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Jets Training Camp Recap: Chris Harper Continues to Impress

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NFL: New York Jets-Minicamp Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Here are some thoughts on last night’s Jets Green and White Practice.

Chris Harper continues to make an early case for a roster spot: Chris Harper has been one of the surprising standouts for the Jets early in training camp. The wide receiver position on the Jets is a land of opportunity for unestablished players. There aren’t any players with NFL track records so in addition to roster spots, there is legitimate playing time to be earned in training camp. Harper looked very good on Saturday night. He ran a great corner route in 7 on 7 drills to get open for a touchdown. He later shook Buster Skrine for a long touchdown in the 11 on 11 portion of the practice.

As a sidenote, Harper wears number 3. The only other wide receiver I can remember wearing number 3 in the NFL was Victor Cruz in his rookie preseason when he torched the Jets. Maybe Harper has some more magic for the number.

Marcus Maye takes one the distance: Maye’s rookie safety partner Jamal Adams missed Saturday night’s practice as he recovers from an ankle injury. The second rounder made perhaps the most memorable play of the evening, making a great break on a Josh McCown pass to intercept it and then making an electric return for a touchdown. I though McCown was late on his pass, but it was still a great break by Maye.

Protection Issues: I thought the Jets were allowing free runners on blitzes up the middle too frequently. It isn’t necessarily a big deal. It happens at training camp when offensive line combinations get shuffled. It also is possible the way the quarterbacks were setting the protection was the problem. Without the benefit of replay to do a diagnostic reconstruction of the protection, it is impossible to say. It would be good to see this cleaned up quickly, though.

Quarterback Musings: It felt like the defense carried the night. The offense had a few moments, but it was generally a struggle. Watching Bryce Petty from drills to the 7 on 7 portion to the 11 on 11 portion, I noted how frequently he was late on his throws. He had a rough evening. Christian Hackenberg had one shining moment, stepping up in the pocket late in practice and drilling a touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett over the middle. Dealing with the pass rush was an issue for him, though. I counted 3 sacks in the 11 on 11 drills, all of which looked like the result of him holding onto the ball too long, an issue that plagued him in college. I felt like Josh McCown was the steadiest of the group, but that was more by default. McCown, after all, did throw the interception to Maye.