Costanzo played 16 games for Chicago last season and finished with nine tackles and a forced fumble while also contributing on special teams. After flying cross country Monday, Costanzo participated in Tuesdays organized team activity, and was one of the last players to return to the locker room after a session in the weight room. He said he spoke to a couple of other teams, but "the timing was right here." "This was a good opportunity for me to come here, compete and maybe help some younger guys they have on the roster," Costanzo said. "My only competition is myself. Im going to try to find a way, whatever it may be." Costanzo is also learning some new aspects of the playbook from special teams coach Brad Seely, who also coached him in Cleveland and brought him to the Bay Area for the turnaround 2011 season, coach Jim Harbaughs first year. "Blake was here with us a few years ago. Hes a great guy -- a guy who comes to work every day and a great team player," linebacker Patrick Willis said. "The guy is going to go out there on game day -- or even practice -- and gives it everything hes got. Were very fortunate to have a guy like that on our special teams. We lost some guys who had been some key special teams players forr us, so to add Blake back is really going to help us out big time.dddddddddddd" San Francisco will count on the depth at linebacker that Costanzo helps provide given All-Pro NaVorro Bowman is recovering from a left knee injury sustained in the NFC championship game. Bowman could miss at least half the season. In addition, linebacker Aldon Smith might face a multiple-game suspension from the NFL for his off-field legal issues over the past two years. Last month, Smith pleaded no contest to three felony weapons charges and two misdemeanour counts of driving under the influence. He faces a sentence ranging from spending no time in custody to a maximum of four years and four months in jail. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced July 25, two days after the 49ers open training camp in Santa Clara. He left the facility Tuesday offering a thumbs-up. "For us, its not something we worry about. Hes out here working. Hes practicing every day," Willis said. "Hes working out every day. Hes been a great teammate. Thats our focus right now: worrying about the present. When that time comes, whatever is decided, thats what it will be. Well have to get better as a football team. If hes not out there, then as with last year, some of the guys will have to step into his place and play big time." Nose tackle Ian Williams believes he will be full strength or close to it by the start of training camp next month. A first-year starter, Williams 2013 season ended with a broken leg and torn ligaments in his left ankle in Week 2 at Seattle. He has had four surgeries since, the most recent in February to have a metal plate removed. "It took a lot out of me," Williams said. "Things happen for a reason. Im back, though, Im back." NOTES: Not on the field during team drills Tuesday: WRs Stevie Johnson, Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, TE Vernon Davis and RG Alex Boone. The teams mandatory minicamp is June 17-19. ... New T Jonathan Martin worked out on the side and in the weight room as he recovers from mononucleosis. ... The Niners waived guard Al Netter on Tuesday. ' ' '
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