Insider Thursday Team Report

Edwards dons the Green and White

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – This wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill Thursday practice at Jets camp.

Sure, the drills may have been the same, and the order in which they were carried out hadn’t changed.  But there was a new face performing those drills today, someone Gang Green hopes can elevate their offense to a Super status.

Newly-acquired wide receiver Braylon Edwards participated in his first Jets practice today, amid the media buzz about the talented former Cleveland Brown’s arrival to the Big Apple.

New Jets WR Braylon Edwards at his first practice with the team. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

New Jets WR Braylon Edwards at his first practice with the team. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

As he went through position drills it was perfectly apparent why the Jets’ front office and Rex Ryan decided this was a guy they had to have.  Edwards has been blessed with an alarmingly imposing physique, his 6′3″ frame towering over some of the defensive backs on the club.  And his problems holding on to balls thrown his way were no problems at all on this day – only one ball thrown in his direction hit the carpet.

His talents are evident, but can he learn enough of the Jets’ offensive system to be available to play Monday night in Miami when Gang Green takes on the Dolphins?  The answer, according to head coach Rex Ryan and Braylon, is a resounding “yes”, as the team intends to start Edwards on Monday night.

“It felt real good,” Edwards said of his first day on the field as a Jet.  “I think I was lucky and fortunate that Rob Chudzinski was the former offensiver coordinator in Cleveland.  Especially because he spent some time in San Diego and worked under Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer).  I know a lot of the terminology.  I was able to pick it up and really move today as opposed to pointing in this direction, that direction.  It went really well.”

“He’s way ahead of where I even thought he’d be,” Ryan said.  “It’s great to see.  He knows the formations already, the verbiage of that.  So he’s at least going to be able to get lined up.  We’re going to have a little system in place where we’ll tell him what the routes are.  He’s way ahead of the game.”

Edwards may be ahead of the game, but it’s the Jets offense who has taken a giant leap forward with him coming on board.

He is the breakaway threat this unit has been starving for.  Teams can no longer stack the box with eight or nine men eliminate the run game, forcing rookie signal caller Mark Sanchez to beat them.  If they do decide to do that, you have Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery on the outside, in one-on-one matchups.  You’d have to like your chances if you’re the Jets if that situation arises.

Having a player of Edwards’ caliber on the outside opens everything up in the middle of the field, which is why Thomas Jones, Leon Washington and tight end Dustin Keller should be ecstatic this guy is wearing their colors now.  You can talk about the dropped passes all you want – you know in the New York media, every dropped pass is going to be a newsworthy event.

But it’s the threat of Braylon Edwards that the Jets needed.  The threat of a big-play receiver on the outside.  Jerricho Cotchery is a top-flight receiver in the NFL, but there’s only a small handful of wideouts who can both command, and still be successful when a doubleteam comes their way.  Having Edwards means single coverage for Cotchery, a situation in which he can immediately excel.

Putting Edwards on the field with the Jets offense makes every player on the unit better, including Sanchez.  His presence alone will create positive changes to a unit that wasn’t very far away from being outstanding.  With another weapon at their desposal, this move could prove to be a huge one as the season progresses.

BRAYLON EDWARDS FIRST PRACTICE PICS

INJURY UPDATE

On the injury front, cornerback Donald Strickland did not practice Thursday, still hampered by the ankle injury he suffered in the Patriots game.  Tackle Damien Woody also did not practice today due to a foot injury, and it’s uncertain whether or not either will play Monday against the Dolphins.  Jerricho Cotchery, Kerry Rhodes and cornerback Lito Sheppard were limited in practice today, but all are expected to play against Miami.

On the positive side, linebackers Larry Izzo (hamstring) and Bryan Thomas (wrist), and safety Jim Leonhard (knee) all participated fully in practice today.

MONEY MAY MAKES A HOUSE CALL

If the Jets want to be champions, they need to surround themselves with champions.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., regarded as pound-for-pound the best boxer in the world, paid a visit to practice to provide some inspirational words to Coach Ryan’s Jets, and issue a warning to kicker Jay Feely.

“He did have a message for Feely,” Ryan said.  “He said, ‘Don’t be missing any field goals.’ ”

As for his message to the team, Mayweather gold Gang Green that he loves their style of play, and that they’re currently in the top five teams on “Money May’s Power Rankings”.

“It’s kind of neat that here’s a guy in another sport altogether, but he enjoys football and enjoys watching the Jets play,” Ryan said.  “It was great to have him out there.”

The Jets return to the practice field Friday for a practice session beginning at 11:50 AM.  Be sure to check back to JetsInsider for all your news and updates.

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