The Pennington/Heimerdinger offense debuts this Friday against Minnesota. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Under new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, QB Chad Pennington will be tested. Tonight, Pennington’s range was tested and he came up short, only completing 2-8 passes 20 yards or more.
After practice, Pennington declined to speak to reporters, instead sending a message through the PR department, “see you after the game Friday.”
Pennington was officially named the starter earlier today by head coach Herman Edwards. “Once he gets in the flow of the game and gets playing we’ll find out how sharp he is,” Edwards said. “He won’t be as sharp as he will on opening day, but he has to go through it now and get his timing and stuff down.”
Pennington only threw two deep balls during the first 11-on-11 drill which mainly focused on running. The first attempt no receivers were in the vicinity and CB David Barrett almost had an interception. The second time Pennington threw from his own 38 and launched the ball 40 yards, overthrowing everyone. CB Derrick Strait was closest to the ball.
Strait seems to still be adjusting to the cornerback position from nickel back as WR Chas Gessner caught a 15-yard pass with Strait defending him, drawing large cheers from the capacity crowd in attendance. Strait talked about the difference between nickel and cornerback. “It’s a lot different because there are so many things that can happen to you on the inside as far as the outside,” Strait said. “On the outside you have a 12th man with the sideline, they can only go so far, but on the inside, they can go out, in, straight up or straight underneath. You just have to be ready for anything.”
During 7-on-7 drills, Pennington showed good quickness getting the ball out of his hands on back-to-back safety blitzes. He did overthrow WR Terrence Stubbs covered by Barrett on an out route.
In the next set of 11-on-11 drills, Pennington overthrew TE Doug Jolley in double coverage with Barrett and S Oliver Celestin. Pennington also overthrew Stubbs for the second time.
After giving way to Jay Fiedler and Brooks Bollinger for a couple of plays, Pennington looked sharp on his next couple of passes, completing a 20-yard pass to WR Laveranues Coles and a 20-yard completion to WR Wayne Chrebet who leaped in the air to make the catch.
WR Carl Kearney had to come back to make a 15-yard reception with CB Justin Miller covering.
On the next play though, Miller made an interception on a Pennington pass intended for Stubbs.
Certainly every move Pennington has made in training camp has been watched closely and rightly so, since the Jets invested $64 million in him.
However, struggles like tonight should not get fans too worried as Pennington is still adjusting to the new offense.
The real test begins Friday night.
-While Miller did have the interception towards the end of practice, he continues to struggle handling punts, dropping one tonight, drawing large groans from the crowd.
-RB Curtis Martin had one of his best practices tonight, displaying quickness and hitting the hole hard often.
-During field goal attempts, third-string QB Brooks Bollinger was the holder but instead of holding, ran up to the line of scrimmage, took the snap and ran behind the line for a quarterback sneak.
-Rookie K Mike Nugent was 4-4 on his field goal tries, between 39-45 yards. Xavier Bettia made both of his tries, a 39-yarder and a 42-yarder that hit the camera tower.
-Fiedler connected with Jolley for a 30 yard reception over the middle during 7-on-7 drills.
-FB Austine Nwabuisi showed nice hands, bobbling a Fiedler pass but held on to make the catch.
-Earlier today, Edwards said that rookie S Kerry Rhodes might start Friday but for now, it appears that Oliver Celestin will get the start as he took all the first-team reps with the defense. Edwards said that Rhodes will see a lot of reps with the first team defense Friday.
-As part of the Jets Heads Up! Program, the team picked up the captains from more than 40 Public School Athletic League football teams from New York City’s five boroughs and transported them to practice tonight. After practice the teams’ captains had a chance to speak to DE Shaun Ellis.
-WR Justin McCareins will be honored by the Metro Radio Sports Reporters Association (MRSRA) prior to Friday’s game when he is awarded the Good Sport Award. The annual award is given to the player and public relations staff people from metropolitan area teams who have been the most cooperative, professional, and helpful, in good times and bad, while interacting with the Association and its members throughout the previous calendar year. “Justin McCareins consistently goes above and beyond to help radio sports reporters give their listeners the fullest possible coverage of New York area sports,” said Todd Ant, MRSRA president. McCareins beat out the Nets Jason Kidd, Mets catcher Mike Piazza, Giants WR Amani Toomer, and Yankees CF Bernie Williams for the award. The presentation will be shown on the giant video screens of the stadium at halftime.
LB Eric Barton (knee) practiced with the first team defense tonight. Edwards announced that FB Jerald Sowell (ribs), G Brandon Moore (hamstring), WR Jonathan Carter (hamstring), WR Harry Williams, Jr. (knee, out 2-6 weeks), LB Darrell McClover (foot-IR), and S Andre Maddox (hamstring) will not participate in the game on Friday. With Sowell out, FB B.J. Askew should start. G/C Jonathan Goodwin will probably start in Moore’s place. CB Ty Law also will not play while working himself back into game shape..
-LB Darrell McClover (foot): placed on IR
-WR Harry Williams Jr. (knee): out 2-6 weeks
- Eric Barton (knee): day-to-day
-WR Jonathan Carter (hamstring): day-to-day
-CB Ty Law (foot): out
-G Brandon Moore (hamstring): day-to-day
-FB Jerald Sowell (ribs): day-to-day
The team has a brief walk-through tomorrow in preparation for Friday’s game that is closed to the public and the media. Check back to Jets Insider.com for all the news leading up to the preseason game between the Jets and Vikings.