Jerricho Turnpike

By John Melillo
Jets Staff Writer
August 17th, 2004

The team returned to work outside on the practice fields of Weeb Ewbank Hall Tuesday morning under a clear, sunny skies. The theme of the morning session continues to be the ascension of several young players, who appear more comfortable and confident in the midst of training camp.

The team returned to work outside on the practice fields of Weeb Ewbank Hall Tuesday morning under a clear, sunny skies. The theme of the morning session continues to be the ascension of several young players, who appear more comfortable and confident in the midst of training camp.

The consistent performances of rookie WR Jerricho Cotchery each practice seems to has given the offense another weapon in their arsenal, according to head coach Herm Edwards. After making a diving catch along the sidelines to the crowd’s delight, Cotchery later hauled in a 25-yard touchdown strike from QB Chris Finlen during 7-on-7 drills. Following the two receptions, Edwards shouted, “Was that number 89 again?” Defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson replied, “It sure was.” That simple dialogue exemplifies the night and day progress of the fourth-round draft choice from N.C. State.

“He’s getting it,” Edwards said after practice. “He’s making plays. What I really love about him is his toughness; he’s a very good blocker. He has the burst, suddenness and change-of-direction ability to be a good player for us.”

Questioned about Edwards’ daily emphasis on his progress, Cotchery smiled before offering a response.

“I’m looking to gain the respect from my teammates,” Cotchery said. “By (Edwards) saying that, they know I’m out here working hard.”

As for the team’s plan for Cotchery this year, Edwards pointed to the rookie’s versatility.

“He likely could be our fourth receiver,” Edwards said, a spot WR Jonathan Carter is also competing at. “He has the ability to contribute on special teams as well, returning kicks and playing on coverage units.”

While Cotchery was certainly impressive during the morning session, he was far from the only one. Several players made impact plays during full-team drills. On offense, the team’s stable of running backs benefited from the superb blocking upfront by the club’s offensive line. The left side of the starting line, featuring OT Jason Fabini and OG Pete Kendall blew open holes for RB Curtis Martin, RB Lamont Jordan and RB Ian Smart. Jordan displayed great acceleration on two counter plays run to the left side, gaining 20-plus yards on each. Smart showed some surprising toughness on inside runs, grinding out tough yards.

The relative unknowns at wide receiver in camp continue to make some noise and catch the eyes of the coaching staff. Those who played well included WR Matt Dominguez, who has shown reliable hands in drills and WR Terrence Stubbs, who was the recipient of a 20-yard touchdown pass from QB Ricky Ray, who beat S Jarrell Weaver to the corner of the end zone. At tight end, starter Anthony Becht caught a touchdown pass from QB Chad Pennington during red-zone drills and TE James Dearth got some reps with the first-team on running drills.

Veteran WR Wayne Chrebet, who suffered a quadriceps injury earlier this week, and C Kevin Mawae observed practice from the sideline. Mawae doesn’t appear to be hampered by a legitimate injury and likely received the morning off. OG/C Jonathan Goodwin took Mawae’s place with the first-team offense.

Defensively, the line hasn’t generated the pass rush exhibited earlier in training camp this summer. The offensive line, practicing without Mawae, proved sufficient against the first-team defense. Of the group, DT James “Tank” Reed showed a good nose for the ball, sniffing out a screen play to FB Jerald Sowell. DE Shaun Ellis displayed solid run defense, forcing RB Lamont Jordan to bounce outside on a run designed to the right. DT Dewayne Robertson and DT Jason Ferguson stalemated blockers along the interior, forcing many designed inside runs to the outside. DE John Abraham had a rough practice containing the left side, as he often lost containment on counter plays.

The linebackers, aside from an interception by Jason Glenn on QB Ricky Ray, offered little run support to the outside. On the long counter run by Jordan, LB Victor Hobson was engulfed by Sowell. Hobson bounced back later with nice coverage on TE Chris Baker to break up a pass in the end zone.

The secondary held their own during the session, highlighted by newcomer S Andrew Davison, who cut in front of WR Justin McCareins for an interception off of Pennington during full-team drills. Davison worked with the second-team defense. Others capturing the spotlight included S Jon McGraw, who displayed an impressive vertical jump to deflect a pass out of bounds and rookie S Erik Coleman, who nearly picked off a Pennington pass after LB Eric Barton deflected it.

Special teams practiced kickoff returns with the regular group of RB Ian Smart, WR Jonathan Carter and WR Ken-Yon Rambo. Of that group, Smart and Rambo had the most impressive runs, each showing nifty move and great acceleration.

INJURY REPORT: The list of injured Jets’ players continues to grow, just when a few key players returned to practice. WR Santana Moss (hamstring) returned to team drills, while S Reggie Tongue (calf) participated in positional drills. The new injuries to report include WR Wayne Chrebet, who suffered a quadriceps injury, S Jon Pendergrass (knee), who sat out with a knee injury and RB B.J. Askew, who is nursing a shoulder injury.

The following is the current status of the team’s injured players and their projected status for the preseason game at Indianapolis.

--RB Josh Davis (Torn ACL): Out for Season.
--WR Wayne Chrebet (Quad): Day to day. Questionable for Saturday.
--CB Ray Mickens (Knee): Out at least a week. Out for Saturday.
--WR Santana Moss (Hamstring): Limited activity. Questionable for Saturday.
-QB Brooks Bollinger (Knee): Out at least a week.. Out for Saturday.
--S Reggie Tongue (Calf): Limited activity. Questionable for Saturday.
--DE Joey Evans (Foot): Day to day. Out for Saturday.
--RB Derrick Ward (High Ankle Sprain): 1 week or more. Out for Saturday.
--RB B.J. Askew (Shoulder): Day to day. Questionable for Saturday.
--CB Jon Pendergrass (Knee): 1 week or more. Out for Saturday.

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

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