Youngsters Stepping Up

By Justin Paley
Jets Staff Writer
August 16th, 2004

Rookies WR Jerricho Cotchery and CB Derrick Strait have so far been overshadowed this camp by the emergence of LB Jonathan Vilma and S Erik Coleman. However, this afternoon both took advantage of injuries to veterans ahead of them on the depth chart and made the public take notice.

Rookies WR Jerricho Cotchery and CB Derrick Strait have so far been overshadowed this camp by the emergence of LB Jonathan Vilma and S Erik Coleman. However, this afternoon both took advantage of injuries to veterans ahead of them on the depth chart and made the public take notice.

The skies cleared on Monday afternoon and practice was back out on the main field and open to the public. Cotchery took reps with both the first and second team and was impressive, making a number of catches, including a 26 yard TD catch from QB Ricky Ray.

Strait made some noise as well by breaking up a pass from QB Chad Pennington during 11 on 11 drills. He also had nice coverage on many other plays. Strait showed that he still has a way to go though as FB Jerald Sowell beat Strait on a streak down the sideline for a nice grab.

The confident third round pick from Oklahoma talked about the difference between his experience in college and the NFL.

“It is a little different because in college you only have two weeks of two-a-days,” said Strait. “Now we are starting our third week and are just now getting into the preseason. It is a lot harder as far as putting in more work but as far as working out and things like that, that comes with the territory. I knew I was going to have to do that.”

During secondary drills, defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson told the DB’s they better talk to each other. Lack of communication proved big later on during the team scrimmage as WR Terrance Stubbs made a nice 44 yard reception from Ray, beating newly signed CB Andrew Davison. Also, WR Justin McCareins beat CB David Barrett numerous times during practice.

McCareins feels his adjustment to a new offense hasn’t been that bad.

“It is not too big of an adjustment,” said the WR. ‘The timing has to be a little better with this offense and you must be in the right spot more consistently and I think I am doing that a lot better than I was earlier in the year.”

WR Wayne Chrebet made a sliding 26 yard touchdown catch from Pennington, beating S Erik Coleman. Later, Chrebet, who has been bothered by a sore groin, came up limping after a drill and his status was not immediately known.

In the end though, the secondary got the last laugh as CB Donnie Abraham intercepted a Pennington pass on the final play of the afternoon practice.

The linebackers have been solid as Eric Barton was quick the ball on numerous plays. Jonathan Vilma showed great speed, bursting up the middle on one play, forcing Ray to hurry a pass that was incomplete.

DT Josh Evans had a nice session highlighted by a nice stop on RB Lamont Jordan in the backfield. Jordan came back later with a 9-yard TD run, stiff arming CB Art Thomas.

Head Coach Herman Edwards feels the adjustment to a new defense is coming along slowly.

“It’s a learning process,” said the Coach. “They’re nowhere near where they should be because it’s new. But I think the good thing about it is that there’s been a lot thrown at them and they’re starting to learn it-to understand the principles of it. Every week, they’ll get better.”

Special teams coach Mike Westhoff was not pleased during kick return drills. RB Ian Smart and WR Chris Duncan dropped kicks. He shouted at the return team to “create the block.” WR Ken-Yon Rambo showed nice speed on returns and RB Keith Burnell was given a chance to return kicks.

One player that pleased Westhoff was K Doug Brien, who was a perfect 8-8 on field goals from 41 yards.

MISCELLANEUS TIDBITS: WR Jonathan Carter sat out practice....Reggie Tongue returned to practice but did not participate in team contact drills. Tongue shadowed his teammates, standing 30 yards back of the play....In the red zone drill, RB Jonathan Reese punched in a touchdown from the one-yard line.


Here is the current status on all injured Jets players and their projected status for Saturday's game in Indianapolis.

--RB Josh Davis (Torn ACL): Out for Season.
--CB Ray Mickens (Knee): Out at least a week. Out for Saturday.
--WR Santana Moss (Hamstring): Day to day. Questionable for Saturday.
--WR Lawrence Hamilton (Hamstring): Day to day. Questionable for Saturday.
-QB Brooks Bollinger (Knee): Out at least a week.. Out for Saturday.
--S Reggie Tongue (Calf): Day to day. Questionable for Saturday.
--DE Joey Evans (Undisclosed): Sat out practice for undisclosed reasons.
--WR Matt Dominguez (Bruised Shoulder): Day to day. Questionable for Saturday.
--DE Kevin Fales (Knee): 1 week or more. Out for Saturday.
--RB Derrick Ward (High Ankle Sprain): 1 week or more. Out for Saturday.

The team resumes two-a-days tomorrow at 8:45 AM and 3:30 PM. Both practices and Jets Fest are open to the public. As always, Jets will be there so be sure to log on often for all of the latest training camp news and reports.

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