It’s easy to get lost in the chatter flying around about rookie safety Kerry Rhodes. Considering he has played well during preseason and training camp, there’s no doubt he is under the microscope.
But the battle for strong safety is just that right now: a battle. Rhodes hasn’t clearly separated himself from Oliver Celestin, who since the tussle with Giants TE Jeremy Shockey at Albany last month, has been mostly seen and not heard.
Celestin flies around the field and in Friday’s game against the Vikings didn’t shy away from lowering his shoulder. On three occasions (at least) Celestin plowed members of the Vikings offense.
One hit was on RB Michael Bennett, a should-to-shoulder collision that resembled a car wreck. The other jarring hit came when CB Derrick Strait blew coverage against WR Marcus Robinson. Though Robinson hauled in the 54-yard catch, he suffered the consequences once Celestin leveled him out of bounds.
Still, Celestin wasn’t satisfied.
“They weren’t hard enough,” the second-year safety said of the hits. “The ball didn’t come out.”
Rhodes and Celestin have different playing styles. Rhodes is more of a ball hawk and always has his hands around the ball. He had two interceptions during this morning’s practice at Hofstra, though QB Chad Pennington joked that one of them didn’t count because it was supposed to be a walk through.
“He’s got long arms,” Edwards said. “He can extend to make those catches.”
Rhodes has drawn a lot of comparisons to second-year free safety Erik Coleman, who wowed the coaching staff last training camp into a starting role. Edwards said Rhodes has been picking up the system quickly of late, but Celestin has been just as diligent.
“My main focus is to soak in the system,” Celestin said.
Celestin, though he is competing with Rhodes, said there is a lot of camaraderie amongst all the secondary players and communication is the most important thing.
“Basically making sure that [the secondary] are all out there on the same page,” Celestin said. “From there just fly around and get to the ball.”
That he does, and it could be his strongest attribute. He likes to batter opposing receivers when they get their hands on the ball.
Said Celestin: “That’s basically the finished product. When you get there and get a chance to make the hit. In our minds we try to punish them.”
And don’t think for a second that Celestin will scale back this Friday. Celestin and Shockey tangled together during the fracas Albany. Things got heated between Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson while numerous players exchanged words.
“Our defense is always intense. We get after people. That’s my main thing,” Celestin said.
As for the possibility of starting the season-opener against the Chiefs, Celestin said: “That’s a coach’s decision. I live one day at a time. We’re not in Kansas City yet.”
Until then Celestin will let his shoulder pads do the talking.
-K Mike Nugent is on target. Edwards said after Friday’s game that Nugent’s strongest asset is his ability to place the ball where he wants on kickoffs, not his leg strength. Nugent placed the ball well today during kickoff drills.
-CB Justin Miller did not drop a kickoff.
-S Kerry Rhodes had two interceptions this morning.
-Cedric Houston participated in RB drills and on special teams practice.
-FOURTH & GOAL FOR NEW YORK & THE JETS.
TIME TO COME HOME -- OUR JETS BELONG IN QUEENS
JOIN US FOR A TAILGATE RALLY ON THE STEPS OF QUEENS BOROUGH HALL TODAY AT 2PM!
TUESDAY, AUGUST 23rd
QUEENS BOROUGH HALL
120-55 QUEENS BLVD, KEW GARDENS
(Park in Municipal Lot behind Building)
Organized by “Bring Our Jets Home”, a not-for-profit, grass roots organization, dedicated to bringing the Jets back to their rightful home -- New York.
Incorporated in March 1999, Bring Our Jets Home set forth with a simple mission: to provide a voice for the forgotten step-children of New York sports --- the die-hard, green bleeding fans of the New York Football Jets.
For over 20 years, loyal fans of the Jets have been forced to suffer the ultimate indignity – cheer on their team in a house that is not their own, in a state that not one of the players lives in. But we never gave up the hope – that one day – our Jets would return home.
Time is of the essence, Jets fans. Our exile in the swamps of New Jersey may become permanent if the Jets organization and the City of New York cannot agree on a plan to build a first class facility within the confines of Flushing Meadow Park. Quite simply, we believe the plan to build the Jets new home on what once was the “Pool of Industry” within the World’s Fair Grounds is a win-win situation for everyone.
-- The Restoration of Flushing Meadow Park -- The eyesore that now looks more like a cesspool of industry will no longer be collect trash and serve as a breeding ground for rats. A stadium on this footprint will allow an under-utilized, dilapidated area of leisure to once again become a destination for New Yorkers to enjoy – and a safe place for our children to play.
-- The Jets’ Exile Will Finally End – Jets fans have suffered long enough. The fan-base responsible for legitimizing the AFL and making Joe Namath a cultural icon deserves to see its team in a home of its own. We understand how financially lucrative a shared stadium may be in the short and intermediate future. But in terms of long-term profitability, the team's legacy - and the hearts and minds of the Metropolitan area, the Jets can still be New York's team. Only the Giants can make that claim being located in New Jersey. And that is only because Leon Hess let them do it by following them out of state over 20 years ago.
-- More Green Space for New York City – Whatever area the Jets utilize in constructing a stadium, they will replace that exact acreage with parkland in an other non-green area of Queens, possibly within the Willets Point “Iron Triangle.”
-- J-O-B-S, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! – A new stadium in Queens will not only keep construction jobs from going out of state, but the people of Queens will benefit from the new job opportunities afforded them.
With the Westside Stadium dead, this is our only hope. If not Queens -- If not Flushing Meadow Park – the Jets will be Jersey-bound forever.
YOU CAN HELP!
If you care about Queens.
If you care about the Jets.
If you think that good things can still be accomplished in New York City. If you believe that some things are worth fighting for… we need your voice to join ours.
Tell your local politicians that you want the Jets to come home. Tell them you want a refurbished Flushing Meadow Park. Tell them that the future is now and that the politics of inertia must end.
Join us on Tuesday at 2PM in Queens and help us BRING OUR JETS HOME!!!
For more information please visit
Rookie RB Cedric Houston returned to practice today after injuring his shoulder during yesterday’s afternoon practice and is doubtful for Friday’s game against the Giants. Rookie S Kerry Rhodes also showed no signs of being hampered by a collision with CB Atari Bigby. DT Dewayne Robertson did not participate in this morning’s practice and CB Ty Law has “a stomach virus,” according to Edwards. His status for this afternoon is up in the air. S Rashad Washington did not practice and will be held out Friday.
-WR Harry Williams Jr. (knee): 2-5 weeks
-FB Jerald Sowell (ribs): Day-to day.
-S Rashad Washington (concussion): Day-to-day.
The Jets return to the field at 3:30 PM. The practice is open to the public. Check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest training camp news.