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Signs Of Fatigue
By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 18th, 2004

Following an extremely physical and emotional afternoon practice Tuesday, the team returned to the practice field Wednesday morning appearing sore and sluggish. On an unseasonably cool morning session, signs of fatigue were evident throughout the first half of practice.

Following an extremely physical and emotional afternoon practice Tuesday, the team returned to the practice field Wednesday morning appearing sore and sluggish. On an unseasonably cool morning session, signs of fatigue were evident throughout the first half of practice.

“It slowed down physically this morning,” Edwards said. “It was good to see a spirited practice yesterday (afternoon). Most of the guys are sore out there. There was a lot of jawing and emotions on the field yesterday, which is good, but I let my players know there is a fine line between playing with emotion and brawling. I think they know the difference.”

In response to his team’s lack of intensity throughout the morning session, Edwards said the team wouldn’t conduct a strenuous afternoon’s practice later today.

“I have to make sure my players are physically ready to play Saturday (versus the Indianapolis Colts),” said the Coach.

Several young wide receivers, in particular, Muneer Moore, Carl Kearney, Jonathan Carter, Terrence Stubbs and Ken-Yon Rambo had concentration lapses early in practice, dropping countless passes in positional and seven-on-seven drills. Of the group, Rambo rebounded later in the session, burning CB Andrew Davison for a 30-yard touchdown catch down the right sideline from QB Chad Pennington.

Stealing the spotlight, once again, during was the performance of rookie WR Jerricho Cotchery, who hauled in an over-the-shoulder, leaping touchdown pass from Pennington during red-zone drills. Cotchery continued his impressive play with another diving catch later in the session.

As for the rest of the offensive personnel, FB Jerald Sowell continues to be the most consistent player each day of camp, offering versatility as a lead blocker and receiver out in the flat. Sowell had several impressive blocks during run drills, escorting RB Curtis Martin and RB Lamont Jordan through the holes and to the outside.

The offensive line has exhibited consistency since the free agent addition of PG Pete Kendall as the starting left guard. With C Kevin Mawae back at practice after sitting out Tuesday morning, the line showed excellent balance in the run and passing game.

“Our offensive line is playing well right now,” Edwards said. “They’re protecting well. They’re giving our quarterbacks time to throw and have performed really well considering the various fronts we use (defensively).”

Defensively, the line was still unable to generate a consistent pass rush during passing drills. Against the run, DE Bryan Thomas made a nice tackle for loss on RB Keith Burnell on a sweep play. The team’s defensive tackles displayed consistency clogging up the interior of the line. It appears the team has quality depth at the position with DT Dewayne Robertson, DT Jason Ferguson, DT Josh Evans and DT James “Tank” Reed. Both Reed and Robertson showed good penetration on run plays to tackle the runner for minimal yardage.

The story at linebacker continues to be the extensive practice reps of rookie LB Jonathan Vilma is getting with the starting defense. Subbing for LB Sam Cowart throughout much of this morning’s practice, Vilma could be heard barking out signals in recognition of a particular formation. Vilma also got reps at outside linebacker in place of Eric Barton along with his routine reps as an up-man on kickoff returns.

As mentioned earlier, the team continues to experiment with various defensive fronts, switching from 4-3 to 3-4 during full-team drills. In the 3-4 base defense, second team DE Bryan Thomas stood over the tight end on the line of scrimmage, as did backup LB Quincy Stewart on the other side, giving the team a five man front to disguise blitzes and confuse the opposition.

The much-maligned secondary was bolstered during the morning session with the return of S Reggie Tongue. Tongue, who had been sidelined with a calf injury for over two weeks, took reps with the second and third-team defense, as he slowly works his way back.

“It feels good to be a part of the group again,” Tongue said. “I have a lot of making up to do, but it felt very good to get back out there. Right now, I need to work on my timing, reads and the chemistry with my teammates.”

As a unit, the secondary made some big plays against the offense this morning. Starting CB Donnie Abraham broke nicely on a pass thrown by QB Ricky Ray and recorded an interception. A big-time sleeper in camp could be CB Andrew Davison, who continues to make plays after joining the team a few days ago. Davison recorded a theft on Pennington, who intended to hit WR Justin McCareins on a hook route. Davison also showed a solid nose in run defense, hustling to defend an inside draw to RB Curtis Martin on a third down play. Rookie S Erik Coleman continues to make progress, as he appears more confident and comfortable with the starting defense. Coleman quickly recognized an outside toss play and darted up from his safety spot to meet Martin at the line of scrimmage. Other defensive backs that shined this morning included CB Art Thomas, who had a pass deflection in the end zone, and S Omare Lowe, who nearly recorded a diving interception on a tipped pass.

The special teams continued to practice kickoff returns, with the regular group of WR Jonathan Carter, RB Ian Smart and RB Keith Burnell handling the return duties. Burnell is replacing RB Josh Davis, who suffered a season-ending knee injury and was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. WR Muneer Moore blew a rare chance to contribute on kickoff returns, fumbling his only attempt.

INJURY REPORT: Safety Reggie Tongue returned to participate in positional and full-team drills this morning, but has been ruled out for Saturday’s game at Indianapolis. WR’s Santana Moss’ and Wayne Chrebet’s status were downgraded and they will not play this week.

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. Out for Saturday.
--CB Ray Mickens (Knee): Out at least a week. Out for Saturday.
--WR Santana Moss (Hamstring): Limited activity. Out 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 Insider.com will be there so check back often for all of the latest training camp news and reports.