Jets practice squad has hands full emulating Brady, Gronkowski

Greg McElroy.

This week in Jets practice, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski go by the names Greg McElroy and Hayden Smith.

The second-year McElroy, third on the depth chart at quarterback, and the rookie Smith, a rugby player transitioning to tight end and currently stowed away on the Jets’ practice squad, are playing the part of Brady and Gronkowski this week on the Jets’ scout team. It is a tall order, as Brady is considered one of the best quarterbacks of all-time and Gronkowski has turned into the prototypical pass-catching tight end of his generation.

Neither McElroy nor Smith have played in an NFL game.

“I feel like I’ve watched Tom play as long as I can remember. He’s one of my favorites to watch. He’s an amazing player. I’ve been trying to emulate his body language, his approach to the line, his cadence [and] how he directs MIKE (middle insider linebacker) points and things like that,” McElroy told Metro. “But he’s a fun guy to try and simulate. He’s incredibly difficult to simulate. He’s one of the best to play in the league.”

This is the first time that McElroy has simulated Brady, a task that had fallen to former Jet Kevin O’Connell, a former Patriots quarterback who had stints with the Jets the past three years. His familiarity with the Patriots system made it a natural fit. But now McElroy must give the first- and second-team defenses a reasonable facsimile of a seven-time Pro Bowl selection.

The challenge is equally steep for Smith. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gronkowski has rewritten the way tight ends are used in the NFL.

Fortunately for Smith, he admires Gronkowski and studies him already.

“I think he uses his body very well in receiving. He gets separation and then uses his size to his advantage. He’s obviously very good with his hands. He takes the ball very well over his shoulder which can be very difficult to do; it’s a great skill to have. From the run game, his footwork is really good. From my perspective, [he]’s a good player to watch,” Smith said.

“He’s obviously a class player. He’s well-rounded and does so many things well. Across the board, he truly is, there’s so much for me to learn and I have been just watching film on him and seeing that, trying to be that. It’s a good benchmark for me.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

City Council to vote on bill banning anonymous…

One of the two bills would make it so any type of communication paid for or okayed by a campaign disclose that they are involved in any way.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Movies

Review: 'To Be Takei' has George Takei's charm…

Actor, activist and Internet star George Takei gets a life-spanning documentary in "To Be Takei," which captures his charm and passion.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Aug. 20: 'Extant,' 'Legends'…

See a two hour block of Halle Berry's scifi show, "Extant."

The Word

The Word: Mischa Barton in trouble, not that…

  People are really, really worried about Mischa Barton. Again. The former "O.C." star is reportedly in deep financial trouble and can't seem to get…

Movies

Review: 'The One I Love' has a top…

Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass play a frayed couple who happen on something mysterious in "The One I Love," which we can't spoil.

NFL

Jace Amaro continues to deal with issue dropping…

Jets second-round pick Jace Amaro has been plagued by drops since minicamp in June.

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

Parenting

Fun family activity: Off-Broadway show for pre-teens

"The Love Note" is an off-Broadway musical your pre-teen won't roll his or her eyes at.

Parenting

Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung to release…

Barnes & Noble releases the first full android tablet optimized for reading.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Food

The Chic Wife tells us how to use…

Kris Schoels, aka The Chic Wife, grew up on a farm with peach trees. August is National Peach Month, but Kris Schoels doesn’t need a reason…