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Lightning Bo-LT: Tomlinson shines in Green and White Scrimmage

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

LaDainian Tomlinson still has a little gas in the tank.  Maybe more than a little.

The 31-year-old running back caught two passes for 85 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown dash on the first play from scrimmage, in the Jets’ annual Green and White Scrimmage Saturday night at training camp in Cortland.

LaDainian Tomlinson ripped off a 70-yard TD reception on the first play of tonight's Green and White Scrimmage.

All went according to plan for Tomlinson, who has been faced with questions about his durability and impact since day one of camp.

“It’s pretty exciting, and that’s the point,” he said.  “Like we talked about before, that was my plan,  to show people I can still play this game.  I’ve still got a lot left in the tank.  I think coming out here, people start to see that I have a lot left in the tank.”

No one was more pleased with the former Pro Bowler’s performance than Jets head coach Rex Ryan, who referred to Tomlinson as the “best third-down back in the league.”

“”He’s outstanding as a receiver, out of the backfield and also flexed out,” said Ryan.  “We never had that last year. When Leon (Washington) went down, we lost that.”

Tomlinson’s touchdown reception was a designed go-route where the veteran running back simply beat linebacker David Harris down the left sideline.

“Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer) called the play,” said Tomlinson.  “I knew I had one-on-one coverage and I just wanted to make a play for the team.  Mark (Sanchez) threw a great ball.  I went and got it and scored a touchdown.”

“It’s something we’ve been working on…When you come out here and do it in a game type of situation,  then the coaches really see when the lights are on who’s going to step up.  So it was good to come out here and do that.  We have to continue to build on it and it was a great day today, and it was a good start.  We look forward to continue to make progress with our offense.”

The emergence of Tomlinson would be an added bonus for a Jets offense which led the league in rushing last season and bolstered their receiving core with the acquisition of Holmes this offseason.  If Tomlinson can prove to doubters that ‘09 was indeed a fluke, his playmaking ability out of the backfield, combined with the ground and pound of RB Shonn Greene could elevate the Jets offense to elite status.

“I think that’s our focus,” said Tomlinson.  “We want to be an all weather football team, to be able to go anywhere, and be able to perform at a high level.  Whether we have to run the football, whether we have to throw it, we want to be able to do both.  With the guys we have we can definitely make that happen.”

Tomlinson wasn’t the only Jet making big plays.  WR Santonio Holmes caught balls for 29 and 33 yards and rookie RB Joe McKnight busted off a 25-yard dash and hauled in a 9-yard reception.

“That scrimmage today was amazing,” said Holmes.  “For us to come out and get it done on the first play, Mark (Sanchez) found a mismatch and found LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) running down the sideline.  I think that was a great start to how we want this team to start come the first game of the season.”

Quarterback Mark Sanchez completed 3 of 7 passes for 114 yards and a TD.  K Nick Folk misfired on his only attempt of the scrimmage, a 38-yarder.  WR David Clowney, who missed both of today’s practice due to personal reasons, did not participate or attend the scrimmage.

The announced crowd for the scrimmage was 9,500.

Jets ink QB Brunell to two-year deal

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Sources informed JetsInsider Wednesday night that the New York Jets had closed in on a two-year agreement with veteran quarterback Mark Brunell.

The 39-year-old Brunell figures to serve as a much needed mentor to quarterback March Sanchez as well as another veteran leader in the Jets’ charismatic locker room.

Mark Brunell, signed on Wednesday, will serve as a veteran mentor to Mark Sanchez

Brunell, who spent the bulk of his seventeen-year career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, spent the last two seasons backing up Drew Brees in New Orleans.  Brunell also spent four seasons with the Washington Redskins from 2004-2007.  In sixteen games in ‘09, Brunell completed 15 of 30 passes for 102 yards with one interception.

The Jets’ signing of Brunell figures to signal the end for Kellen Clemens in New York.  The Jets currently have five quarterbacks on the roster: Sanchez, Brunell, Jason O’Connell, Clemens, and Erik Ainge.

Stick with JetsInsider.com for the latest breaking news updates and training camp reports….

Finally showtime

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

On a day when over 12,000 Gang Green faithful packed into the lower bowl of the box-fresh New Meadowlands Stadium for the Jets final minicamp workout, a unique feeling filled the air.  A feeling of change.

A new era had officially begun in New York Jets football.  An era of great fanfare.  An era of HD screens and digital play clocks.  An era of promise.

“The new stadium is great man,” said linebacker Bart Scott.  “It’s top-notch, how could you not love it?  I think the fans will be excited and be happy that they can come here and watch games in this type of top-notch facility.”

Big Chris Jenkins is feeling great and can't wait to make is 2010 debut in the Jets new beautiful building. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

The Jets’ new digs are very much in the same mold of the new Yankee Stadium, not architecturally but conceptually.  Much like the recently opened Bronx ballpark, the New Meadowlands doesn’t start over from scratch but expands and upgrades on an older idea.  The inside of the 82,500 seat arena bares a striking resemblance to it’s predecessor with a few noticeable improvements.

One of the major complaints of the old Giants Stadium was the scoreboard, or lack thereof.  Fans would struggle to view replays and game action on two ancient, 32-by-24-foot, Sony video boards.  That issue has been resolved with the placement of four 30-by-113-foot, high- definition scoreboards in each corner of the upper deck of the stadium.

Another noticeable upgrade is the shortened perimeter around the field.  Fans are now closer to the action than ever before, literally.  The front row of the 50-yard line seats measures only 46 feet from the sideline, the shortest distance in the National Football League by almost ten feet.  There also does not appear to be one bad seat in the house, as the arena is free of obstructed views.

The infamous red seats have been replaced by neutral gray seats which give the arena an almost retro look.  From afar the gray seats almost appear as concrete benches or metal bleachers of the stadiums of yesteryear.  Drastically wider concourses also aid the fan experience, making it easier to get around the stadium for both handicapped and non-handicapped fans.

The improved viewing experience is not however limited to fans.  Members of the media will be in for a real treat as the location of the press box and media workrooms have been lowered to the middle level of the stadium, a far cry from the sky-high press area at the old Giants Stadium.

As if following the game from the press box without binoculars at the old stadium wasnt hard enough, functioning televisions were few and far between.  This issue has also been resolved with the removal of the barriers between the press box windows which obstructed views and the installation of wide-screen high-definition screens throughout press row.

Taking the cake though, in terms of x-to-y upgrades is the new and improved press conference room.  Gone are the days of reporters and cameramen cramming into a room no bigger than a walk-in closet.  The new room is glass-enclosed, about 10x the size of the old one and offers seating for about 200 people.  That’s right, seating.  The days of leg cramps and back pain from standing are officially over.

From top to bottom, the stadium boasts a certain swanky elegance which perfect mirrors its Gang Green inhabitants.  It is a new building for a new era where new memories and new history will be made.  And there seems to be no better emcee than the gregarious Rex Ryan, a true leader with titanic dreams.

Jet fans…it’s finally showtime.

Ahead of the curve

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

First round pick Wilson continues to impress with strong Mini Camp performance

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The sun beat down mercilessly on the practice field at the Jets’ facility Tuesday morning in Florham Park as players, coaches, media members and public onlookers were treated to vexatious 80-degree temperatures.

But no mercury bulb could accurately gauge the play of rookie cornerback Kyle Wilson.  The boy was sweltering out there on the turf, effectively melting each veteran receiver and incoming pass that entered his realm.

Kyle Wilson runs back an interception during 11-on-11 drills at this morning's Mini-camp session. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

David Clowney, Jerricho Cotchery..who’s next?  Then came the big play.

Quarterback Kellen Clemens launched a deepball which hung up in the middle of the field.  Wilson, doing his best Ken Griffey Jr. impression appeared out of nowhere to track down the ball and haul the pigskin into his outstretched arms.  It was off to the races from there as the former Boise State Bronco galloped down the sideline and weaved in and out of defenders.

With nearly 60 yards of ground already covered and only one defender to beat, the 23-year-old stumbled out of bounds.  But not before the ball was knocked out of his hands by Jets receiver Brad Smith.  Live ball.

“Gotta hold on to it,” says Wilson.  Just a learning experience.   I’ve got to learn from that and keep my hands on the ball.”

So goes the trials and tribulations of an NFL rookie.  Kyle Wilson is no exception to the rule, though he sure seems like it to his veteran teammates.

Jets receiver Santonio Holmes first met Wilson before either were members of Gang Green.  Wilson prepared for the draft at famed trainer Tom Shaw’s facility in Florida, where Holmes works out regularly during the offseason.

That was where the education of Kyle Wilson began.  According to Holmes, it’s Wilson’s strong will to learn which has been the biggest factor in his quick progression at the NFL level.

“He always comes around just standing there and I start talking to him,” says Holmes.  “Just teaching him some of the little techniques we use as receivers to beat DBs.  He picked up on these keys and he steals them.”

Jets head coach Rex Ryan agrees with Holmes’ assessment of the team’s first-round pick.  “His study habits and all that,” said Ryan.  “That’s why you’re seeing him progress, a steady climb.  We think he’s got a chance to be a really good one.”

Wilson believes that four years in the Western Athletic Conference prepared him invaluably for the offenses of the NFL.  Going up against the likes of Hawaii and Fresno State’s powerful offensive attacks on an regular basis was the perfect pretest for the rookie.

“The WAC is a passing league so I’ve played many styles of offenses,” said Wilson. “Run-n-Shoot to power run.  You name it, I saw it.”

“I think just playing defensive back, as long as you do your job and stop what’s coming at you, you should be in position to make plays.  Yeah in the NFL, guys are a lot bigger and faster and stronger but it’s still the same for your game.  As long as you excel at your game, you’ll be in position to make some plays.”

Jets slot receiver Jerricho Cotchery, Wilson’s usual sparring partner in practice is a first-hand witness to the rookie’s transformation.  After having his way with Wilson during the early portions of OTAs, the playing field has begun to level off.  The fact that Wilson has adjusted so well to Cotchery, one of the NFL’s premier slot receivers is a very encouraging sign.  Assuming he is able to hold the starting nickelback spot through training camp, Wilson will reguarly be matched up with slot and inside receivers.

“Legit man, he’s legit,” beams Cotchery. ” When he puts it all together, he’s going to be something special. The thing that impresses me the most is how he gets in and out of his breaks.  It’s impressive.”

“He’s ready to go now.  I’ve given him every look possible right now up until this point.  He’s just been soaking it in.  The toughest thing for a cornerback coming into the league as far as technique is being able to see different routes.  We run a variety of routes in the NFL and if you haven’t seem them, it’s going to take a while for you to get a good feel for the routes.  I’ve been running every route possible.  I’ve been giving him every move, every different type of look and release.  I’ve been giving it all to him and he’s been responding pretty well to them.”

“Everything’s starting to slow down a little bit, just getting more comfortable, says Wilson.   “I’m definitely trying to get better each day.”

For now, he just has to remember to put that ball away.

Following his practice fumble this morning, it was Holmes who was the first veteran to get in the rookie’s ear.

“I ran up to him and I tapped him on the shoulder,” recalls Holmes. “I said ‘You’re a punt returner. In the instincts of being in a crowd of people, what are you going to do? (Expletive) why didn’t you do it just then? You cost us the game just now.’  Even though it’s coming from a guy on the other side of the ball, he’s willing to listen and learn.”

Clearly.

Rumor Roundup: June 11

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Conner on board

Friday, the Jets agreed to terms with fullback John Conner, their fifth round selection in April’s draft out of the University of Kentucky.  According to Manish Mehta of The Daily News, the rookie signed a four-year deal worth just under $2 million.  The deal also includes a $199,000 signing bonus and an escalator in the fourth year which raise the deal’s value to $2.73 million.

The team has big plans for the 5-foot-11, 245 pound Conner, who they believe to be the long-term answer at the fullback position.  Veteran fullback Tony Richardson is 38 and will be entering his 16th season in 2010, which figures to also be his last.

Conner is built in the same mold as Richardson, a throwback bruiser who isn’t afraid to take on a pass rusher or two in the backfield.

Sweet Folk music

Maybe the Jets have found their answer at the kicker position, after all.  It sure seemed that way Thursday as incumbent Nick Folk went an impressive 7-for-7 in the afternoon’s OTA session, according to ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini. Folk’s suprising performance included boots from 51 and 53 yards out.

“He made that 51-yarder and that 53-yarder that he nailed right down the middle,” said a relieved Rex Ryan.  “Yeah, that made me feel a little better… I’m sure it made the entire New York Jet fan base feel better today.”

“He was impressive.  In all fairness, he’s got a new holder (and) a new snapper. Now, the great thing is, he’s just lining up and kicking.  There’s no problem.”

If Folk can return to his 2007 Pro Bowl form, it would be a huge lift for a Jets team whose one question mark going into training camp is the kicking game.  Many believed that the team would pursue an established veteran before the regular season based on Folk’s erratic past.

That may not be the case now.   “It looked like an extra point the way he kicked them,” boasted Ryan.

Sanchez impresses in team drills

Quarterback Mark Sanchez, coming off of arthroscopic knee surgery, participated in team drills Tuesday for the first time this offseason.  You could hardly notice.

Mark Sanchez is back on the practice field and feelin' good (JetsInsider.com Photo)

According to Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger, Sanchez showed no signs of rust, appearing comfortable and mobile in 11-on-11 drills.  The former Trojan finished the day 4-f0r-6, including three consecutive completions to Jerricho Cotchery and an impressive roll-out to the newest Jet receiver, Santonio Holmes.

“It’s great, said Rex Ryan. “You don’t even worry about him.  That’s how confident we are right now with where Mark is.”

“That’s just Sanchez out there.  Let him go.  If he gets a little close, we’ll blow the whistle. Seriously, being on the move and doing all those things, you feel great.  I feel super about him.”

To say Sanchez is amped up about his return to the gridiron would be a severe understatement.  After two days of real practice Sanchez says his knee is fine as wine.

“It’s felt great,” the second-year quarterback said Thursday.  “Like we said during this whole rehab process, the big thing is that next day after you try something new, after you really push it one day.  How’s it going to feel on Wednesday after Tuesday’s full practice?  It was awesome.  I hopped out of bed, came in, got my treatment, and I feel great.  Now, the mental side is catching up to the physical side and I feel a lot sharper out there (with) X’s and O’s, calling plays, feeling comfortable in the huddle and really going, so I thought we had a great day today.”

Guess who’s back

Less than a week after causing quite a stir in Florham Park by skipping out on OTAs, cornerback Darrelle Revis was back on the practice field Thursday.

The 24-year-old Revis is still unhappy that an agreement on long-term contract extension hasn’t been reached, but is taking the professional approach.  At least for now.

The All-Pro corner stated Thursday that he will be in attendance for next week’s three-day Mini-Camp.  He wouldn’t make any assurances beyond that, according to Manish Mehta.

Revis says that there will be “changes” if a new deal isn’t worked out soon.  This could include a training camp holdout.

“You’ll know. It’s not going to be hidden,” he said. “This is the time where I need to look at what I did here for three years. If things are not the right way, I need to sit back and view my career and see where I need to go from here and move on.”

“The season I had last year was crazy…So this is a lot of leverage that I do have right now to get to that second contract and get the money that you deserve. I don’t know how long I’m going to play. I could have broken an ankle out there or tore a knee up and my career could have been over.”


Rumor Roundup: June 4

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Hot corner

In what has been an offseason of non-stop positivity and good news around Florham, everything is not well in Jetland after all.

All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis skipped out on Thursday’s OTA session in Florham Park, a clear indication that league’s most dominant defensive back is upset with the state of his negotiations for a new contract.

With contract renegotiations at a stalemate, Revis Island has temporarily closed down. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

The 24-year-old Revis is entering the fourth year of the six-year contract he signed as a rookie in 2007.  Coming off of his most impressive season as a pro, Revis is set to make $1 million in 2010.

Last month, Revis told ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini that the Jets had promised him a new contract before the beginning of the regular season.

“That’s their word. That’s what they said,” said Revis, standing by his locker. “If you go back on your word, it’s a problem.”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I guess we’ll figure it out when July 31 comes. As of right now, we have a bunch of months to get things done. We’ll see. I trust those guys. But I also know this is a business as well. [But] we believe them at their word. If you go back on your word, in general, in world society, when you go back on your word, it’s a problem. It’s just a problem.”

According to multiple reports, Revis and his agent Neil Schwartz are seeking a new deal that would top that of  Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders ($15.2 million per year).  Any such deal would make the fourth-year pro the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan effectively brushed off Revis’ absence at today’s workouts.  “It’s just part of the business,” said Ryan.  “We’ll see what happens.  When there’s time to react or be frustrated, I’ll react.”

“With Darrelle, he’s been here every day up until this.  He volunteered to be here every single day and now he wasn’t here today.  These are voluntary camps, just like there are voluntary workouts, and he’s made every one up until today. I’ve been impressed with him, to say the least, the way he’s worked.”

Manish Mehta of The Daily News reports that the general consensus amongst the Jet players is that both sides will come to an agreement before the start of the season.

“He was here yesterday, so I’m concerned he wasn’t here today,” Tony Richardson said. “That’s the business side of it. It doesn’t concern me at all. Right now, it doesn’t concern me because it’s June. So, we’ll see how this thing progresses.”

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum acknowledged Thursday that Revis’ contact situation is certainly of high priority to the organization.

“Darrelle is everything we believe in on and off the field,” said Tannenbaum. “We told him that shortly after the season. We remained committed to that.  He’s a foundation for this organization.  He’s a role model for our players.  He’s really been great.  I’m really proud to be the GM that traded up for him.  Within reason, we want to sign him to an extension that will keep him here long term.”

Mangold not opposed to holdout

Apparently, Darrelle Revis isn’t the only Jet upset with his current contract situation.

Jets’ Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold is entering the final year of a five-year deal and is slated to make $3.3 million in 2010.  Mangold has made it clear all offseason that he would prefer to get an extension done before the start of the season.

Thursday, the 26-year-old center made it clear that he is not playing games and could possibly holdout if a deal isn’t reached in time for training camp.

“You show you have no problem missing time,” said Mangold. “It’s still voluntary. I wouldn’t say it’s a warning shot, but it’s a flash of morse code that, ‘Hey, we’re aware of what’s going on.’”

Mangold added that he is taking things on a “week to week” basis, not jumping to any conclusions yet.

“As each little step in the schedule goes along, we make decisions…When the time comes, we’ll make another decision. We’ll keep going with a fluid (plan). I’m not going to say rigidly that this is going to happen or that’s going to happen. Because things change. I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth.”

While OTAs are voluntary for all players, next week begins mandatory mini-camp.  Missing mini-camp or training camp would subject Mangold to a fine, something he definitely takes into the equation.
“You’ve got to look at the pros and cons of dropping 16,000 dollars per day, and you’ve got to look, realistically, is it going to change anything?” he said.  “Is it going to light a fire under anybody?  You’ve got to try to judge the best you can because you don’t really know, and you hope to make the best-informed decision that you can.”
“As of right now, it appears Revis is the priority on the list, which I don’t care either way who is the priority and what not, as long as my timeline gets fulfilled.”
For the organization’s sake, hopefully both are fulfilled in a timely manner.

Rumor Roundup: May 28

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Magic words

Rex Ryan is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to become the Jets’ first Super Bowl-winning coach since Weeb Ewbank in 1969.  He’s even reaching out to Hall of Famers outside of his sport.

The Jets head coach revealed Thursday that he recently had dinner with NBA Hall of Famer and former Laker great Magic Johnson at Il Postino in Manhattan.  Ryan was joined by Jets owner Woody Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum, who had originally met Johnson earlier this month at the Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley fight in Vegas.

Call them the "Showtime Jets", head coach Rex Ryan is reaching out to Magic Johnson for advice (JetsInsider.com Photo)

“You try to surround yourself around great people,” said Ryan. “At least that’s what Magic told me anyway (laughing).”

The Jets brass conversed with the the three-time NBA MVP about winning and an establishing a championship-culture within the organization.  The 50-year-old is more than an expert in the field of winning, racking up five championships with the “Showtime” Lakers of the 1980s, four under Hall-of-Fame coach Pat Riley.

“We talked about, as he put it, doing things the Lakers way,” said Ryan.  “The Lakers had a way of doing things.  I just look at our standard as an organization, what we stand for, how we’re going to play, how we’re going to practice, how we’re going to prepare.”

“When new guys come in because you’re going to get new players each year that they have to live up to those standards and buy into those standards.  If they don’t, you have to move on.  That’s something I’ve always been a big believer in, but when you hear a guy like Magic Johnson talk about it and the success that he had, I feel confident that we’re on the right path.”

There is no word yet whether the team has plans to bring in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to work with the receivers…

Wilson takes notes from J-Co

While out-muscling receivers from the WAC is one thing, matching up against slot receivers at the NFL-level is quite another.  This is a lesson Jets rookie corner Kyle Wilson is beginning to learn the hard way.

According to Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger, Wilson was “taken to school” by Jets veteran receiver Jerricho Cotchery during Thursday’s OTA session in Florham.

“Kyle did a great job for the most part, but he (Cotchery) got him a couple (times),” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “The best one was in the red zone.  It looked like Kyle jumped it, the ball went right through his hands, and J-Co catches it for a touchdown.”

Wilson was then burnt a second time by Cotchery, this time during the team’s two-minute drill session.   However the rookie isn’t getting too down about his early mishaps.  To Wilson, it’s all part of the learning experience.

“Just a little bit better than last week,” said Wilson. “Trying to get better day by day.”

“(Cotchery) tells me what he’s looking for, how that’s affecting him. Little things like that, so I understand what the offense is trying to do and what I need to do defensively to counteract that stuff.”

Stitser kicked-out

Less than  two weeks into OTAs, the Clint Stitser experiment has already ended.

The 25-year-old kicker, who the team signed in early April, was released Thursday after missing three field goal attempts during Thursday’s practice.

With the erratic veteran Nick Folk as the only placekicker currently on the roster, Rex Ryan admitted Thursday that the team may look to bring in another kicker.

“Oh, yes… We’ll see,” said Ryan.  “For whatever reason, sometimes kicking and punting, it takes guys a little bit.  Very few guys come into the League as rookies and actually kick or punt in this league.  That young man (Clint Stitser), I don’t think he’s ready right now.  Will he be ready in the future?  Maybe so, but right now I don’t think he’s ready.  We’ll probably move on.”

No Sanchize yet

Quarterback Mark Sanchez, coming off offseason knee surgery, has yet to make a significant contribution in OTAs, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York.

The team continues to be extra cautious with Sanchez, holding the 23-year-old out of team drills, limiting him to individual drills and seven-on-seven drills.

Sanchez is ansy to get back into team action and even snuck into one play during the 11-on-11 sessions on Thursday. “He ran in there,” said Rex Ryan.  “I was like, ‘Whoa. It’s a run. It’s a run.  Ok.  Hand the ball off and get out of the way.’   That’s the first time he’s snuck into a team rep.  Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer) quickly got him out of there.”

Ryan continues to hold that his quarterback is progressing ahead of schedule.  “He’s doing fantastic,” he said.  “He’s probably ahead of where we thought he’d be…I’m waiting.  When our trainers say he’s ready to roll, that’s when he’ll go in there.  He feels great.  He’s pushing us all the time to get in there and that’s where you want him to be.”

Rumor Roundup: May 13

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Jets close to locking up offensive lineman

According to Manish Mehta of The Star-Ledger, the Jets are close to agreeing to terms with free agent center, Robby Felix.  The 6-3, 300 pound Felix spent last season playing for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL.

Felix went undrafted in last year’s draft after an impressive collegiate career at UTEP.  A four-year starter, the Corona, California native earned All-Conference USA honors in all four seasons.  As a senior, Felix was named to the All-Conference USA First Team.

However, after his final home game in El-Paso, the then 22-year-old Felix, suffered a stroke.  Originally slated as a second to third round pick, Felix went undrafted with many teams concerned about his health and if he would ever make a full recovery.

Felix will definitely get a chance to compete for a roster spot during the Jets’ training camp in Cortland, New York.   Currently, the Jets only have one natural center on the roster, Pro Bowler Nick Mangold.

More baby-steps for Sanchez

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has taken yet another small step in his recovery from left knee surgery.  Less than a week after he began running on a treadmill, Sanchez told ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini Wednesday that he is now jogging on turf.   The next step for the second-year quarterback will be to begin cutting and moving the rehabbed knee laterally.

Sanchez maintains that his goal is to be back in time for the team’s minicamp in mid-June.  “”I didn’t want to say anything in February because who knows what could’ve happened?” said Sanchez, speaking at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Wednesday.   “But that was absolutely my goal and I’ve been working hard every day to do that.”

Center Nick Mangold is optimistic that his quarterback will be out there for the start of minicamp on June 14.  “When you’re trying to get stuff done, it’s always helpful to have him out there,” he said. “I know he’s going to be out there moving around (at minicamp).  I don’t know in what capacity.   I know the competitive spirit in him won’t keep him sitting in the training room all day.”

More from Mangold

Entering the final year of his five-year contract, Nick Mangold is getting a bit ansy for an extension, according to Manish Mehta.

“I’d love to get something done before the season,” said Mangold on Wednesday. “It’s a security thing.”

Jets center Nick Mangold would like to get his contract extension done, preferably sooner than later. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

“I’m not a bad guy,” said Mangold. “I don’t believe that I am. I like to believe that I do keep a good guy persona. That’s how I was raised and how I do things. But in the end, it’s still a business. You see that when people get released or brought in. … So I can’t be foolish when the time comes for whatever needs to be done business-wise. … It’s something that I think gets a lot of times overlooked when people are made out to be bad guys for whatever reason. For as much as we hear it’s a business on other side, it’s still a business on our side.”

Mangold is one of four Jets (Darrelle Revis, David Harris, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson) looking to sign extensions within the next year.  A number of the moves the team made this off-season (cutting running back Thomas Jones, trading safety Kerry Rhodes and running back Leon Washington) have predicated on locking up these core players, long-term.

The 26-year-old Mangold, whom the Jets selected with their 29th overall pick in the 2006 Draft, has more than lived-up to the lofty expectations placed upon him.  Since his rookie season in ‘06, Mangold has started all 64 games of his NFL career.   The five-year veteran has been a Pro Bowl selection the past two seasons and an All-Pro selection in ‘09.

Jets owner Woody Johnson has made it clear that the team will do everything in its power to keep Mangold in the green and white uniform.  “He’s one of our guys,” said Johnson. “The timing of all those (potential contract extensions) is difficult. We’re living with very tenuous rules in terms of who we can pay and how much we can do at this point. Within those rules, we’re trying to do the best job we can.”

Mangold wouldn’t mind sticking around either.

“It’s one of those things — love the team, love the area,” Mangold said. “You see how many people they got to get done. It should be very interesting to see how it all plays out.”

Rumor Roundup: May 6

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Rookie linebackers impress at mini-camp, earn roster spots

The Jets announced Monday that they had signed undrafted free agent linebackers Cory Reamer (Alabama) and Brashton Satele (Hawaii) after both players stood out from the pack at last weekend’s rookie mini-camp in Florham.

Reamer, who played his high school ball at the famed Hoover High School in Alabama, impressed the Jets’ coaching staff with his communication skills and high football I.Q. throughout camp.  At 6-3, 230, Reamer has the size and athleticism to seriously compete  for a roster spot in training camp.  Converted from defensive back to linebacker in college, he appears to have great defensive instincts and awareness on the field.

Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was particularly impressed by Reamer, according to The Star-Ledger’s Manish Mehta.  “You run into guys like that every now and again,” said Pettine. “His timed speed isn’t great. But there’s guys that make up for it by being instinctive and understanding football. They might not be as fast as the guy they’re competing with, but they get to the spot at the same time, because they recognized it quicker….(When) you watched him on tape, he didn’t really fit in athletically with the rest of that Alabama group. But here’s a guy that’s out there and all he’s doing is his job. He’s a guy that I wouldn’t be shocked ends up being a great coach one day.  He’s really understands it.”

Rex Ryan even joked that Reamer could take over as the Jets new defensive coordinator:  “We are going to replace [Mike] Pettine, and there’s no question we can do that I believe with this young man.”

Meanwhile, the 6-foot, 240 pound Satele has fought through his share of adversity.   Satele missed the entire 2009 season due to a shoulder injury and was denied a medical exemption by the NCAA to receive another season of eligibility.  During his standout junior season in ‘08, Satele recorded 53 tackles with one sack, one interception and five pass break-ups.

In order to make room for Reamer and Satele, the team cut ties with rookie defensive end Broderick Stewart from Vanderbilt.

Wilson good as advertised

Almost sliding under the radar at last weekend’s mini-camp was the Jets’ first round selection, cornerback Kyle Wilson from Boise State.  Wilson impressed the coaching staff with his superior coverage ability, enough for Rex Ryan to already pencil him in at the starting nickelback spot.

Jets first-round pick Kyle Wilson is already turning heads in Florham

According to J.P. Pelzman of The Bergen Record, Wilson also caught the attention of Jets’ secondary coach, Dennis Thurmond.   Thurmond reportedly told the offensive coaches that they “better leave (Wilson) alone” and not go after him.   This is considerably high praise since the only other Jet defensive back Thurmond has said that about is number 24, Darrelle Revis.

“We’re not going to compare Kyle to Revis,” said Ryan. “But he’s a tremendous player….I think he’s going to be great.”

At the nickel position, Wilson’s main assignment will be to cover slot receivers on the inside, something he was not accustomed to doing in college.  Theoretically, this is a position where Wilson is set up to succeed.   He will not be matched up against the likes of Brandon Marshall or Randy Moss, and can use his size and strength to out-muscle slot receivers.   Despite his inexperience at the position, the rookie is primed to tackle the challenge–both literally and figuratively.

“It’s a lot harder,” said Wilson. “You do a lot more. It’ll definitely be a challenge, but I’ll try my best.”

“I’m getting a feel for what they like and just getting a feel for everything here. You expect the worst and you just kind of roll with it. … I’m just trying to seize the opportunity and be the best I can be.”

Sanchez off to the races

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has began running on a treadmill for the first time since his February knee surgery, according to a report by ESPN New York.

Sanchez was originally scheduled to begin running in mid-May, so this latest development puts his rehabilitation slightly ahead of schedule.  Previously, the quarteback’s only running came from an underwater treadmill at the Jets’ facility, where he has been rehabbing since March.

The team remains hopeful that Sanchez will be able to participate in June’s mini-camp.

‘Super’ news?

Later this month, the New Meadowlands Stadium will find out whether it will indeed play host to the first cold-weather Super Bowl in NFL history.

According to Manish Mehta, the winning bid for Super Bowl XLVIII, will be announced on May 25 at the league meetings in Irving, Texas.   The event will be televised nationally on the NFL Network.

The Meadowlands is in competition with Miami and Tampa Bay for the event, which will take place in February of 2014.

RookieCamp Day 2 Notes

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

OVER 250 EXCLUSIVE JI MINICAMP PHOTOS! For the largest gallery of exclusive Jets rookie minicamp photos on the internet: CLICK HERE

McStruggles

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – For the second straight day, the rookie running back struggled to hold on to passes and appeared to be out of shape, unable to physically keep up in drills.

According to ESPN New York’s Jane McManus, at one point McKnight was down on all fours and had trainers applying wet towels to his neck.  McManus also added that the former Trojan missed four-straight catchable passes in seven-on-seven drills.

Despite two-straight poor performances by the rookie running back, The Start Ledger’s Manish Mehta reports that Jets head coach Rex Ryan isn’t jumping to conclusions.

It was another rought day at rookiecamp for new Jets RB Joe McKnight. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

“I don’t even need to overreact,” said Ryan. “He still does some great things out there. I don’t know if it’s much his physical conditioning. Maybe he’s got a bug or something. The thing that I appreciate about him is that he is trying to fight through it. … albeit on a knee most of the time.”

“Sometimes it takes a player a little longer to play like a Jet. Maybe the tempo’s different (from college). I don’t know….It’s funny. Every time I look around, he’s got a wet towel around his neck… then he’s making one mistake after another. Then you put the ball in his hands – and he’s pretty good.”

On the positive side, McKnight did appear to impress special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff in kickoff returns.

Defensive players impress

Meanwhile, it has been a group of undrafted free agents who have stolen the show through minicamp so far.  The coaching staff is believed to be high on Alabama LB Cory Reamer.  The 6-foot-3, 228 pound Reamer is coming off a stellar season in Tuscaloosa, in which he recorded 50 tackles, 2 sacks and an interception in 12 games.

So far, Reamer, a guy who wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, has stood out from the bunch.

“He wants to stay… that’s obvious,” said Ryan. “He’s here competing and he wants to stay.  Every year, there’s a few guys that are like that.”

The coaching staff is also high on undrafted cornerbacks Brian Jackson of Oklahoma and Donovan Warren of Michigan.  If they do end up making the team, they will both most likely be moved to the safety position.

Warren was projected to be a late-second to early-third round pick after an impressive three-year campaign at Ann Arbor.  Warren was selected to the 2009 All-Big East first team selected by the media, while picking off four passes during his junior season.

The former Wolverine’s draft stock plummeted after he ran an unimpressive 4.59 in the forty-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

The 6-f00t-1, 200 pound Jackson, ran a 4.6 forty time and was rated by most media outlets as the fortieth-best corner prospect in the 2010 draft pool.

The latest on iGate

Rex Ryan touched on the Santonio Holmes/iPod situation during his press conference this afternoon.   Ryan offered the following (courtesy of The Daily News):

“When the flight attendant came by she kind of woke him and said, ‘Please turn off your iPod.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, no problem,’” Ryan told reporters. “Well he was tired and never took out the ear pieces, so he went and laid back down. When lady came by and asked again, he said, ‘I did. I can hear every word you’re saying. I have it off.’ He literally handed the ear things to the lady sitting next to him and she goes, ‘Yeah, I can’t hear anything.’ So they were off.

“I don’t know, I guess when he landed he came off and there were some police officers and they asked him about it. He said exactly what happened. When Santonio told me, I totally believe him. It’s just one of those things I guess, but I believe Santonio.”

The Jets close out rookie camp today in two private sessions closed off to the media. The next minicamp is a mandatory full-team event starting on Monday June 15 through the 16th.