Archive for July, 2008

Week One Observations

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Now that we have a week of Jets training camp in the books here are a few observations:

Week One Battle at QB Winner? Chad Pennington.

Although he hasn’t been flashy, Chad has played mistake-free football and his arm has shown some life. He attributes the improvement to changes in his footwork and delivery and it seems to have helped. Kellen Clemens’ 6 INT’s in 10 practices has actually put him behind third stringer Brett Ratliff. These developments have Clementines (my name for Clemens loyalists) reeling but remember folks, training camp is a marathon, not a sprint. Lots of time for Clemens to emerge.

QBs Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens

QB's Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens

Which brings me to my next topic. Why all the hate for Pennington? It amazes me the venom on the JI messageboards towards Chad. Some fans seem to put him in the same category as the Anti-Christ. Granted, Pennington had an off year in 2007 (with a horrible surrounding cast) and has had several setbacks due to injury over his career but the guy is a warrior, works harder than any other player and like it or not, right now he’s the best QB on the roster. Lighten up, folks (especailly you Clementines)….if Pennington ends up the starter, support andembrace. I have faiththat with the improvements the team made, Pennington will surprise a lot of people.

Mangini is not concerned about his job. After reports surfaced today that Jets head coach just purchaed a $4MM house in NJ worthy of an episode of MTV cribs, it’s obvious that Eric Mangini feels he’ll be around for a while. On the other hand, rumors are that Bob Sutton is renting.

Mike Tannenbaum should not do interviews. Look, I understand that the team is trying to be  “media friendly” by having Tannenbaum available to reporters, but conducting a 15 minute Q&A with the answer to every question ”It’s an internal matter that we can’t comment on” is a waste of everyone’s time. It would be more respectful to everyone to just issue a “no comment” and stay in your office, Mike.  

One thing I did enjoy though, is WFAN loudmouth Mike Francesa not getting even a tidbit out of Tanny on his show last week after he touted all day that Tannenbaum would come on the air and set the Brett Favre rumors straight for his audience.

TE Chris Baker: He’s been on PUP for a week for this alleged back strain and according to Mangini today, no definative return time is in sight.

The way I see it is either Baker’s back injury is a lot worse than he’s led everyone to believe or the team may be putting him on ice while they see how the team’s new TE’s emerge. With rookie Dustin Keller and veteran Bubba Franks having a great first week, Baker could be more expendable than first thought.

Bubba Franks

Bubba Franks

WR to watch: David Clowney. The 2nd year former 5th round pick of the Packers is making noise his first week, showing deep speed and good hands. A person who should be alarmed is Brad Smith, who could be the odd man out with the emergence of Clowney.

I had to laugh at the blog bitch slapping that former Patriots team writer Tom Casale gave Bill Bellichick and Co on his way to a new job.

http://www.jetsinsider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=173690

You can’t make this stuff up! Obviously you can’t question Bellichick’s success as a coach, but maybe this will open his eyes and he’ll finally realize there’s repercussions for acting like an arrogant, miserable human being to everyone on a daily basis.  The part about an alleged Bellichick sex tape is a bit creepy (can you imagine that hitting the internet? Let me puke now.) but the tidbit on Tedy Bruschi was priceless. Karma’s a bitch, Bill.   

And finally…Brett Favre is not coming to NY. Not that there was ever really a shot, but every day that passes makes it less likely. Being the 3 time All-Pro hasn’t even given the Jets the courtesy of any dialouge shows he’s not interested in being here. The conclusion to this quandary should be interesting but the road won’t end in Hempstead.

Could Brett really become a Jet?

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Just when you thought the Favre to the Jets rumors were over, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported today that the Jets have received permission from the Packers to speak to Favre about a trade. I have to give it to Gang Green, win or lose this team is always filled with drama.

For Green Bay, it’s a perfect situation. Favre leaves and is out of the division and they can move on with their youngster Aaron Rodgers at QB.

For the Jets it’s much more uncertain.

There are reports that the team would need to restructure Favre’s hefty contract which is in excess of $39MM over the next three years, all counting directly against the cap. Second, they would need a commitment from the 16 year veteran that he will be a Jet for more than just one season.

If they can negotiate these terms with Favre, it could make sense to pull the trigger if the trade price isn’t too high. The Jets committed $140MM to free agent contracts this past off-season and on paper is a team built to win now. The only question mark is the QB position where both Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens haven’t done anything lately to give fans confidence that either of them are the field general who will bring the team to the big show.

Pennington is coming off a horrible year where he got benched and revealed yesterday he played all of last season on a right ankle with two torn ligaments.  Clemens, who has a strong arm, could improve but showed nothing last season that would convince anyone that he’s anything more than another Browning Nagle.

Keep in mind…If they trade for Favre, the team is basically telling both of their current quarterbacks that they have no confidence in either one. Pennington, with a $6MM base salary this season will be surely gone and Clemens will stick around for now but the move would be a major message to him as to what the team thinks about him as their future QB. Likely he would be gone too after this season and the Jets would either draft another young QB to groom or look to get one from another team to succeed Favre.

From the owner’s perspective, he needs to sell upcoming PSL’s for the new stadium in a bad economy as season ticket holders are turning in their seats at a record pace. To RWJ III, could you think of a better salesman than Brett Favre…especiallyif he comes in and wins?

I’m torn regarding my feelings on this. I don’t question Favre’s resume. The guy is a legend and the Cal Ripken of the NFL regarding his durability. He’s also coming off a terrific season where he almost led the Packers to the Superbowl and he would bring a gun slinger to the team that they haven’t seen since Vinny Testaverde’s first year as a Jet in 1998. 

However, if you look at Favre’s numbers in the half a dozen or so years before last season, he was average at best. He also has a tendency to throw costly INT’s in big situations which worries me. I also fear that if this move backfires and the team does not win this season it will set the franchise back tremendously.

I believe this team can win with one of the two QB’s on the roster (most likely Pennington) and based on this team’s history two words come to mind if Favre is acquired:

BLOW UP

Maybe I shouldn’t be such a pessimist and perhaps this team is due for a change of luck. I guess it’s just what I’m used to as a long time Jets fan.  So stay tuned, my Jets brethren….as I said earlier, win or lose, the drama is always high at Weeb Ewbank Hall.

Jets cancel Gholston official announcement tonight

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

The Jets had a conference call scheduled with the media at 9:30 to officially announce that VG has been signed. However, it was cancelled with no official explanation. Sources say that the deal is waiting for league approval and it’s just a formality. Look for a press conference before the 1:30 practice tomorrow. Also we hear the deal is for 5 years in the $45MM range.

And They’re Off! First practice impressions

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

The Jets kicked the 2008 season with their first training camp practice this morning. A early shower turned into a breezy cool session which was refreshing, considering the stifling heat lately. I won’t go into specific practice reports (I’ll leave that up to the writers…..full AM report coming) but here’s a few observations.

First off, as I’m sitting here in Magini’s press conference, his first news of the day is that Vernon Gholston is “Close” and he expects him signed in the “near future”. Although he didn’t say it would happen today, I imagine it will happen within the next 24 hours and there is a chance he could be on the field later today. Sources tell us they have agreed to a deal and are just cleaning up the details.

Here are some practice notes:

Mangini was serious when he said he was going to be kinder and gentler this camp as the first session was under 2 hours. The last two seasons before, practices regularly went 2 1/2 hours or more.

Give Chad Pennington practice one over Kellen Clemens. Both QB’s took reps with the starters and Pennington looked overall much sharper than Clemens. Clemens first pass was intercepted by Eric Barton and although he did have some nice throws there were several wobbly and overthrown balls.

Rookie QB Eric Ainge, who is still recovering from surgery on his throwing hand looked like it was still  bothering him as he threw a few wounded ducks trying to go deep.

FA NT Kris Jenkins looks like he’s be curtailing his visits to White Castle. He visibly looked fit and slimmer than he did at minicamp. When speaking to C Nick Mangold, who is on the other side of the line against him in practice, he described him as a “massive physical specimen who is almost impossible to get around”.

On the other side of the line, T D’Brickashaw Ferguson doesn’t look like he’s bulked up much this off-season and during reporters questioning after practice, you could see that it’s a sore subject for him that he’s tired of talking about.

I had a chance to speak with new Jet Alan Faneca and besides being very cordial and looking in incredible shape, he seemed very comfortable with his new environment. Obviously, $40MM in the bank could make anyone comfortable but he mentioned the synergy between him and his new teammates has been great. He, Mangold and Brick all said that they have been leaning heavily on each other. Faneca for guidance in the new offense and the youngsters on Faneca for veteran technique help that they lost when Pete Kendall left last season.  

Chris Baker spoke to the media after practice. He’s still on PUP and rode the bike on the sidelines during the session. During his Q&A he seemed to be in a much better place, not bashing the team and saying he’s confident a resolution of his dispute will be soon.  No word on when he’ll be acitve (he’s still nursing a back injury) but it should be sooner than later.

The CFL was in the house! Something I’ve never noticed in covering camp for the last several years is that there were two reps from the CFL scouting Jets players. One was a scout from the Edmonton Eskimos and the other was the General Manager from the Montreal Alouettes. I was informed that a large number of CFL players are taken from the pool of undrafted free agents who don’t make NFL rosters so a lot of these scouts make their rounds to NFL camps this time of year looking for talent. Can you say Danny Woodhead?

Hot off the presses, here’s your first look at the 2008 Jets at the inaugural camp practice:

http://www.jetsinsider.com/forums/gallery/browseimages.php?c=175

 

Late practice at 5:30. Weather is supposed to improve. Come on down!

More later. Be sure to take advantage of all the JI resources including breaking news, detailed camp reports daily and the largest NY Jets camp photo galleries anywhere on the internet.

Hello Blog World

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Good evening JI Land:

Well…after resisting it for years we have finally embarked into the world of blogging. Although our messageboard could be considered a form of blogging we will try to implement the two vehicles together to bring you the ultimate interactive experience along with the best coverage and commentary of the NY Jets.

All writers on the site will have their own blog so along with daily team reports, the writers have the opportunity to add opinion and commentary.

Along with the writers, we have our draft expert, Doug Cantor providing regular commentary and news on the NFL draft along with his own spin on the team happenings.

Finally, we have given blogs to a select few fans as voted by the site users who can give another perspecive on the doings of Gang Green.

All blog entries will be announced on the JI messageboard for debate. You also have the ability to leave comments below. Please interact and feel free to give all of us your feedback, commentary and  suggestions. I can’t guarantee we’ll take them but usually they are interesting.

Please bear with us as we migrate this new interactive medium into the site. It’s a work in progress and will hopefully improve as we go ahead.

On the eve of training camp, here’s looking forward to an exciting, successful NY Jets season.

***One more thing: Here are some of my pre-camp predictions (prognostications that either make you look like a genius or idiot in December) 

-QB Chad Pennington will emerge as the starter and will throw 20+ TD’s

-Thomas Jones will break 1500 yards in rushing

-With a re-vamped line and support in the pass rush, Bryan Thomas will come back with 10+ sacks (and have more than Calvin Pace).  

-The Jets finish with over 10 wins and make the playoffs.

See you at Hofstra!

Best,

Sean