Jets players show fan appreciation by signing autographs on the last day of Camp. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
The Jets completed training camp this afternoon with a brief 45 minute special-teams practice. With the end of training camp, here are some positives that Jets fans can focus on entering the 2005 season:
WR LAVERNANUES COLES AND QB CHAD PENNINGTON WILL REGAIN THE CHEMISTRY THEY HAD IN 2002
In 2002, WR Laveranues Coles had his best pro season, catching 89 balls for 1,264 yards and five touchdowns. After that season, Coles signed with the Washington Redskins as a restricted free agent. While Coles certainly was not terrible in his two years with the Redskins, catching 172 passes for 2,154 yards and seven touchdowns, he missed his friends with the Jets like Pennington and WR Wayne Chrebet. Both were instrumental in bringing Coles back as he was traded to the Jets for WR Santana Moss in the off-season.
On Friday against the Vikings, Coles was the number one target for Pennington, catching six passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. “It’s almost like I line up and at certain times I just know the ball is coming to me,” Coles said after the game. “Then there are times when I line up, look at the defense, and know he is probably going to go the other way. That’s just me knowing him, and him knowing me. That is just something different and great we have.”
Pennington is glad to have Coles back. “You have a relationship with receivers that you just can’t put your finger on and you just cannot explain,” Pennington said. “He makes me a better QB.”
Expect to see the Pennington to Coles connection often this season.
CURTIS MARTIN SHOWS NO SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN
Coming into training camp last season, many people questioned RB Curtis Martin’s ability at 31 years old. Martin, who had run the stairs in Santa Monica, California in the off-season to prepare, responded to the critics with his best pro season, rushing for 1,697 yards and 12 touchdowns, winning the NFL rushing title. Now 32 years old, Martin continues to impress. While he has not had the same amount of carries in the preseason as he had last year, Martin will no doubt be ready once Sept. 11 comes.
“I think the funny thing for me is that as I get older I learn to appreciate the game more and more and I feel like I am having more fun out there so as I come in it seems to renew it’s self because in the off season I get a new appreciation for the game,” Martin said.
JONATHAN VILMA WILL HAVE NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP
The Jets had high expectations last season for their first-round draft pick out of the University of Miami, LB Jonathan Vilma and he exceeded them. Vilma finished second on the team with 118 tackles and had two sacks and three interceptions. He became the first Jet to earn NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year since Hugh Douglas in 1995. Vilma stepped into the starting role after Sam Cowart got hurt in week two and never relinquished the spot. Vilma has had a quiet but solid camp and is a mature leader on and off the field.
Vilma was asked about feeling more pressure this year. “I put pressure on myself,” Vilma said. “I don’t have to worry about fans, media or what everyone else expects from me. I know what I expect from myself. As long as I put that pressure and keep it on myself, I’ll be alright.”
Edwards doesn’t worry about a sophomore slump. “He’s not one of them (to drop off after having a great rookie year) because of the ways he works,” Edwards said. “He doesn’t fall in love with his press clippings. He knows that he has to work hard.”
TY LAW WILL HELP THE SECONDARY TREMENDOUSLY
One of the areas of concern in the Jets defense is the young secondary as no player has been with the team for more than a year. However, with CB Ty Law on the field, the secondary will be much improved. To sign Law, the Jets had to cut CB Ray Mickens, which was tough on Edwards, who is close with his players. Edwards scouted Law when he was coming out of Michigan and Edwards was a scout with Kansas City. Law is close friends with RB Curtis Martin and defensive backs coach Corwin Brown, who he played with in New England.
While Law may not be the biggest or fastest cornerback, he brings intensity, experience and work ethic to the Jets. Law is a four-time Pro Bowler who had 36 interceptions in his career. He has shown a knack for being around the ball and is a very physical corner. “I have played on some good football teams and I’m used to winning,” Law said. “I’m coming here expecting to continue to win. I had experience in big games, I’m a warrior, in my opinion, and I will go out there and play for you.”
Many teams were afraid to take a chance on Law because of his broken foot suffered last season but the Jets worked him out and were impressed with what they saw. “I’m not taking anything for granted, I’m maximizing the moment every play,” Law said. Law is certainly grateful of the opportunity the Jets are giving him.
Law began practicing full time on Sunday and will see his first preseason action on Friday against the Giants. Defensive Coordinator Donnie Henderson talked about what having Law on the field allows the defense to do. “It gives us a chance to be a little more aggressive, the way I like to be,” Henderson said. “It also gives us more knowledge in the secondary and it makes our team better.”
MIKE NUGENT WILL BE BETTER THAN DOUG BRIEN
K Doug Brien’s fate was sealed when he missed two game winning field goals in the AFC Divisional Playoffs at Pittsburgh. Brien was released and with the Jets first pick in the NFL Draft, they selected K Mike Nugent 47th overall in the second round. Nugent comes from Ohio State, where he made 72-88 field goals during his career. Nugent is used to dealing with media, which is key being in New York, and has shown calmness under high pressure situations.
“I have all the confidence in myself,” Nugent said. “I think you can always have more confidence, but I have a lot of confidence in myself and if I can get my coaches and teammates to look at it the same way that can help me so much in the long run.”
-P Ben Graham out-kicked Micah Knorr this afternoon. Graham’s longest punt was a 70-yarder that awed the fans.
-WR Jerricho Cotchery displayed nice hands during an onside kick, recovering the ball as part of the kickoff team. Cotchery also was one of the players returning punts.
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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
Training camp is officially over and the team has a brief walk-through at 11 a.m. tomorrow as they prepare for the Giants on Friday. The first cut down is on Tuesday where the team has to get down to 65 players. Check back to Jets Insider.com for a preview of Friday’s game.