Jets won’t bench struggling rookie Dee Milliner yet

Dee Milliner
Dee Milliner has not been able to help consistently in the secondary.
Credit: Getty Images

Two days ago, Jets head coach Rex Ryan announced quarterback Geno Smith would be the starter for this Sunday’s game against the Raiders, even after the rookie was benched at halftime of this past Sunday’s loss. Ryan wouldn’t make the same assurance about rookie cornerback Dee Milliner on Wednesday, as he said the evaluation is still ongoing.

It has been a tough rookie season for Milliner, who like Smith was benched on Sunday for the third time this season. He’s struggled in man coverage and seems confused presnap. One Jets defensive player told Metro that Milliner “doesn’t always seem confident in what is asked of him” when he’s on the field.

But Milliner wasn’t concerned about his performance against the Dolphins.

“I felt it went good. These past few games I did good. I played good,” Milliner said. “I had a missed tackle right there on Mike Wallace late in the game, some other missed tackles, but I felt I had a good game.”

Milliner said that the coaching staff hasn’t indicated if he would start on Sunday.

According to the Advanced Football Stats website, Milliner is ranked as the No. 97 overall cornerback in the league, a sign that the first-round pick is far from the immediate answer at the position. He has struggled in his press coverage and consistently gets caught on the outside on slants and underneath routes.

His instincts have also been consistently poor this year, although he did break up a career-high two passes on Sunday in the loss to the Dolphins.

“Dee I understand has had some struggles. [I am] not making excuses for him but he’s a rookie corner,” Ryan said. “I don’t know any other rookie corners who have come right into the league outside of Revis that jumped right in. I think we’ve been a little spoiled here with the corner play. I think to me, overall, it has been a great class [of rookies].”

Jets notes …

» With the recent signing of safety Ed Reed, safety Antonio Allen has seen a significant decrease in snaps as the defense has conceded more passing yards than at any point during the season.

“I need to figure out a way to get this young man on the field more,” Ryan said of Allen.

» Tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) did not practice on Wednesday but Ryan said that it was a preplanned absence and that he will practice on Thursday. In addition, wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley were limited in practice.

» Also limited in practice was defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson with a wrist injury. Wilkerson told Metro that the injury happened a few weeks ago but is nothing major.

“I’ll be out there on Sunday,” Wilkerson said. “You know that.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


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