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Back To Work

By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 9th, 2004

The Jets returned to the practice field under clear blue skies Monday morning resuming their preparation for the 2004 season. After conducting a scrimmage against the New York Giants in Albany over the weekend, head coach Herm Edwards was pleased with his team’s performance against their cross town rivals and believed the trip upstate strengthened the team’s unity.

The Jets returned to the practice field under clear blue skies Monday morning resuming their preparation for the 2004 season. After conducting a scrimmage against the New York Giants in Albany over the weekend, head coach Herm Edwards was pleased with his team’s performance against their cross town rivals and believed the trip upstate strengthened the team’s unity.

“We got a lot of things accomplished against (the Giants),” Edwards said. “I think it brought us together as a team and it was a good experience.”

The hot topic of discussion was the ripple effect caused by the addition of OG Pete Kendall to the team. Kendall, who lined up with the first-team offense at left guard this morning, has forced an intense battle for the starting right guard position between OG Brent Smith and OG Brandon Moore. Offensive line coach Doug Marrone discussed both players and how they measure up.

“(Moore) has tremendous strength and athleticism,” Marrone said. “He has a lot of upside. (Smith) has the edge in experience and both will battle for that spot.”

Edwards believes the competition is a win-win situation for the team.

“Both (Smith and Moore) are competing right now,” Edwards said. “They’ll push each other in practice and it gives us three guards that we know can play.”

Despite battling travel fatigue from the marathon weekend, the team had a crisp two –hour morning practice, a credit to the coaching staff and the team’s character. Energizing the practice was the return of several players, who had been sidelined with injuries. Joining their teammates at practice this morning were WR Ken-Yon Rambo, WR Wayne Chrebet, DT Josh Evans. Of the group, Rambo showed no ill effects of a hamstring injury that had kept him sidelined most of the first week of training camp. He participated in WR drills and his fresh legs stood out. He drew the applause of the crowd with a one-handed grab on a Brooks Bollinger pass.

Speaking of Bollinger, the fans in attendance voiced their displeasure with the Wisconsin product, calling for QB Ricky Ray to receive practice reps. Shortly after, Bollinger had his pass deflected and picked off over the middle by fourth-year LB Quincy Stewart. Bollinger continues to overthrow receivers and check down to the running back in the flat too quickly, as he had TE Mikhael Ricks wide open down the middle on one play.

QB Chad Pennington was on-target throughout the morning practice, showing good touch and accuracy on intermediate to deep throws. One player who is becoming a favorite target of Pennington is WR Justin McCareins. The former Titans star caught everything thrown to him, including several intermediate throws over the middle. Others who showed solid hands in the morning were WR Matt Dominguez, FB Jerald Sowell, and RB Little John Flowers. WR Wayne Chrebet continues to be Pennington’s security blanket, hauling in several strikes over the middle by Pennington. Chrebet had the play of the morning practice, catching a beautifully lofted downfield pass by Pennington, who split defenders S Derek Pagel and CB Donnie Abraham.

Overall, the offense got the better of the defense during the morning practice. S Eric Coleman, who’s been the talk of the camp due to his impressive play, was highly vocal throughout the practice, advising members of the secondary to line up correctly. The rookie from Washington State continued to flash his skills, breaking up a Pennington pass to TE Anthony Becht while providing solid coverage. A worthy note regarding the defense’s performance this morning is that there was no rushing the quarterbacks during any of this morning’s drills.

The special teams units practiced during the early portion of the session and it appears the team has a reliable player in PK Doug Brien. The 11-year veteran showed excellent leg strength on kickoffs, while finishing 6-of-8 on field goals attempts of 40+ yards. P Toby Gowin was seen practicing on-side kicks on the alternate practice field.

INJURY REPORT: Safety Reggie Tongue (calf) sat out practice and is still listed as day to day. Tongue discussed his status following the morning session. “I’m definitely feeling better than I had been,” he said. “I still don’t know if I will play Friday (in the preseason game) against New Orleans.”

Here is the status on all injured Jets players.

--WR Santana Moss (Hamstring): Day to day.
--LB Eric Barton (Hamstring): Day to day.
--S Reggie Tongue (Calf): Day to day.
--S Jon McGraw (Calf): Day to day.
--RB Derrick Ward (High Ankle Sprain): Out 1 week or more.

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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