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Vlma back in action, Kendall talks heating up

By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 6th, 2004

It was all about coach Mike Westhoff’s units Friday morning as the Jets ran an brief exclusive special teams practice to gear up for the scrimmage against the New York Giants in Albany tomorrow.

It was all about coach Mike Westhoff’s units Friday morning as the Jets ran an brief exclusive special teams practice to gear up for the scrimmage agianst the New York Giants in Albany tomorrow.

In a solid, yet uneventful late morning session, the team practiced a few fake punts as FB Jerald Sowell, the up man on punt protection, took several direct snaps from center and burst off tackle during the non-contact drill. Following the drill, the team’s punters, Toby Gowin and Brian Simnjanovski, continued their duel for the team’s punting duties this season. Battling with a strong wind at their backs, Gowin outperformed his competition, displaying better airtime and launching several punts inside the 10-yard line to waiting coverage units. At times, both players looked solid, yet Gowin believes he still needs work.

“I’m still working on consistency,” Gowin said. “I’m trying to go out there every day, but I need some work consistency-wise. My legs are feeling pretty good and I’m just trying to go out and get better every day.”

Fielding punt returns during the practice was the regular group featuring WR Justin McCareins, RB Josh Davis, RB Ian Smart and WR Jonathan Carter. Missing from the drill was WR Santana Moss, who suffered a minor hamstring injury during Thursday’s session and will be rested today and tomorrow.

“Santana is a little sore,” Coach Herman Edwards said. “He won’t practice this afternoon and will sit out against the Giants tomorrow.”

An interesting drill followed the punting competition as Gowin and Simnjanovski individually stood in the end zone, took the snap from center, and scrambled around as Westhoff counted down from five seconds. The drill was to prepare for a mishandled snap, forcing the punter to throw the ball away or take a safety.

Rookie LB Jonathan Vilma participated during the morning practice as an edge rusher on the punt block unit and showed no ill effects of a calf injury suffered earlier this week. Edwards expects DT Josh Evans (knee), who has been hampered with a knee injury, will return to the afternoon practice and will likely participate in the Giants scrimmage tomorrow.

FREE AGENT NEWS Coach Herman Edwards confirmed the team is talking to free agent C/G Pete Kendall who was surprisingly released by the Cardinals last week. However, getting the 31 year old nine year veteran will not be easy. Various media sources report that Kendall is a hot commodity and several teams are interested in his services. He would surely provide much needed depth on the Jets offensive line. Kendall is expected to make a decision within the next day or two.

INJURY REPORT: Rookie LB Jonathan Vilma participated in the morning practice as an edge rusher on the punt block unit and showed no ill effects of a calf injury suffered earlier this week. Edwards expects DT Josh Evans (knee), who has been hampered with a knee injury, will return today during the afternoon practice and will likely participate in the Giants scrimmage tomorrow.

Whatever was ailing S Jon McGraw on Wednesday was obviously not at all serious. McGraw sat out for a portion of the afternoon session that day and was replaced by Derek Pagel. However, McGraw was back on the field last night and fully participated in the practice showing no signs of any ailments.

--WR Santana Moss (Hamstring): Day to day.
--LB Eric Barton (Hamstring): Day to day.
--S Reggie Tongue (Calf): Day to day.
--WR Ken-Yon Rambo (Hamstring): Expected to be out until next week.
--WR Lawrence Hamilton (Hamstring): Day today.
--C Curt McGill (Knee): Day to day.
--WR Wayne Chrebet (Groin): Day to day.
--RB Derrick Ward (High Ankle Sprain): Out 1-2 weeks.

The team takes the field again today at 3:30 PM for a full practice. As always, Jets Insider.com will be there so check back often for all of the latest training camp news and reports.

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