Despite 2 weeks of practice QB Chad Pennington is not game ready and will sit vs. the Lions this Friday. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
With the negotiations and signing of CB Ty Law taking up headlines over the past few days, QB Chad Pennington and his recovery from off-season rotator cuff surgery has been pushed to the back burner.
While Pennington has probably enjoyed not being the focus of attention every day, whenever he takes the field; he is still watched closely by fans, media, players, and coaches.
No one is watching Pennington more closely than head coach Herman Edwards, who has limited Pennington to throwing once a day.
“Everyday I have to warm up and see how it (his shoulder) feels and so far, so good,” Pennington said after this afternoon’s practice. “I’ve made huge progress over the last couple of days and really started to get a lot better. I feel my old self is coming back.”
Pennington has certainly worked hard at rehabbing his shoulder since the surgery in time to be ready for training camp.
However, Pennington struggled a bit this afternoon under overcast skies, throwing two interceptions. The first came when SS Oliver Celestin intercepted Pennington’s pass intended for TE Chris Baker early during 11-on-11 drills and returned it 14 yards for a score. Celestin has been getting most of the reps on first-team defense and is competing with Jon McGraw for the starting strong safety spot.
Pennington’s second interception came when CB David Barrett wrestled a ball away from rookie WR Harry Williams, Jr. ending Pennington’s two-minute drill towards the end of practice.
It wasn’t all bad news for Pennington though as WR Justin McCareins was one of Pennington’s favorite targets this afternoon. The two hooked up for a 20-yard score during 7-on-7 drills as McCareins beat FS Erik Coleman and Barrett on the play. Later during 11-on-11 drills on a third-and-short situation from the opponent’s 14, Pennington took the snap in the shotgun formation and found McCareins in the back right corner of the end zone as McCareins ran a perfect fade route, beating Celestin, drawing large cheers from the fans.
For now, practice is the only action Pennington will see as reported earlier, he will not play in Friday’s pre-season game against Detroit. Pennington said he did not lobby to play in Friday’s game. “Getting more practice reps and getting my shoulder in game shape is more important than going out there and taking any chances.”
Also not playing in Friday’s pre-season game will by Law, who watched the defensive backs individual drills this afternoon before leaving the field. To make room in the salary cap for Law, the Jets cut veteran CB Ray Mickens yesterday and that move may come back to haunt them as CB Pete Hunter, who was acquired from Dallas in mid-July has struggled throughout training camp and was beaten numerous times this afternoon including on a 20-yard TD pass from back-up QB Jay Fiedler to WR Brock Ralph. Hunter will be the back-up to Law.
-Pennington will continue to have his left leg wrapped after a teammate’s cleats inadvertently scraped Pennington yesterday. “It’s one of those things that is annoying,” Pennington said. “Thank goodness he had molded cleats on. At the moment it was pretty bad. It bruised up pretty bad and had a little swelling.”
-WE Radell Lockhart and NT Lance Legree were both in the backfield often this afternoon.
-Fiedler’s two-minute drill ended when his pass intended for WR Jovan Witherspoon on third-and-2 from the opponent’s 47 went incomplete.
-TE Doug Jolley continues to impress, going over the middle to haul in a 25-yard pass from Fiedler during 11-on-11 drills before S Rashad Washington dragged him down by his legs.
-TE Joel Dreessen had a nice catch in traffic during 11-on-11 drills.
-CB Brandon Haw stuck his right hand in to break up a long pass intended for WR Jerricho Cotchery during full team drills.
-It has been no secret Edwards’ wife, Lia, is set to give birth and it appears it will happen sometime tonight. “I should be okay (not going to miss it),” Edwards said. “After the meetings tonight, I’ll be at the hospital telling her to hurry up, I got things to do. I’m going to be in the room (during the birth). She wants me there so I’ll be there. I don’t think I’ll faint, I think I’ll be alright.”
-During the afternoon practices, the Jets usually have a local youth team watch practice form the sidelines and today, Edwards invited three members of the team to try to catch punts. None of the three were able to field the punts cleanly.
-The Jets announced today the signing of FA RB/KR Decori Birmingham, a 2004 University of Arkansas graduate. Birmingham, 22, was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent on April 29, 2005 and was released on July 22. Birmingham did not make a good first impression, dropping two punt returns.
JETS INSIDER.COM FAN CHAT THURSDAY 8PM
Jets Insider.com will do an online fan chat with 1050 ESPN Radio Jets Beat Reporter Peter Schwartz this Thursday (8/11) at 8PM in the Jets Insider Chatroom.
Schwartz, who is one of the most knowledgeable reporters covering the team and is also a true Jets fan will take your questions and get you up to speed on everything going on at Jets camp.
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LB Eric Barton, WR Jonathan Carter and WR Wayne Chrebet all sat out the afternoon and will rest most of this week to hopefully get over nagging injuries.
-CB Ty Law (foot): Day to day.
-LB Eric Barton (knee): Day to day.
-WR Jonathan Carter (hamstring): Day To day.
-WR Wayne Chrebet (hamstring): Day to day.
Jets take the field for two practices tomorrow with a 10 a.m. special teams only practice followed by a 7:15 p.m. night practice. As always, Jets Insider.com will be there to cover all the training camp news.