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Jets Insider.com Wednesday Morning Training Camp Report

By James J. Parziale
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 24th, 2005
New Jets CB Ty Law makes his Jets debut this Friday against the Giants. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
New Jets CB Ty Law makes his Jets debut this Friday against the Giants. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
And then there was one. After 37 practices, the Jets players won’t outwardly admit to the elation the end of two-a-days brings. But behind closed doors, joy spring eternal.

Much of the uncertainties about the 2005 edition of the Jets are close to being answered with two preseason games remaining. However, there are still some questions circling around the team. Here are some things to think about as training camp comes to an end:

When will John Abraham report?
Was he or wasn’t he in New York ready to sign a contract? Apparently if anyone around the Jets does know anything, they aren’t saying it. Abraham must sign and report by Sept. 6 if he wants to earn that all-so-important first game check. And if he does show up, head coach Herman Edwards won’t think twice about putting him on the field.

“As long as he doesn’t miss the bus to Kansas City he’ll play,” Edwards said today at Hofstra.

Abraham could be one pulled muscle away from sitting out even more games this season. He missed the final four regular season games last year and sat out both playoff bouts.

Former first round selection Bryan Thomas has filled in nicely as a run-stopper, but isn’t in Abraham’s realm as a pass rusher.

How will James Reed perform in place of the departed Jason Ferguson?
After taking a pay cut just to return to the Jets, DT James Reed has “separated himself from the other guys” battling for the starting spot alongside Dewayne Robertson on the defensive line, according to Herman Edwards.

Strategically he allows the Jets to do a lot more, Edwards continued, and has quickness the team likes. The backup job is still in the air, but it is uncertain if Reed can start a 16-game season and be as effective as Ferguson (now a Dallas Cowboy).

When did TE Chris Baker get the nod over Doug Jolley?
Apparently Edwards forgot to send out the memo bout Chris Baker being the starting tight end. Edwards today said Baker is the starter and that it was his job to lose during camp once Anthony Becht packed his bags and made his long overdue departure to Tampa Bay.

The Jets sacrificed a first round pick to nab Doug Jolley from the Raiders. The Jets will run many two TE sets in new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdiner’s offense, so Jolley’s presence won’t be lost. However, the Jets were high on Jolley and now that has apparently worn off. Baker started last Friday against the Vikings and Jolley had no catches.

Who will win the starting strong safety job?
Rookie Kerry Rhodes has a short-term memory. In most professions this not an admirable characteristic, but in the NFL, it fits just fine according to Edwards. “When something bad happens he forgets about it,” the coach said.

Playing safety is the toughest position in the secondary according to Edwards, who in his first training camp as a rookie under Dick Vermeil with the Eagles was forced to play strong safety for the first week. He moved to corner, but those seven days told Edwards a lot. He is trying to get Rhodes to learn all the responsibilities as quickly as possible.

Can new right tackle Adrian Jones protect Chad Pennington?
Stepping for Kareem McKenzie has not been easy for Jones, who this season will play right tackle for the first time. Jones has gotten extra reps with the second and third teams during practice and has played longer than the rest of the starters during the starters during the games.

Jones, a tight end his first three years in college and played left tackle his senior year, must do the job because the Jets have no alternative. He must protect the $64-million arm of Pennington.

Though the regular season is still 18 days away, the Jets still have some holes to fill. On paper the can be anywhere from a 10 to 13 win team, but that’s just on paper.

“You’re never the team you want to be through the first four games [of the regular season],” Edwards said.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

INSIDER TIDBITS

-P Ben Graham out-kicked Micah Knorr in this morning’s practice.

-KR/RB DeCori Birmingham, who is battling rookie Justin Miller and has a slim chance of making the roster as a returner, fumbled a punt. He had to run a good distance to get to the ball and was scolded by special teams coach Mike Westhoff, who told him he should have made a fair catch.

-Miller, on the other hand, let a punt he was attempting to field go over his head.

-WR Carl Kearney is trying to make an impression now that the fifth WR slot is up for grabs. His one-handed catch on a pass over the middle today will undoubtedly help.

-QB Chad Pennington connected with WR Wayne Chrebet for a 60-yard touchdown.

-Long-shot WR Chas Gessner, who has impressed during practices but dropped balls during games, let a pass over the middle go through his hands.

ROSTER MOVES: The Jets announced the release of rookie kicker Xavier Beitia (Florida State) and the signing of rookie LB James Kinney (Missouri).

Beitia showed promise but had a snowball's chance in hell of making the the team with Mike Nugent on the roster. Kinney, was picked up off waivers from Jacksonville and adds some LB depth with the injuries of Darrell McClover and Mondoe Davis who were both placed on injured reserve recently.

-CANNIZZARO FAN CHAT Join Jets Insider/NY Post Jets beat writer Mark Cannizzaro tonight (8/24) at 8 PM EST for his exclusive weekly fan chat in the Jets Insider.com chatroom. Mark will give you the skinny on all happenings at Hofstra. Chat is open to all Jets Insider Club Members. To join the Jets Insider club and take advantage of all club benefits, CLICK HERE.

JI Club membership is less than 20 cents per day!

INJURY REPORT

CB Ty Law practiced this morning and received fluids and antibiotics because of his stomach flu and is still scheduled to play Friday.

-WR Harry Williams Jr. (knee): 2-5 weeks
-FB Jerald Sowell (ribs): Out
-S Rashad Washington (concussion): Out
-RB Cedric Houston (shoulder): Doubtful

The Jets return to the field at 3:00 for a special team’s practice. It’s their final open practice then training camp officially closes to the public. The first cut down is on Tuesday where the team has to get down to 65 players.

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