TRAINING CAMP 2009: Jets Return To Long Island
Who says you can’t come back home?
Last August, the Jets said goodbye to Hofstra University, the team’s home and site of training camp for the past 41 years, bolting for Florham Park, NJ and their new $75MM facility. This spring, new coach Rex Ryan decided he wanted to take the team out of town for training camp this summer and chose SUNY Cortland in upstate New York as the venue.
On Wednesday, the green and white came back to Long Island for the first time since departing last year for an open practice, in front of 6,500 enthusiastic fans at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
“This is outstanding for us, to come back and be where the fan base of New York Jets really is,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “It’s great to come out today and see all the fans.”
The players, dressed in shoulder pads and shorts, went through a series of 7-on-7, third down, and 11-on-11 drills.
Both Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez took snaps with the first team, with Sanchez turning in the more impressive performance of the two.
Sanchez was involved in arguably the most impressive play of the day, during the 7 on 7 drills. The rookie sold a beautiful play-action fake and then fired a 30-yard spiral strike downfield to TE Kareem Brown, drawing a roar from the Hofstra crowd.
The rookie also showed off his accuracy, completing a tight pass in traffic to TE Jack Simmons.
Clemens, slated to start Friday in the team’s preseason opener against St. Louis, did not turn in, by any means, an encouraging performance.
In third down drills, Clemens threw a bad ball downfield that was nearly picked off by CB Lito Sheppard. Two plays later, Clemens’ threw a pass behind TE Dustin Keller and was jeered by fans.
Rookie defensive end Jamal Westerman continued his standout play in camp, registering a sack in 11 on 11 drills.
Kris Jenkins (calf), Darelle Revis (hamstring) Alan Feneca (finger) and Nick Mangold (knee), Damien Woody (head) all did not dress for the practice. FB Tony Richardson (hip) dressed but did not participate in drills.
Afterwards, Sanchez expressed that despite minor injuries, he feels the team is prepared for game action. “Oh we’re ready, guys are ready,” he said. “We’ve just got a couple of guys up front that are dinged up right now, but those are minor things. Nick will be back and Faneca will be back, so we’ll be ready to go.”
TIDBITS FROM HOFSTRA:
JONES ON THE TRADING BLOCK?:
Last night, nationalfootballpost.com reported that the Jets were “gauging trade interest” in RB Thomas Jones, following the strong training camp showing by rookie RB Shonn Greene. The site also reported that the Jets had placed call to an NFC West team, according to a league source.
Jones, who skipped voluntary conditioning workouts and practices during the spring, is entering the third year of his four-year deal. He is believed to be unhappy with his current contract and it has been highly speculated that he could force his way out of New York, as he did while playing for the Chicago Bears. Jones has refused to comment on his contract, throughout training camp.
When asked to comment on the trade rumors, Rex Ryan called the reports “100% not true” and “ridiculous”. “This guy is huge in our plans,” said Ryan. “I’m not going to trade a running back that led that AFC in rushing. No way.”
JETS WAIVE WHITTAKER, SIGN KICKER:
The Jets announced Wednesday that they have waived WR Huey Whittaker and signed kicker Parker Douglass. Douglass went undrafted in 2008, out of South Dakota State, and last kicked for the Sioux Falls Storm of the IFL. Douglass was brought in as insurance for starter Jay Feely, who suffered a mild groin pull.
LEON LOVES NY:
Before Thursday night’s practice, RB Leon Washington expressed his excitement to return to Hofstra. “I miss Long Island, man,” said Washington. “I’ve got some friends over there, so they’ll be out at practice, spending time with us. I miss all the Italian food. All the hot spots over there on Long Island. I miss it. It’s going to be fun to be over there.”
Up Next: RAMS
The Jets will now return home to NJ for a day where they will have a pre-game walk through tomorrow at the Florham facility and then play the Rams at the Meadowlands on Friday. Saturday is an off-day where they will migrate back to Cortland for their final week upstate starting with two practices on Sunday.
OVER 100 EXCLUSIVE HOFSTRA PRACTICE PHOTOS!
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