It has not been a good week for Jets rookie Dee Milliner.
After a rough showing last Saturday in the Jets second preseason game, Milliner was a scratch from practice today as head coach Rex Ryan refused to commit to playing the first-rounder this weekend.
Milliner, who missed all of the offseason including rookie minicamp and workouts in addition to minicamp, had shoulder surgery this past March for an injury dating back to college. Milliner stretched with the team on Tuesday but then worked with the trainers including extensive stretching and riding the stationary bike.
“He had a sore calf,” Ryan said. “And I think that’s still it. It hasn’t been getting a whole lot better. When the trainers came to me and said, ‘Let’s give him some time,’ that’s what we do. We listen to the experts.”
Smith should play Saturday
The Jets are no closer to naming a starting quarterback even as rookie Geno Smith enjoyed a solid day, throwing just one incomplete pass during team drills. The competition between Mark Sanchez and Smith appears relatively tight and Smith practiced with the first team on Tuesday for the second straight day as part of the alternating schedule between the two quarterbacks.
Ryan was unwilling to name the starter for this Saturday’s game against the Giants but he doesn’t see the continuing competition as a hindrance to the team.
“I don’t believe it sets us back. We’ll let other teams choose to name their starters whenever,” Ryan said. “But for us, we’re not comfortable making that decision.”
Third-string quarterback Greg McElroy practiced again with a knee brace on his left leg and he told Metro only he has “a lower-leg injury.” He said that he practices with the brace on from time to time and he was unwilling to commit to a timetable for a return to the field.
McElroy was active for Saturday’s win over the Jaguars but did not play after sustaining the injury the week before.
Ducasse still a factor
The Jets gave Stephen Peterman some reps at center, giving the guard a chance to provide some depth behind Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold. At left guard, fourth-year lineman Vlad Ducasse was slotted in with the first team and got soundly beaten on one play by linebacker Antwan Barnes.
Last summer, Ducasse was engaged in a competition to start at left guard with former Jets offensive lineman Matt Slauson, a battle that Ducasse did not win. Ducasse, a 2010 second-round pick, has bounced around between both tackle positions and now playing in the interior.
It may be an up road bettle for Ducasse to make the team but he is content to bounce around between multiple positions. Last year, he even worked in at jumbo tight end.
“Maybe I’ll play center tomorrow, who knows?” Ducasse told Metro. “But versatility is the key in the NFL and if I’m one thing, I’m versatile.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.