Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Milliner facing big (as in 'full') offseason as sophomore


Dee Milliner looked the part of a raw rookie cornerback for much of 2013, getting burned and benched multiple times through the first three quarters of the season.

He had a strong finish, snagging three interceptions and batting down 10 passes in the New York Jets' final two games of the season, though he would've preferred the growing pains not last as long as they did.

The lack of offseason work and limited preseason prep didn't help.

After being drafted by Gang Green No. 9 overall, Milliner was sidelined for two minicamps, spring practices and part of training camp while he rehabbed a shoulder injury. He also missed some of the preseason with a hamstring ailment.

Now healthy, the young defensive back will have a real, full load of offseason work. His head coach thinks it will make a difference.

"I know these are voluntary workouts but I think that's important that he has a good offseason," Jets coach Rex Ryan said Monday, via NewYorkJets.com. "Obviously, he really couldn't train his body the way you would want to almost for the entire season.

"I think it will be big for him to just get confidence and to make sure he is physically well. I think that will really help. It will help any player, but I think in his case being here for the OTAs and all that kind of stuff would be great."

Milliner is the leader in the clubhouse for the No. 1 corner gig given Antonio Cromartie's departure and the team's failure to bring in a big-name free agent to man the perimeter. Dimitri Patterson, Kyle Wilson, Darrin Walls and a few other borderline nickel backs -- and maybe another rookie -- will battle for the No. 2 and 3 spots on the Jets' corner depth chart.

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