Ed Reed did not practice on Thursday but that doesn't mean he had the day off. After all, he still needs to hold down a seat next to Dee Milliner.
Since the arrival of Reed four weeks ago, Milliner has had a steady spot next to Reed in film study, where the future Hall of Fame safety and the rookie cornerback can whisper back and forth to each other. But they're not goofing off; rather it is Reed trying to help the first-round pick through the ups and many downs of his assimilation into the NFL.
Milliner said both he and Reed understood there was a mentorship in place almost from the onset of his arrival at the Jets facility.
“When we're in the film [session], everything he looks at, he sees, he tells me,” Milliner said. “It's just whatever he sees, things that can help me out in a game, he tells me.”
Despite being held back from practice on Thursday, something Reed and head coach Rex Ryan explained is to help keep the veteran safety fresh for Sunday, Reed was still on the field mentoring Milliner and the rest of the secondary. In addition, he still attended film study.
“When he first got here, that was somebody I looked up to, one of the best safeties in the game,” Milliner said. “I knew that when I be around him, he's going to help me out and turn me into a good player. I just try to get around him and do the best I can to listen to him and take in everything he has to offer. He always try to put me wherever he's at next to him so I can try to learn things from him.”
The influence of Reed is trickling down to the rest of the secondary. When he walked into the locker room on Thursday afternoon, Reed reminded cornerback Kyle Wilson they were “going to start film early today.” It is clear Reed has a large role in the film study preparation for the unit.
As for not practicing on Thursday, Reed said it has happened before, and will likely happen again.
“Yes, it’s nothing new to me. I did it in training camp last year, years before,” Reed said. “Once you hit 30, in the football world, coaches tend to take care of the older guys a little bit differently than the younger guys, which is expected and what should be done, so they can be productive because you get paid for Sunday.
“I actually get paid for the week days,” Reed joked. “Let me take that back. Sunday is fun day.”
Jets notes ...
» One day after he missed practice due to a head injury suffered last Sunday, Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie was limited in practice on Thursday and wore a red noncontact jersey. Ryan wouldn't say if enough progress had been made in the concussion protocol for Cromartie to be cleared for the Panthers game this weekend.
“I feel good about his progress but again, the big thing is I'm not saying he's going to play,” Ryan said. “Doctors make that determination. Quite honestly, that decision isn't made until game day.”
» If Cromartie is unable to play, Ryan reiterated that either Ellis Lankster or Darrin Walls would step up, not fourth-year cornerback Kyle Wilson. Wilson already has a role on the team in the nickel package and Ryan doesn't want to take him out.
“Kyle, he's our full-time nickel, and that's a huge assignment by the way,” Ryan said.
» Wide receiver Stephen Hill missed practice yet again with a knee injury. His outlook for Sunday is beginning to look bleak.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.