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Time is of the essence
By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 4th, 2004

That was the theme of the sixth day of training camp as the team took the field with a sense of urgency Wednesday morning. Coach Herman Edwards is preparing his troops for what is expected to be a physical scrimmage against the New York Giants this Saturday in Albany. Both players and coaches were vocal throughout the morning session as tempers flared in the blistering sun. Edwards was pleased with how both units flashed during the practice period, a sign of balance that has Edwards encouraged about the team’s progress.

That was the theme of the sixth day of training camp as the team took the field with a sense of urgency Wednesday morning. Coach Herman Edwards is preparing his troops for what is expected to be a physical scrimmage against the New York Giants this Saturday in Albany. Both players and coaches were vocal throughout the morning session as tempers flared in the blistering sun. Edwards was pleased with how both units flashed during the practice period, a sign of balance that has Edwards encouraged about the team’s progress.

”I thought the practice tempo was good,” Edwards said. “We got some things accomplished. There was a good practice mentality. Guys were practicing with their pads down. The young guys are starting to feel comfortable and the veteran guys are emerging as leaders. You saw that today as they were a little more vocal.”

Edwards, however, emphasized that time is a primary concern with implementing a new defensive scheme and getting the younger players acclimated to the system.

”One of the concerns is not to install our system too fast,” Edwards proclaimed. “Time is a factor with the young guys who you believe can help you. Eventually those guys will have to compete against the starters and line up with the first-teamers.”

There were several new faces inserted with the first team during the morning session. C Kevin Mawae was given the morning off as backup Jonathan Goodwin took practice reps at center. WR Wayne Chrebet left the practice field early with a groin strain that does not appear to be serious according to Edwards.

“He’s a little sore right now,” said the Coach of the of the 10-year veteran. “He’ll be fine.”

On the defensive side, top rookie LB Jonathan Vilma (calf) was held out of the morning session as a precautionary measure, but could have suited up.

“He’s could’ve practiced (this morning),” Edwards said. “I wanted to be careful with it and not risk it.”

Throughout the two-hour session, there were a number of big plays made by some of the backups. TE Chris Baker continues to impress this summer, highlighted by a one-handed grab over the middle and catching several intermediate passes from the team’s stable of quarterbacks. QB Chad Pennington displayed nice touch and accuracy on a number of throws, but was forced to scramble on several passes due to tight coverage downfield. Pennington was able to hit rookie WR Carl Kearney streaking down the right sideline for a large gain.

Defensively, coordinator Donnie Henderson was his typical animated self, hollering at his defensive unit that exhibited solid penetration on run plays and stellar man coverage. Recording tackles in the backfield were DT Jason Ferguson, DT James “Tank” Reed and DE Matt Walters, a second-year player from the University of Miami, Fla. Coach Edwards is excited about Henderson’s system, which displayed various alignments and formations designed to confuse opposing quarterbacks this year.

“The defense is flashing,” Edwards said, “and Donnie (Henderson) is holding players accountable. There’s a lot of talent on that side of the ball and they should develop into a strong unit once they gel.”

Henderson’s new defensive scheme had DE Bryan Thomas dropping off into zone coverage this morning while five defenders rushed the passer. DE/LB John Abraham has been utilized in the same fashion, which has the players excited this season.

“It’s an attacking style of defense,” LB Sam Cowart explained. “That style of defense will produce more big plays for everybody. We’ve played a lot of 3-4 (formation) and tighter coverage – man, bump and run, which is good.”

This new style of defense has been beneficial to a number of young players, who flashed their skills this morning. Young prospects in the secondary stole the show this morning, literally, as third-year S Omare Lowe, rookie S Rashad Washington of Kansas State and starting FS Jon McGraw each recorded an interception. McGraw has turned up his game up a notch the past few days, showing good run support and a noise for the ball in pass coverage.

INJURY FRONT

-S Reggie Tongue (calf) sat out practice and is listed as day-to-day.
-WR Ken-Yon Rambo (hamstring) sat out practice and is day-to-day.
-Rookie DE Kevin Fales (undisclosed) suffered an undisclosed injury and his status has yet to be determined.
Rookie LB Jonathan Vilma (calf) sat out practice as a precautionary measure. Could have suited up. Listed as day-to-day.
-RB Derrick Ward (ankle) has a high ankle sprain and his status has yet to be determined.
-C Curt McGill (knee) sat out practice and is day-to-day.
-LB Eric Barton (hamstring) sat out practice and is day-to-day.
DT Josh Evans (knee) sat out practice due to a knee injury as a precautionary measure. Listed as day-to-day.

The Jets take the field again today at 3:30PM. Jets Insider.com will be there so be sure to check back often for all the latest training camp news.