Jets Insider.com Tuesday Evening Training Camp Report
By James J. Parziale
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 16th, 2005
The long-shot wide receiver became one of the training camp stories you hear about every year. The guy not expected to make the team but who leaves an indelible impression after he spends extra time before and after practice working on his game -- the Ivy Leaguer who dazzled during practice and starts opening eyes.
Chas Gessner was the fan-favorite.
Then came the drops. Gessner dropped three gimme-passes last Friday against the Lions, and he was a hairpin away from cleaning out his locker at Hofstra. The window had closed.
But when two other wide receivers jockeying for the same spot got hurt, the light at the end of the tunnel suddenly reappeared. Benefiting from another man’s misfortune is not a crime in the NFL. It’s almost tradition.
WRs Jonathan Carter and rookie Harry Williams Jr. – both speedsters – were 1-2 in the battle for the No. 5 spot in the Jets receiving corps. But Carter’s nagging hamstring has kept him off the field through most of camp while Williams will be out 2-to-6 weeks after landing awkwardly on his knee during yesterday’s afternoon practice.
Even before Williams got hurt Gessner was on the field early yesterday catching passes. Today he made an impression on the field.
Gessner has been like a black hole since Friday, sucking in everything thrown his way. During one of the 11-on-11 sessions today Gessner hauled in a pretty touchdown pass from QB Jay Fiedler. He lined up against rookie CB Justin Miller in the slot and when Fiedler threw the ball Gessner turned, avoided contact and caught it behind Miller’s shoulder for a 15-yard touchdown. Maybe there is some chemistry between him and Fiedler, who went to Dartmouth.
Gessner is continuing to show his resilience. He was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent, was signed and released three times by New England. He shifted continents when he played for the eventual World Bowl Champion Berlin Thunder and caught a league-leading six touchdown passes in 2004.
“I set out to prove that I could play in this league. It’s kind of me trying to prove it to myself. It’s not me trying to prove any doubters wrong. I just really want to play,” Gessner said.
Gessner attended Brown University and played both football and lacrosse until his senior year when he decided to hone is football skills. A decision that wasn’t easy considering he felt his lacrosse abilities were superior to those on the gridiron. Yet the double-duty helped, he explained.
“You use a lot of hand-eye coordination in lacrosse. I think it helped me a lot,” Gessner said.
Gessner played offensive midfield while at Brown, all part of his plan.
“You got to score the goals to get the girls,” he said with a smile.
Maybe if he continues catching passes with the Jets, he’ll be the No. 5 receiver.
Said Gessner: “It’s something I’m going to try and pour all of myself into.
CANNIZZARO FAN CHAT Join NY Post/Jets Insider.com writer Mark Cannizzaro for an online fan chat this Wednesday at 8PM in the Jets Insider chatroom. Mark will take all of your questions and give you the inside skinny on all the action at camp.
-Although Aussie Ben Graham has an edge at the moment, the battle for punter is still up in the air, and so are the balls the punters are kicking. Graham kicked from the 45-yard line three times leading to a touchback and two fair-catches at the 14-and 8-yard lines. Micah Knorr kicked to the seven and 22. Both punt tremendous hangtime on the balls as each tried to pin the kicks as close to the goal line as possible.
-GM Terry Bradway said today that there is “nothing to report” in the on-going hold out of DE John Abraham. There has been no contact between the two sides, he said, and he doesn’t know when Abraham will report.
“We want to work out a long-term deal with John at some point,” Bradway said. “He’s been here as long as [Herman Edwards and I] have been here.”
Abraham is not under contract, but has been slapped with the franchise tag and is holding out for a long-term deal. Abraham sat out the last six games of last year, the last of his contract, with a knee injury.
Edwards said even if his Pro Bowl DE reported tomorrow he doesn’t know how fast he would be back in game shape.
“Even if John…showed up tomorrow, I don’t know if he would be ready to play in the opener,” he said. “I wouldn’t put John Abraham out there for fifty snaps, that’s not fair to the player.”
-Chad Pennington threw during both practices for the second consecutive day. Pennington threw a 35-yard touchdown to WR Laveranues Coles, who made a nice adjustment by coming back to the under thrown ball.
-Rookie CB Justin Miller, who fumbled four punts during Sunday’s practice, nearly fumbled another kick today. Head coach Herman Edwards walked over to Miller and told him to look the ball into his hands, and Miller did not look jittery again. Miller also intercepted Fiedler for his fourth interception of camp.
LB Eric Barton, who has tendonitis in his knee, was held out of afternoon practice and continues to practice once a day. As reported earlier today, LB Darrell McClover had screws inserted into his broken right ankle today and was placed on injured reserve. Also, WR Harry Williams Jr. is out 2-to-6 weeks with a strained PCL. G Brandon Moore is battling a sore hamstring still and will not play against the Vikings. S Andre Maddox, who Edwards did not say was hurt, did not participate in this afternoon’s drill and was running on the sidelines with WR Jonathan Carter. FB Jerald Sowell has sore ribs suffered during the Detroit game.
LB Darrel McClover (foot): placed on IR
The team will have a special teams practice tomorrow at 10:30 AM and then their final night practice of camp at 7PM. Both practices are open to the fans. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest training camp news.