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Jets Insider.com Thursday Evening Training Camp Report

By Justin Paley
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 4th, 2005
Jets WR Laveranues Coles put on a show for the fans on Thursday Night (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Jets WR Laveranues Coles put on a show for the fans on Thursday Night (Jets Insider.com Photo)
NIGHT FEVER After a lackadaisical offensive practice yesterday in which head coach Herman Edwards expressed disappointment, the offense responded, setting the tempo early on. The defense got the last laugh stopping the offense from scoring during a red zone drill to end the nearly two-hour annual “Family Night” practice this evening before packed stands at Hofstra. NIGHT FEVER After a lackadaisical offensive practice yesterday in which head coach Herman Edwards expressed disappointment, the offense responded, setting the tempo early on. The defense got the last laugh stopping the offense from scoring during a red zone drill to end the nearly two-hour annual “Family Night” practice this evening before packed stands at Hofstra.

Edwards was pleased with the practice. “I thought the tempo of the practice was a lot better than yesterday,” the HC said. “They got the message and performed at a pretty good clip. It was more competitive than what it was the day before and that’s what you always look at with your football team.”

With starting RB Curtis Martin watching the practice in a t-shirt and sweat pants from the sideline after being given the practice off by Edwards, RB Derrick Blaylock impressed early on, breaking off would-be touchdown runs of 25 and 15 yards on handoffs from QB Chad Pennington during 11-on-11 drills. Later on during full team drills, Blaylock broke through the defense for a 25-yard scamper and broke DE Bryan Thomas’ tackle.

“He has the ability to cutback, he’s a tough runner, he’s a good blocker on the kickoff returns and he’s a heck of a special teams player,” Edwards said of Blaylock’s strengths. “Tonight, I think he showed our offense a little bit of what type of player he is when he has the ball in his hands. He hadn’t had a whole lot of opportunity but tonight he went with the first group and he did some good things.”

WR Laverneus Coles had the biggest play of practice, catching a 70-yard touchdown pass from QB Jay Fiedler in which Coles broke double coverage by CB Justin Miller and S Kerry Rhodes and a hold from Miller to reach the end zone. Immediately after the play, defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson walked down to Miller to chew him out.

Edwards said for Miller to improve he will need to get as many reps as possible. “He’s a rookie and that’s what happens to those guys and we talked about that the day he picked off a few of those passes and said, ‘let’s see what you’re going to do the next day,’” Edwards said. “…He’s going to flash. He makes you smile and then the next thing is he makes you cry. But that’s part of the process and I think the more he practices, the more he gets in there, the more he’s going to learn. He has to learn on the job and that’s the only way you’re going to learn.”

As always, all eyes were on Pennington as he is coming back from off-season rotator cuff surgery. Pennington threw the first five afternoons of training camp but was given the day off yesterday by Edwards. Pennington was given a large ovation by the fans when he took the field tonight. He did not look as sharp as he normally does, mainly practicing handing off and short passes. The one long pass Pennington did attempt during full team drills was knocked away by CB Ray Mickens in the end zone. Pennington talked about how his arm felt after attempting the long throw that was intended for Coles. “That was surprising, it felt better,” Pennington said. “I just missed it to the right a little to where Ray could come back in and make a play. At least I got it out there and made him run. That’s the biggest thing. Instead of throwing it behind, he was able to run and use his speed and Ray made a good play. Those are the type of things that only practice can bring you and that I have to keep working on. You only get better through reps.”

Pennington knows he still has a long ways to go. “I’m getting there,” Pennington said. “I’m not satisfied by any means. Sometimes I have what I want and sometimes I don’t. It’s just a matter of time and I’m not going to get frustrated…as we keep working and I keep looking forward, I think I’ll finally get to where I want to.”

Edwards felt Pennington looked good after sitting out yesterday. “I thought the rest helped him, he looked a little more fresh,” Edwards said.

While it was the offense that set the tempo, the defense responded, preventing the offense from reaching the end zone during red zone and two-minute drills.

During red zone drills, Blaylock, FB B.J. Askew, RB Cedric Houston, RB Delvin Joyce, and FB Little John Flowers all had unsuccessful rushing attempts.

The two-minute drill was run at the end of practice with Pennington and Fiedler each given a chance to run the offense starting at their own 46 with the score tied at seven with 58 seconds left.

After Pennington completed two straight passes to WR Justin McCareins with one going for a first down, Pennington was unable to find a receiver operating from the shotgun formation and had to scramble back to the line of scrimmage. After an incomplete pass to WR Jerricho Cotchery who was covered by FS Oliver Celestin and CB David Barrett, Pennington threw an incomplete pass on fourth down.

Fiedler did not fare much better as his last pass was a throw away on 2nd-and-10 from the opponent’s 25 yard line with 27 seconds left before practice was ended.

Fans got to see the Jets special teams in action as special teams coach Mike Westhoff ran his unit through punt and kick return drills as well as field goals. During the kickoff returns, the highlights included WR Jonathan Carter breaking one up the middle on a block by rookie FA Austine Nwabuisi.

Ben Graham once again showed off the better leg punting the ball 50 yards. While Graham has out shined Micah Knorr during practices, most likely the punter job will be decided by whoever does better in the pre-season contests.

Mike Nugent was 2-5 on field goals from 32 yards while Xavier Bettia was 2-3 on field goals from 35 yards. Both kickers practiced on the narrow goal posts.

INSIDER TIDBITS

-The Jets held their annual Kickoff Luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria this afternoon.

-WR Chas Gessner had a six-yard TD catch from Fiedler during 11-on-11 drills. Gessner who spent time on the Jets practice squad last season is a long-shot to make the team but is big at 6’4, 215 and has impressed throughout the first week of camp.

-Second-team LB Barry Gardner had a would-be sack on third-string QB Brooks Bollinger during red-zone drills.

-Miller had a big hit on WR Wayne Chrebet during 7-on-7 drills after Chrebet caught a pass from Pennington but the referee ruled Chrebet was out of bounds.

-Edwards on the Ty Law situation: “Obviously they’re talking. Like I said I don’t worry about that. I just coach the guys that are here. So we’ll see where it’s at.”

-Edwards said a decision on whether to have Pennington throw tomorrow has not been decided yet but Pennington will definitely throw Saturday in the joint practice at the Giants.

FAMILY NIGHT PICTURES For over 120 Jets Insider.com exclusive Family Night training camp photos CLICK HERE

ESPN LIVE COVERAGE AT THE JETS/GIANTS SCRIMMAGE SATURDAY

1050 ESPN Radio's football apostles Peter Schwartz (Jets) and Paul Dottino (Giants) will be hosting a four hour show live from the Jets/Giants practice in Albany this Saturday from 1pm to 5pm. If you can't make it up to Albany, tune to 1050 as Peter and Paul preview the upcoming NFL season with plenty of interviews and your phone calls at 1-800-919-ESPN. Expected guests are Jets GM Terry Bradway, Giants GM Ernie Acorsi, along with several players including Shaun Ellis and Michael Strahan. That's 1-5pm this Saturday on 1050 ESPN Radio's NY.

INJURY REPORT

CB Pete Hunter (knee) and S Jon McGraw (abdominal strain) both practiced this evening. LB Eric Barton (knee) practiced with a brace on his leg. LB Victor Hobson was held out with a tight hamstring. Edwards said Hobson was going to try to practice but Edwards wanted him to rest.

The team returns to two-a-day practices tomorrow with an 11:15 a.m. special teams practice followed by a full squad 3:30 p.m. practice. As always, Jets Insider.com will be there for all the latest news.

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