Jets Insider.com Tuesday Afternoon Training Camp Report
By James J. Parziale
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 2nd, 2005
The heat is on. The dog days of summer tend to make players a tad cranky, especially after lining up against the same faces twice a day, everyday. Keep in mind that besides the incessant hitting going on in the trenches, players must virtually spend every waking moment together.
Between the meetings, meals, practices and living quarters, the players are virtually thrust into a cycle reminiscent of Groundhog Day. They are expected but not encouraged to blow their tops, so when it happened during yesterday’s afternoon practice – the third straight day of full pad practices – nobody’s jaw dropped to the floor. The dog days of summer tend to make players a tad cranky, especially after lining up against the same faces twice a day, everyday. Keep in mind that besides the incessant hitting going on in the trenches, players must virtually spend every waking moment together.
Between the meetings, meals, practices and living quarters, the players are virtually thrust into a cycle reminiscent of Groundhog Day. They are expected but not encouraged to blow their tops, so when it happened during yesterday’s afternoon practice – the third straight day of full pad practices – nobody’s jaw dropped to the floor.
DE Sean Ellis and G Brandon Moore tangled together for a few seconds until other players helped pry them apart. Ellis threw a few haymakers before the ruckus ended while coaches stayed mum.
“When that happens in training camp it’s always easy for the next play to spill over and another breakout starts,” head coach Herman Edwards said. “Then all of a sudden another breaks out and before you know it you’re having a kickboxing contest rather than playing football and that’s not good. You have to play with violence, just make sure it’s a controlled violence.”
Edwards realized this is right about the time his guys yearn to see some new faces.
“Players get tired of hitting the same old guy,” the Head Coach said. “The same old guy keeps holding you and you keep holding him and you get a little hot under the collar.”
Wish granted. Most of the preparation for the rest of the week will be for the scheduled practice against the Giants at Albany on Saturday. It is first time the Jets will get a chance to display their new offense.
“I think we have to install a lot of things that you anticipate when we go up there,” Edwards said. “[Giants head coach Tom Coughlin] does a good job of sending his schedule to us.”
After canceling tomorrow’s morning practice, Edwards seemed to intentionally work the players harder in the afternoon session. For the last 30 minutes of practice he had players schlep from one side of the field to the other between plays in the 93-degree heat.
Today featured a combination of up-and-down the field situations in addition to red zone drills. QB Chad Pennington threw for the fifth straight day and looked shaky when he under threw several passes, but connected with WR Jerricho Cotchery for two mock-scores inside the 10-yard line.
Fielding questions about Pennington’s surgically repaired right shoulder is beginning to wear on Edwards, but he took it in stride with an affable response.
“You guys (in the media) are waiting for when he is not going to throw? Do you guys have a bet?” Edwards said to a chorus of laughter. “Everyday I have to give my injury reports so guys in Las Vegas know who’s hurt.”
Pennington’s backup had a rough day at the office. Jay Fiedler threw interceptions to CB Derrick Straight and S Rashad Washington and was less than stellar throwing the ball. The Jets also ran six plays out of the shotgun, but overall the offense seemed to lag.
“We are very talented,” offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger said of his squad. “The problem is now I learn something new everyday and the last two or three days, every night I’ve been putting in new routes so we have a lot of guys with their heads spinning. It’s not always right.”
That’s partly because of the conditions, too. Morning practices are conducted on the turf, which is about 10 degrees hotter then the grass used in the afternoons. Still, Edwards, who wears a sweatshirt no matter what Mother Nature has to offer, said: “The heat is good for us. We need the heat and for it to be hot.” Just as long as the players don’t get too hot under the collar.
New faces. The Jets signed cornerbacks Brandon Haw and Roosevelt Williams today to help combat the injury issues confronting the secondary and both played in today’s afternoon practice.
Haw is a 6-footer from Rutgers University and was waived by the Miami Dolphins on July 24. He started all four years for the Scarlet Knights.
Williams was released by the Washington Redskins on January 25. He was a third round draft choice of the Chicago Bears in 2002 and spent time with the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns.
-The team also signed rookie FA LB Eric Mahl (Kent State) off waivers from Cleveland. Mahl (6'1"-200), was a two time All-MAC LB in college. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Browns on April 28.
-CB James Taylor, who had been suffering from a knee injury and likely needs surgery, was released today.
Say what? When Jets first-year offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger was asked about his predecessor Paul Hackett’s offense in comparison to his own, his reply was somewhat unexpected.
“I don’t think you’re going to see any difference. I said it when I got here and I’ll say it again: I think Paul did a great job and Paul Hackett was a sound in what he did…I’m a one-foot field goal away from not being here talking to you guys (in the media) right now,” he said.
Heimerdinger’s response was savvy, and he followed by saying the biggest difference will be that QB Chad Pennington, who threw for the fifth consecutive day, will be in the shotgun on third and long.
Asked what he thought about Heimerdinger’s offense, TE Doug Jolley said he likes it. He said the players call him “Dinger” for short because his name is too long. Not only did Jolley not want to say the full name, he made no attempt at stringing the actual letters together.
“No I can’t spell it,” he said. “I don’t know how and I don’t even want to try. I’m just a dumb football player.”
-Newly acquired RB Terry Butler fumbled a kickoff return.
- You think CB Darrien Johnson doesn’t want to make the team? He knocked RB Delvin Joyce on his butt after the whistle during 11-on-11’s.
- WR Jovan Witherspoon dove for a potential touchdown into the padding under the uprights in the end zone and landed hard with his head. He bounced up quickly and seemed to show no lingering effects.
-The NFL Network did a live one hour segment from the Jets afternoon practice session today. If you have the NFL Network you can see re-broadcasts of the segment at 8PM and 11PM EST.
- CB Ray Mickens who's surgically repaired knee is a bit sore got the day off. CB Pete Hunter, who also is nursing a sore knee and was held out this morning but practiced this afternoon. LB Eric Barton (knee) was back in action as well this afternoon. As reported this morning, Barton apparently bruised his knee during the off-season and Edwards is trying to keep him out of morning practices and limit him to just afternoons, which are on the grass. S Jon McGraw (abdominal) dressed, but did not practice.
-CB Pete Hunter (knee): Day-to-Day
The team announced that Tomorrow’s morning practice has been cancelled. The afternoon session at 3:30 PM will go on as scheduled and is open to the Fans. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com often for all the latest training camp news!