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Bubble Boys
By Justin Paley
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 1st, 2004

The Jets streak of great weather came to an end today as torrential downpours hit Hempstead, forcing the Jets inside the practice bubble for the first time during this camp. Running plays and game situations were the main focus during Wednesday’s afternoon session.

The Jets streak of great weather came to an end today as torrential downpours hit Hempstead, forcing the Jets inside the practice bubble for the first time during this camp. Running plays and game situations were the main focus during Wednesday’s afternoon session.

While RB Curtis Martin is entering his 10th year in the NFL, his legs are still fresh. The running back displayed some nice moves during the afternoon practice during 11-on-11 drills. Martin’s best run came down the right side as RT Kareem McKenzie and RG Brandon Moore opened nice up a hole for him.

CuMart feels he is physically ahead at this point than he was last year.

“I am far beyond where I was at when we played the first Washington game last year,” said Martin. “My mind and my feet are working together. I was just telling Jerald (Sowell) that I feel like my feet can do whatever my mind is telling me to do. It’s my first healthy offseason and I’ve been running, been working on quick feet and all the different drills that I would have done previous to last year that I couldn’t do. I haven’t missed a practice yet so I’m getting more looks.”

Martin did not carry the ball until the third preseason game last year but Head Coach Herman Edwards has said Martin will get plenty of carries in Friday’s preseason opener at New Orleans. Even though Edwards did not specify the number of carries, he feels giving Martin carries will teach the younger players.

“We have 71 young players with five years or less on this football team,” said the Coach. “If they see Curtis Martin, in a preseason game carrying the ball they are going to know it’s important. (They will learn) that it’s important for you to perform and it is important for you to get better at doing your job.”

The Jets practiced a game situation with the offense having the ball on the opponent’s 36 yard line, with 30 seconds left and no timeouts. The goal was to complete one pass and then get the field goal unit on for an attempt. The team last season had problems getting kicks off in time, most notably against the Giants in overtime.

QB Chad Pennington started the drill off by completing a pass to Martin. With time running out, the field goal unit hurried on the field as K Doug Brien’s field goal was good, beating the clock. Next, the same drill was run with QB Brooks Bollinger at the helm, who completed a pass to WR Matt Dominguez. This time though, Brien was not able to get off the field goal as time expired. Edwards yelled at the team that there were no second chances in the preseason and to get it right the first time. On the next attempt, Brien made the field goal.

Red zone drills were practiced. From the five-yard line, Pennington was 1-2, with a TD pass to WR Wayne Chrebet and a pass that sailed over TE Anthony Becht’s head. Third string QB Ricky Ray got a chance at red zone drills as well. With the ball placed at the 10 yard line, Ray handed off to RB Ian Smart for no gain. On the next play, Ray fumbled the ball but was able to recover it.

While the running game was emphasized during practice, the passing game was not left out. WR Justin McCareins continues to be the main target for Pennington with WR Santana Moss out with a sore hamstring. During 7-on-7 drills, McCareins made a nice catch beating CB David Barrett and S Derek Pagel. On a play-action pass from Pennington, McCareins made 20-yard reception. McCareins also caught a 26-yard reception, beating S Omare Lowe and CB Donnie Abraham.

Edwards feels McCareins has improved.

“I think he’s getting better,” said the Coach. “He’s starting not to think so much. When he first arrived here he was a receiver who was doing a lot of thinking. You never saw the big play potential that he really had because he was thinking so much. I think he’s starting to become more comfortable. He’s a guy during every game, every week, he’s going to get better.”

Pennington still feels he and McCareins need a lot more reps.

“We have a lot of work to do as far as Justin and I, but we are going to continue to work,” said Pennington. My biggest thing is making sure I have become comfortable with my whole receiving corps because you never know what is going to happen with injuries and those types of things.”

Later in the session, Donnie Abraham would not let himself get beat again, breaking up two passes intended for McCareins. QB Brooks Bollinger got some reps with the first team during 11-on-11 drills and was not successful, throwing an interception to CB David Barrett.

Defensively, second-year LB Victor Hobson had the play of the afternoon, intercepting a Pennington pass after WR Wayne Chrebet tipped the ball into the air. Edwards talked about Hobson.

“Victor understands the position, now he needs to be a production player at that position for us to be good on defense. He’ll do something. Don’t try and do everything so right that you can’t do anything. That’s what happens to young guys. Young guys who get to play a position, they get in a game, or they get into practice and they get so zoned in on ‘I have to do this right, I have to do this right.’ Yes, you’ve got to do it right, but you have to make the play too. That’s what we have to have out of some of these guys,” Edwards said.

MISCELLANEUS TIDBITS: Look for the Jets to use FB Jerald Sowell more on offense this year, as Sowell made a couple of catches this afternoon…Edwards said the QB rotation for Friday night’s preseason opener at New Orleans will be Pennington, followed by Bollinger, and then Ricky Ray.

INJURY REPORT:

Here is the current status on all injured Jets players and their projected status for Friday’s game in New Orleans.

--S Jarrell Weaver (Groin): Participated in practice. Questionable for Friday.

--WR KenYon Rambo (Hamstring): Participated in practice. Out for Friday.
--WR Lawrence Hamilton (Hamstring): Day to day. Out for Friday.

--WR Santana Moss (Hamstring): Day to day. Out for Friday.
--LB Eric Barton (Hamstring): Day to day. Out for Friday.
--S Reggie Tongue (Calf): Day to day. Out for Friday.
--LB Jason Glenn (Undisclosed): Day to day. Questionable for Friday.
--RB Derrick Ward (High Ankle Sprain): 1 week or more. Out for Friday.
--DE Kevin Fales (Knee): 1 week or more. Out for Friday.

The team will have a short walk through tomorrow that will be closed to the public and media. They will then travel to New Orleans for Friday’s pre-season game against the Saints. The next practice open to the fans is on Sunday at 3:30 PM. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com back often for all of the latest training camp news and reports.