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Thread: Chad in Charge

  1. #1
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    Chad in Charge
    2004-05-01 10:13:58



    CP in Red
    He is a veteran now. The face of the soon to be 28-year old Chad Pennington even has a little stubble as he walks off the practice field. This Jets mini-camp marks the beginning of season five for the New York signal caller.

    “I think you approach camp like any other player,” Pennington says. “You have to get better at the skills you’ve been working on for years. But now, it’s about becoming an expert at those skills. As veterans, we know what to do, but we have to learn how to do it better. Learning how to do things at the highest level is the most important thing.”

    There are new faces everywhere you turn here in Hempstead. Pennington is unquestionably the leader of this team, but he is not afraid to share the load.

    “I think it’s a collective effort with the veterans we have on our team along with our coaches,” Pennington said of the leadership role. “The veterans and the coaches have to set the tempo in practice.”

    You used to see Vinny Testaverde twirling the ball behind #10. But now that role at camp has been filled by the likes of Brooks Bollinger, Ricky Ray and Chris Finlen.

    “It is different not seeing #16 around,” Pennington said. “But he may be onto bigger and better things. I just thank him for everything he did for me here.”

    There are goals that Pennington has set out to accomplish this offseason. He played only 10 games in 2003 after suffering a preseason left wrist injury.

    “I want to be able to keep that mental focus longer and to sustain it longer, especially through tough practices, which correlates to fourth quarters in games,” Pennington said. “Secondly, I think the most important thing is to establish a good offseason program where you are always getting better physically.”

    Talented players surround Pennington this spring. Wideout Justin McCareins has made a number of plays and veteran Wayne Chrebet looks like his old-self. Rookie Jerricho Cotchery, the Jets fourth round pick last Saturday, is a big target who was a nice acquisition.

    “I think we have an eager group that is willing to do anything that we ask them to do to be successful,” Pennington said. “And that’s exciting that we have guys who aren’t worried about themselves and are just worried about how they can contribute.”

    Chrebet, whose 534 receptions rank second in franchise history, was place on injured reserve last November after suffering from post-concussion syndrome.

    “I think Wayne is the key to our success along with #28,” Pennington said. “We sorely missed him last year and it’s important he gets back in the groove and sees some action.”

    Pennington gets a big addition in McCareins. The 6-2, 215-pound Northern Illinois alum established career-highs with the Titans in 2003, grabbing 47 balls for 813 yards and seven touchdowns.

    “He has the ability to get off bump-n-run coverage and beat double coverage,” Pennington said. “Secondly, he does a great job of catching the ball away from his body, using his hands. He has really soft hands.”

    The possibilities are exciting when you consider Santana Moss totaled 74 receptions for 1,105 yards in 2003. Moss also became just the sixth player in team history to catch 10 touchdown passes in a season.

    “I think we are more well-rounded as a receiving core. Obviously, not having Wayne last year was a big factor in our lack of success in the red zone and on third down,” Pennington said. “With him being able to come back healthy is a huge bonus for us because his quality and production are so great. Our guys complement each other well. Justin is a big physical guy at X, you have a speed guy (Moss) at Z and Wayne comes in and works the middle with his quickness, so it’s nice to see.”

    The Jets want to implement a speed change offensively while making use of all their components.

    “I think our advantage is playing at a higher tempo,” Pennington said. “Playing faster than our opponent expects us to play and having multiplicity, doing a lot of things well. Not allowing the defense to concentrate on one or two concepts by doing a lot of things well.”

    You may see the Jets going to a quicker pace earlier in games. The goal is to get the opponent on the defensive.

    “You see a lot of teams using no huddle, you see a lot of teams using a fast break style to change the tempo,” Pennington said. “That doesn’t mean the whole game is played that way, but part of the game is to change the tempo and to give the defense a different feel of how we play. But secondly, it’s how we play when the ball is snapped. Players in this league have a lot of talent. The way you get your advantage is to play faster to make them react to it.”

    New York head coach Herman Edwards is comfortable with the ball in Pennington’s hands. The new speed tempo was used Thursday in practice to catch unsuspecting defenders off-guard as Pennington moved the offensive personnel quickly to the line and ran a play while the defense was still lining up.

    “We’re giving Chad some leeway on what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it,” Edwards said.

    The quarterback sounded like a gambler when describing this potential prolific ensemble.

    “We always refer to ourselves as a free-wheeling style of attack where you don’t want you’re going to get personnel wise, formation wise, and play wise you don’t know,” Pennington said.

    As Pennington finished up with reporters, he was asked about his new red jersey. The shirt is worn to remind defenders to stop before hitting the quarterback.

    “We fought that off as long as possible,” Pennington said. “As quarterbacks, we don’t like to be different. But we gave in to the defense this time.”

    But this quarterback is different. He’s the franchise passer who carries the hopes of the young Jets on his right arm.

    Time: Edwards said Saturday that he would minimize the channels he uses this season with regards to clock management. “We’re going to manage the clock between Dick Curl (Senior Offensive Assistant) and myself. It won’t go through as many channels as it did last year. That’s our job and that’s what we’re going to do. Dick has been very good in the offseason coming up with certain things that we want to do and how we’re going to handle the clock in certain situations. We know exactly how we want to do certain things and what we’re going to try to do. We’ll practice those things in OTAs. We’re trying to get a hold of it and get better with it.”

    Timeouts: Edwards also said the Jets would also make better use of their timeouts in 2004. “There is a rule here right now. There aren’t any timeouts being called in the first and third quarters. Period. You don’t get to call a timeout in any odd-numbered quarter. Period. Is that 100 percent? No, about 98 percent. You call timeouts in the second and fourth quarters with five minutes left, generally. That is going to be a standard rule we’re going to live by.”

    Coach Edwards’ Camp Standouts: QB Chad Pennington, RB Curtis Martin, FB Derrick Ward, WR Jerricho Cotchery, Wayne Chrebet, Santana Moss, Justin McCareins & Ken-Yon Rambo, T Adrian Jones & Marko Cavka, LB Sam Cowart, Jason Glenn & Jonathan Vilma, CB Roderick Bryant, and S Erik Coleman & Omare Lowe.

    Injury Report: Center Kevin Mawae (back) & RB Johnathan Reese (hamstring) were held out of the afternoon workout. RB LaMont Jordan attended a wedding and was excused from practice.

  2. #2
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    Coach Edwards’ Camp Standouts: QB Chad Pennington, RB Curtis Martin, FB Derrick Ward, [b]WR Jerricho Cotchery[/b], Wayne Chrebet, Santana Moss, Justin McCareins & Ken-Yon Rambo, [b]T Adrian Jones & Marko Cavka[/b], LB Sam Cowart, Jason Glenn & Jonathan Vilma, CB Roderick Bryant, and [b]S Erik Coleman [/b]& Omare Lowe.

    Some guys i expect to do great on the team but it's real good to see these names on the list that are in bold.

  3. #3
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    Is it just me or does anyone else think Rambo can still hit his potential and is a good pickup?

  4. #4
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    Rambo is a very nice pick-up, considering he is probably a fourth or fifth WR. He has a lot of potential, and if he doesnt do well who cares, but if he does...then we got a diamond in the rough.

  5. #5
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    Is it possible that Hackett came up with the new speedy offense philosophy? It seems like a great idea to me. Also, it puts more controll in Chads hands. I look forward to Chad calling some plays.

  6. #6
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    There are two roads aging vets can choose to take

    1. The selfish road ... do nothing to help the youngsters for fear of losing playing time

    2. The unselfish road ... realize your time as an NFL wideout is winding down and the most important service you can perform for the long-term success of the organization is to assist the younsters in becoming pros, to speed up and not slow down the process

    It is very difficult for someone to train his eventual successor, all the while knowing that youngster will one day be taking his job ... speeding up his learning curve can only serve to expediate the transition ... takes a special man to make that kind of sacrifice

    With his history of concussions there is no way of knowing when the end will come for Wayne Chrebet ... it can just as easily be the first preseason game as not happening at all {which we all hope for} ... but there is really no way of knowing for certain and the odds on losing WC are much greater than he may care to admit ... but admit it he must, cause if he is lost early in the season the development of Jerricho Cotchery will be of paramount importance to the success or failure of this team in 2004

    I would hope and even implore WC to take the road less traveled here ... to take Cotchery under his wing and get this player up to speed ASAP

    I do not believe WC has anything to fear in the immediate so long as he remains healthy ... I'm certain his job as the #3 is more than secure for the time-being ... WC is a pros pro who acts as an invaluable component in this passing game, and that will not change any time soon barring injury

    Having said that, is is absolutely essential that Cotchery gets up to speed ASAP so in the event of an injury this team will not take a massive hit in the passing game ... IMO there is no better player to take this kid under his wing and teach him the ropes than Wayne Chrebet ... these are two identical players who bring the same element to a team, an ability to move the chains and make plays in the middle of the field ... Wayne Chrebet would be the IDEAL MENTOR

    I am really hoping he will take the road less traveled here ... that he will take this kid under his wing and get him up to speed ... that he will willingly act as his mentor ... there is no greater service Wayne can provide for this organization off the field ... and maybe he can even parlay that into a job as a WR Coach with this team when his playing days have ended

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