Archive for June, 2010

Mini-Camp Day 3: Jets Soak Up Spotlight

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – The New York Jets took the field of their plush new home in the Meadowlands to boisterous cheers and standing ovations Wednesday afternoon as they entered the last day of their mini-camp. With over 9,000 fans waving signs and shouting the trademark “J! E! T! S! JETS! JETS! JETS!”, reporters and anchors from all over the country and the film crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks, the Jets may have gotten a glimpse in to the life of a Beatle.

Okay, so maybe that is a bit of a stretch. However there is a buzz around this year’s Jets that has them at near boy band status, yet that has not deterred their central goal of winning a Super Bowl. In fact, despite all the fan fare and extra media attention (Hard Knocks aside, the Jets will have five prime-time games in 2010) the players and staff have been taking it all in stride and have, so far, been able to juggle the circus that is the media and still remain focused on the game.

“We’ve got everything we need to go get it done. There are no excuses. We have no reason not to be successful. All we have to do is come together and not be the one to let the team down,” says Bart Scott echoing the sentiment of the rest of the team.

A Flight Crew member mingles with the fans prior to the Jets open minincam practice at the gleaming new Meadowlands Stadium on Wednesday. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

The practice was light-hearted and very fan friendly, perhaps done to avoid the mishap of Giants’ KR Dominic Hixon, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee after making a cut on a punt return on Tuesday.

No matter the reason today was low-key and playful; providing a chance for the fans to see their new team in their new stadium. The highlight of the day featured Kris Jenkins jokingly dragging over the once-hated but now beloved Jason Taylor to a batch of taunting Gang Green faithful. “It’s fun,” said Taylor, “This is the first time I’ve been around all the fans. They’ve been chanting my name up here for 12 years. It’s only what they say afterwards that’s changing.”

Linebacker Bart Scott and the rest of Gang Green joke around during mini-camp practice. (Photo courtesy of JetsInsider.com)

While the Jets have yet to find a well defined rule for the 13-year pass-rush specialist, he–as well as the other newcomers–already feels right at home. “We’re all fired up. I think we’ve added a lot of good pieces this off-season. With two players like Revis and [Antonio] Cromartie playing corner it’s gonna be fun to rush the passer.”

Linebacker Calvin Pace added to the conversation as well. “We have a goal in mind. The guys who we brought in have that same goal. It’s just like adding another brother. The new guys have come in and it’s been like they’ve been playing here for the last three years.” Pace and the rest of the team have been shutting down the notion that all the off-season acquisitions will affect team chemistry ever since the NFL draft. However after watching everyone interact with each other over the last three days, it’s hard to imagine a team that has more of a connection than this one.

Gang Green has not shined so bright in the limelight since the days of Broadway Joe. It will be interesting to watch how the Jets handle themselves with a spotlight over them at all times.

Will the Jets meet their goal with a little help from their new friends? Or will they join Sgt. Peppers in his lonely hearts club? Only time will tell.

Jets Cleared for Take-off at Mini-Camp

Monday, June 14th, 2010

As you pass through the doors of the Jets practice facility take a right down a long, hollow hallway you’ll see a sign that reads “The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare”. The Jets’ will to prepare was on display to a crowd of anxious fans and reporters alike in Florham Park, NJ as Monday kicked off the start of mandatory mini-camps for the 2010 season.

After an off-season that was reminiscent of a soap opera, the new look New York Jets took the practice field ready put aside distraction and prepare for another run to the Super Bowl.

QB Mark Sanchez participates in the Jets mandatory minicamp in Florham Park NJ. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

While new players like LaDanian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor drew much attention, the main story on the first day was the on-going negotiations and the possible distractions with All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. “I don’t worry too much about it. I just do my job and when [contract talks] get mentioned I’ll talk about it,” Revis said after morning practice, “All I want to do is play football”. While he would not go in-depth on the specifics of his contract negotiations he did say the two sides were “kind of in the same ballpark” but “not close”.

About halfway through morning practice Revis complained of what he called dizziness and afterward told reporters it was done to “make a statement”. Head coach Red Ryan had this to say about Revis’ motives: “Any player we have you have to believe him to be a man of his word…it would be disappointing to hear him dog it”.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez looked sharp in practice after off-season surgery on his left knee, completing tight-spiraled passes to a plethora of receivers mainly deep threat wide-out Braylon Edwards. Not only did Sanchez look sharp, but he felt just as good also. “I feel better than ever. I feel instinctive like I used to be,” said Sanchez. The quarterback who led the league in interceptions last year is looking forward to having so many weapons between LT, Shonn Greene, Edwards, Santanio Holmes, Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery. “I love it. [There are] so many weapons, so much experience…LT can turn a checkdown in to a big gain,” said Sanchez.

While the veterans may have dominated the post-practice commentary, it was the young guns who provided the fireworks on the practice field. Rookies Kyle Wilson and Joe McKnight drew ooh’s and aah’s from the Jets faithful and praise from the coaching staff. “Wilson has been very impressive. He studies tape, takes advice from the veterans, you know, the extra things,” said Ryan. And after a poor rookie camp, running back Joe McKnight looked impressive catching balls out of the backfield and returning kicks. Despite a series of freak injuries, McKnight showed excellent acceleration and crisp cuts up the field. Second-round selection Vladimir Ducasse split time with guard Matt Slauson blocking the quarterback’s blindside in what Ryan is calling one of the “premier battles of training camp”. He looked solid matching up against former first-round pick Vernon Gholston.

Wrapping up, defensive tackle Kris Jenkins was all smiles after returning to the field after a devastating knee injury last October that keep him out for the season. He joked with reporters and players and was just happy to be back on the field. “I’m ready to mix it up. I’m ready to get going,” said Jenkins.

After an unexpected 2009 season and exciting off-season, many players share the same sentiment as Jenkins: Let’s mix it up.