PROUD PAPA: Coach Edwards' wife Lia gave birth to a healthy baby girl this evening.(Jets Insider.com Photo)
The Jets practiced under the lights tonight for the second of three evening practices scheduled this camp. One very prominent missing person was Coach Herm Edwards who had to leave to be with his wife who gave birth to a healthy baby girl late this afternoon.
Earlier this week, Edwards already proclaimed that some of his marquee starters will be wearing sweats instead of shoulder pads for Friday’s game against Detroit. The ones that actually will suit up won’t see much more than a series, so the Jets might want to market the game as amateur night at the Meadowlands. Seriously.
But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. CBs Ray Mickens and Pete Hunter (both released) along with S John McGraw, who was traded to the Lions earlier today, combined for nearly 190 games of NFL experience. As the Jets bid them adieu, all eyes focus to the men designated to step into their shoes. And how little experience they have.
Besides CBs Ty Law and David Barrett, who combine for 16 years in the NFL, the remainder of the Jets secondary (those most likely to be on the opening day roster, at least) have a combined four years NFL experience. Divide that among seven players, and the value of training camp just went through the roof.
The two projected starters at safety have combined for two seasons. Projected starter at SS is Oliver Celestin who has never started a game while incumbent FS Eric Coleman is coming off a dazzling rookie season starting all 16 games last year. Backing them are two rookies, Andre Maddox and Kerry Rhodes. Rashad Washington, in his second year, may also see playing time at safety. This leaves the Jets without much experienced depth.
Let the on-the-job training commence.
“That’s what’s good about Rhodes and Maddox – two young players that are very physical,” Edwards said. “Now we have to let them play.”
During tonight’s practice Rhodes teamed with second-year corner Derrick Straight to break up a potential touchdown pass. But game day is different, and if either Rhodes or Maddox is forced into the lineup it’s hard to say how the learning curve will affect the defense. Rookies can be, well, rookies.
During full-team drills, WR Wayne Chrebet split Washington and Rhodes for a potential touchdown. The pass was overthrown by backup QB Jay Fielder. Those mistakes by veteran signal callers are rare during the regular season.
Depth behind Law and Barrett is also a concern. Straight is entering just his second season and was mostly inactive last year. Rookie second round pick Justin Miller has flashed at times by intercepting a few passes thus far in camp, but is still a rookie who will be leaned on to return punts and kicks. He likely will start in place of Law Friday, Edwards said.
“There are some guys in the mix and we’ll let them play,” Edwards explained. “They’ll have fun and it’s good for them. They need to play a lot.”
As has been the case during much of camp, the rotating of youngsters has been prevalent. Tonight, Straight and Washington spent some time with the first team defense, as did Miller.
However Straight, Rhodes and Washington also saw action with the second team, giving them a feel for different types of personnel.
“We’ll have some young guys playing corner and some young guys playing safety,” Edwards said. “And we’ll see how they react against a good attacking offense…I think they’ll play fast and they just have to go play. That’s how they experience it, buy playing.”
And everyone will be watching.
A first for Herm. In 26 years as a player and coach, Herman Edwards never missed a practice. Today however, as mentioned above, he was MIA, but with a decent enough excuse.
Edwards’ wife, Lia, gave birth to a baby girl at 6:46 p.m., the significance being that Edwards wore number 46 during his playing days with the Eagles. Gabrielle Lee Edwards weighed in at 8 Lbs. 15 Oz.
With Edwards departing to care to his family, Special Teams/Assistant Head Coach Mike Westhoff ran tonight’s practice.
- K Mike Nugent was short on a 47-yard field goal in practice, the same distance Doug Brien missed from in Pittsburgh.
- QB Jay Fielder, who will start against the Lions Friday, continued to be erratic. He completed most of his underneath throws, but had two large gaffes. Fielder missed a streaking Lavaerneus Coles for a TD, instead checking down to TE Chris Baker. He also overthrew WR Wayne Chrebet, who split the safeties en route to the end zone.
- The Field Turf artificial practice field was undergoing maintenence today and there were piles of the tiny rubber pellets that are embedded in the turf in a several spots throughout the field. The problem was that the piles were not spread before the start of practice and it left obstacles which caused drills to be moved to different parts of the field.
-At one point CB David Barrett fell on a pile of pellets while covering WR Harry Williams Jr., and the crowd reacted as is Barrett had gotten toasted. Credit the field with the interference on that one.
- Chad Pennington was 9-for-11 during drills, throwing touchdowns to TE Eric Baker and WR Justin McCareins.
- WR Wayne Chrebet practiced in tonight’s session.
- Rookie S Kerry Rhodes right leg was taped during practice.
-As mentioned in the morning report, DT Dewayne Robertson visited orthopedist James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama this morning at 11:30 to get a second opinion on his knee, according to Edwards. It is believed that Robertson has little or no cartilage in his knee which has made it painful for him to play. Players have been known to play many years with the condition. Robertson had a big season last year with 60 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Edwards said the Jets knew of the condition when they drafted Robertson with the fourth pick in the 2003 draft. Edwards said he does not know if Robertson will play in the game Friday but that he was fine with Robertson going to Dr. Andrews for a second opinion and that Robertson should be fine.
Robertson has never missed a game in his two years with the Jets.
- CB Ty Law (foot): out
- WR Jonathan Carter (hamstring): day-to-day
- LB Eric Barton (knee): out
- DT DeWayne Robertson (knee): out
The team has one session tomorrow, a walk-through at 10AM without pads and then play the Lions at home on Friday. Saturday is an off day and the team returns to two-a-days on Sunday. Jets Fest is closed until Sunday. Check back to Jets Insider.com often for all the latest news from training camp!