CORTLAND, N.Y. — Mark Sanchez tossed a pass that zipped through the end zone, over a fence and onto the roof of a golf cart parked on the other side.
And, it was a good — and smart — play.
Rather than try to force it to a receiver who wasn't open during red zone drills Monday, the New York Jets quarterback threw the ball away so that no one could reach it. For a guy who has been plagued by 52 turnovers in the last two seasons, this was progress.
"I felt good," Sanchez said.
Sanchez was mostly mistake-free in perhaps his best practice of training camp, while rookie Geno Smith threw two interceptions in 7-on-7 drills.
The competition between the two for the starting quarterback job remains tight, and coach Rex Ryan is not sure who will start the preseason opener at Detroit on Friday night. But Ryan added that both Sanchez and Smith will work with the first-team offense during the game.
"Today's practice was sloppy," a disappointed Ryan said before later adding, "one guy I'll say came out to practice was Mark Sanchez. I thought he was sharp."
After a lousy performance in the team's scrimmage Saturday, that included him getting booed by fans after an interception, it was a day of redemption for Sanchez. While it was hardly an eye-popping day — he was unofficially 6 of 9 in team drills — he appeared in command the entire session and kept the mistakes to a minimum while running the first-team offense.
Sanchez had a nice drive in 11-on-11s that was capped by a 6-yard touchdown toss to Bilal Powell on a third-down play.
"Calls came in quick, got in and out of the huddle, had great tempo, good pace, good mix of runs and passes, screens, everything," Sanchez said. "It was kind of the way that we want to run things, you know, in a nutshell in one drive, and that looked pretty good."
Oakland first-round draft pick D.J. Hayden will not play in Friday's preseason opener against Dallas.
Hayden suffered a slight hamstring pull in training camp on Monday but Oakland coach Dennis Allen said the decision to hold the rookie cornerback out was related to Hayden's recovery from offseason abdominal surgery.
"We'll see where he's at when we come back to work Wednesday," Allen said. "It's more of a relation to the surgery that he had this offseason as opposed to the heart condition."
Hayden was rushed into surgery last November for a tear of the inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries blood from the lower half of the body to the heart, after a collision in practice. Doctors had to cut through Hayden's sternum to save him. The injury is 95 percent fatal.
The 23-year-old had his offseason cut short when he underwent surgery in late May to remove scar tissue from his abdominal region.
The 12th overall pick in this year's draft, Hayden has practiced every day but has been wearing a red jersey normally reserved for quarterbacks and kickers because he has not been cleared for contact yet.
Buffalo isn't giving up on re-signing star safety Jairus Byrd to a long-term contract.
Team president Russ Brandon told the Associated Press on Monday that it's his intention to take another run at reaching a multiyear deal with Byrd, who starred at Oregon, next offseason despite a failure to secure one this year.
Brandon called the prospects of re-signing Byrd as being "absolutely" realistic even though negotiations with the two-time Pro Bowl player have reached a stalemate.
"Obviously, our goal was to have that done by July 15. We didn't meet that goal," Brandon said, referring to an NFL-imposed deadline that passed to reach a multiyear deal. "But we'll pull up our boot straps, and as soon as we can start on that again, we will."
Under league rules, re-opening talks on a long-term deal will have to wait until this season's over.
The more pressing concern is when — or if — Byrd intends to report to the Bills this year. Byrd remains unsigned because he has yet to accept the one-year, $6.9 million offer from the Bills in designating him their franchise player in March.
Peyton Manning's health is no longer the big issue in Denver. Now, it's whether his offensive teammates can stay on the field with him.
Joel Dreessen, Denver's best blocking tight end, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Monday and is expected to miss the remainder of training camp, and Broncos right tackle Orlando Franklin limped off the field early during Monday's practice with an injured hip and did not return.
Franklin went down on the first play of team drills. While trainers attended to him, the offense and defense changed directions so they could keep practicing while Franklin was down on the field.
After several minutes, Franklin got up and walked off the field on his own, appearing to favor his right leg.
Franklin's injury was the latest on Denver's offensive line. After the third-year veteran went out, guard Louis Vasquez moved into his spot and recently signed Ryan Lilja moved to right guard. Manny Ramirez has been filling in at center while Chris Clark is playing left tackle in place of Ryan Clady, whose surgically repaired right shoulder is still healing.
Clark is set to protect Manning's blindside Thursday night in the Broncos' preseason opener at San Francisco.
New Orleans' top wide receiver returned to the practice field Monday, and the team also signed a pair of receivers to bolster an injury-riddled group.
While Marques Colston returned from the physically unable to perform list, the Saints signed six-year NFL veteran Steve Breaston and re-signed rookie free agent Brent Leonard.
Colston missed the first 10 days of training camp with a foot injury. He said that Monday's practice had been a target date for a return to the field.
"It's about time I started camp," said Colston, whose 58 career touchdowns are a franchise record. "These guys have been out here working for (10 days). They're really in football shape."
Breaston, who was signed after a workout with New Orleans earlier Monday, has 255 career receptions with Arizona and Kansas City. He was released by the Chiefs in February.
Leonard, who played collegiately at Louisiana-Monroe, returned to the Saints roster six days after being waived.
Former 1,000-yard rusher Peyton Hillis is hoping a change of scenery will help him get a once-promising NFL career back on track.
The sixth-year pro signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month and is competing for a job to play behind Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin.
Hillis rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and scored 13 touchdowns for Cleveland in 2010, however he hasn't been nearly as productive over the past two seasons with the Browns and Kansas City Chiefs.
Martin ran for more than 1,400 yards as a rookie in 2012, but the Bucs don't have an established backup. They are giving Hillis, another veteran Brian Leonard and rookie Mike James a chance to earn the role.
"I'm here, trying to do the best that I can," Hillis said. "I've been humbled over the past couple of years, and I'm just happy to be in a place they want me to be and a place where I can try to produce again."
Hillis entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick in 2008 and started eight games in two seasons with the Denver Broncos. He moved to Cleveland three years old ago and flourished in a featured role with the Browns, rushing for 1,177 yards and catching 61 passes for another 477 yards.
Browns running back Trent Richardson is in full pads and practicing for the first time since Thursday.
The second-year pro was held out of Cleveland's two previous training camp sessions with a bruised right shin, but coach Rob Chudzinski said the move was strictly precautionary. Richardson was inadvertently kicked in the lower right leg during practice Thursday.
Richardson missed the Browns' entire minicamp in June with a lower right shin strain. The third overall pick in the 2012 draft did not play in the preseason last year after undergoing a pair of knee surgeries. Cleveland opens its preseason schedule Thursday at home against the St. Louis Rams, and Richardson has vowed he will be on the field for the game. Chudzinski will update Richardson's status following practice.