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Jets Journal

Jane McManus of The Journal News on the Jets.

Updated: Eric Smith, stealth Safety


Eric Smith could not have felt all that secure after Rex Ryan was hired. The former Baltimore defensive coordinator started bring in his guys, including S Jim Leonhard. Then Ryan started stocking the defense backs with familiar talent like CB Lito Sheppard and CB Donald Strickland.

Getting crowded in the backfield.

Smith was playing with the second team during the Jets mandatory minicamp two weeks ago when, over the course of three days, he nabbed five interceptions. The last one was a goofy ball popped up by James Ihedigbo (aka Diggs), which came down within Smith’s grasp.

“I feel 10 times better going from the first minicamp and trying to learn everything,” Smith said. “I was feeling like I was playing real slow and not up to my ability. Now, I’m pretty comfortable with the defense. I feel like I am playing a lot faster and as a result; making more plays.”


Smith got Ryan’s attention, and kept it when he hurt his hamstring after that last play.

Ed Reed, that’s what it reminded me of,” Ryan said “But, he’s really pushing. He really is. When you look at it on paper, you’ve got Jim Leonhard and Kerry Rhodes. That’s a heck of a safety combination. We also have Ihedigbo and Eric Smith.”

[Update, Thurs. a.m.: Just communicated with Smith, who is staying in town for treatment on the hamstring, and he said it was feeling much better now.]

Smith might be best known—or is that notorious?—for a collision with Anquan Boldin last season which left both with concussions. Smith was the one fined by the league, however, for what was deemed a dangerous hit. He always contended that Boldin’s trajectory was changed once both were in the air, and Smith couldn’t have avoided the contact at that point. That was what he gleaned from the replay, because Smith had no memory of the actual collision.

But once training camp starts next month, Smith, 26, will have a fresh start with a coach who clearly likes players who can reach up and snare an interception. Or five.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 at 4:45 pm by Jane McManus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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8 Responses to “Updated: Eric Smith, stealth Safety”

  1. JetOrange

    Eric you are not that photogenic. Maybe there should be some sort of warning for children.
    It is interesting to see which players will succeed in this system. Eric is making his case..

  2. Alex

    Nice story.

  3. JetOrange

    Critical year for Eric . Next year he becomes a Restricted Free Agent, if your not starting it is very difficult for the team to retain you . Remember, Elam, he was Tendered at 1.1 this year, Cleveland offered 1.5, the Jets matched , and of course Elam was dealt on draft day. Jets Have huge money invested in the Safety position with Rhodes and Lenhard. Behind Smith Indigho has shown promise, Eric needs to continue is outstanding play to remain a Jet in 2009 and beyond…

  4. Jane McManus

    On the official Jets head shots, there are a few that do the player no favor. Smith is actually a very normal looking human, but this doesn’t do him justice. Not that they need cheesecake, but the mug shot look is… well, see for yourself.

  5. ProFootballTalk.com - Thursday Morning One-Liners

    [...] S Eric Smith said he’s feeling more secure about his place on the team after [...]

  6. Eric Smith Hangs Tough

    [...] via Jane McManus: [...]

  7. Eric Smith Hangs Tough « wire2

    [...] via Jane McManus: [...]

  8. JetOrange

    Jane , on the Jet website in the team roster section there is an updated picture of Eric. Looks normal, maybe even better than normal…. It would seem to me that it would/ should be a function of of the Jet PR department to destroy any copy of Erics creepy photo…It might be nice if the get it done before they go on their mandated two week furlough.. When does that begin ??

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A team of Journal News reporters share their thoughts on the Jets with the Lower Hudson fans.

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Jane McManusJane McManus joined The Journal News in 1999, after working at The Daily News and Newsday. Since she's been here, she's covered everything from girls basketball to the Final Four, the U.S. Open of both golf and tennis and recreational sports from rock climbing to roller derby (which she liked so much she joined the team). READ MORE
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