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New Jersey – It’s time for a heaping helping of Dan’s Training Camp Whispers you won’t read elsewhere. Sign-up now for just $7.95 a month . . .

There was a lot of blitzing by the Jets’ defense today, and this showed us another reason why Ryan Fitzpatrick is a better option for the Jets to start at quarterback over Geno Smith.

Fitzpatrick is much better at finding hot reads or moving up in pocket to avoid pressure.

Fitzpatrick had a great play today – under pressure, he climbed the ladder in the pocket, moving way up to avoid edge pressure, and threw a perfect strike over the middle. The pass was dropped by Kenbrell Thompkins, but was a great throw, and a perfect example of his aplomb in the pocket.

Smith had a very rough time with blitzes today. One of the problems for Smith, and a lot of young quarterbacks, is they don’t make quick decisions and process fast enough under blitz pressure. And that is exactly why so many defensive coordinators blitz the heck out of young quarterbacks. We all remember how much Rex liked to do that . . .

So far in camp Wagner’s Julian Stanford has been the third best inside linebacker behind David Harris and Erin Henderson. He’s been much better than Darron Lee. I’m not saying he’s going to be better than Darron Lee. I’m just saying he’s been much better so far. But that isn’t going to matter. I don’t think he’s allowed to be better than Lee, if you know what I’m saying . . .

Stanford was superb in today’s practice. He’s fast, instinctive and tough and was making plays all over the field . . .

Right now at right tackle, with Breno Giacomini out, Brent Qvale and Ben Ijalana are in a straight platoon at the starting spot, alternating series.

If Giacomini does come back from a back injury to re-gain his starting job, these two will end up battling for the backup swing tackle job, and Ijalana would have the edge there because he’s a better left tackle than Qvale. On the right side, I’d say there are even, but on the left side, Ijlana has quicker feet to handle blindside edge pressure . . .

Based on what I’ve seen so far in the spring and in training camp, in my opinion, Christian Hackenberg is a two-year project, not a one-year project.

His footwork needs a makeover. A lot of his passes are low.

But even with the issues he has with mechanics, one thing is abundantly clear in camp – he has rare arm talent . . .

The Jets edge pass rushing from the outside linebacker spots continues to be virtually non-existent.

But I will say one thing in their defense – not having Mo Wilkerson (PUP) and Sheldon Richardson (hasn’t practiced yet while dealing with a family matter), certainly doesn’t help the guys on the outside. Once those two return, they will take up a lot of double teams and create more opportunities for the guys on the outside.

I don’t think the Jets are going to be great in terms of passing rushing at OLB this year, but I do think have all three studs together on the D-Line (Wilkerson, Richardson and Leo Williams), it will help create sack opportunities on the outside . . .

Calvin Pryor (above with Newsday’s Kimberley Martin) exited practice for a bit today with what seemed like a hand injury of some kind. Rontez Miles replaced him. It’s not his fault, but with Pryor’s playing style, it just seems like one malady after another keeps popping up. If he can stay healthy this year, he seems poised for a breakout season. He’s now comfortable in his NFL safety skin. He has a really good feel for what he’s doing out there, especially now in his second season in Todd Bowles’ defenses. Let’s not forget, he had a new playbook thrown at him upon Rex’s departure, which is always tough going from Year One to Year Two.

July 31, 2016

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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