Jets Cleared for Take-off at Mini-Camp
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.
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.