The early season struggles of rookie cornerback Dee Milliner are well documented and will likely keep the No. 9 overall pick from starting this Sunday against the Bills.
Milliner has had difficulties adjusting to the professional game, looking very uncomfortable in press coverage. His cushion on wide receivers is too great allowing them to get inside on slants and a variety of dig routes.
Those struggles led him to being benched last week in the Jets loss at the Patriots in favor of cornerback Darrin Walls.
Milliner said that “practice has been going great” so far this week but he doesn’t know yet if he will start. He will be on the field in some capacity, however.
“I don’t know. Coach still hasn’t made the decision,” Milliner said. “I will be on the field somewhere.”
There is always going to be a learning curve when adjusting to the NFL and the cornerback position in the Jets defense is a vital one. Head coach Rex Ryan’s defense calls upon cornerbacks to press and be physical at the line, something Milliner still needs to improve on.
What hasn’t helped matters is that Milliner missed the offseason — from rookie minicamp to offseason workouts to June’s minicamp — as he recovered from shoulder surgery. Then he missed the first several days of training camp with a holdout. He started behind the curve and hasn’t fully caught up.
The rookie, who the Jets rated as the top cornerback in the draft and one of the four best players on their board, doesn’t see the time away from the field as hurting his transition.
“I did miss some time but I don’t feel like that’s an issue,” Milliner said. “I’m just out there again getting into a rhythm and doing more reps. I’ll be fine.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.