The Jets returned to Hofstra today for a three-day voluntary mini-camp. The one player whom everybody was watching was Chad Pennington, who was taking reps at practice for the first time since he suffered his season ending torn rotator cuff last fall. According to new head coach Eric Mangini, Pennington was limited to an undisclosed number of throws not by the coach himself but by the medical team who is still monitoring Pennington’s recovery from surgery on his right shoulder. Mangini strayed away from answering questions about health problems of all his players not just on Pennington, including Trey Teague and Derrick Blaylock. Pennington is not only fighting to become 100 percent healthy, but he is also fighting for his number one spot at the quarterback position. With the release of veteran quarterback Jay Fielder and the retirement of Vinny Testaverde, the signing and drafting of Patrick Ramsey and Kellen Clemens, has made the quarterback position, according to Mangini “open to all” and that “the best player will make the team.”
Pennington admitted to not having his velocity timed exactly right, but “things are getting better.” "I feel great," said the QB. He also admitted to having a pitch count, but would not disclose full details like his new coach. “He is working hard to be a productive player and he is trying to create consistency the more he throws, “The repetition helps as well as coming out on the field, ” said Pennington. He has made it clear that he understands that the job for quarterback is open and he knows he that he has to compete with not only his teammates but himself as well if he plans on being fully healthy and able to be the number one guy again. Also, Pennington told the media that, he “was not trying to prove he can still throw the long ball” when asked about his one deep pass to WR Laveranues Coles.
Ramsey on the other hand was asked more about adjusting to his new team and the new offense he is working with. “I was happy to get out on the field and work with the offense. I’m getting more comfortable every day and you try to accelerate as much as possible,” said Ramsey when asked about the new offense. He also mentioned that there are some similarities in all the offenses he’s seen in so far in the NFL and that this one is not as confusing to learn as some might think.
The other star for the Jets, Curtis Martin, also saw a monitored involvement in practice after returning from season ending surgery on his right knee. Mangini stated that, “he is taking part in all the drills and he is a guy that we are watching and making sure that it’s within the framework of his rehab.” It was good though to see Pennington handoff to Martin again even if it was just in practice.
Brooks Bollinger as well as Justin McCareins also made some noise during the first practice. Bollinger was the first player berated by his coaches for not having his head in the drill and McCareins almost came down with a great one handed catch near the end of practice.
When asked about the draft class of 2006, Mangini was quick to answer that the players, “look like rookies and that they are swimming. New position, new place, new people, new coaches, they go from an elevated position to a position where they need to carve out a role and help us figure out a way to win.” First round picks Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson admitted that the their new roles and plays are more complicated than they were in college, but Mangold stated that you just “stick your nose in and learn.”
Kellen Clemens was the surprise of this day’s camp as he received most of the reps with the first team, but according to Mangini, “no one should look into it.” Mangini also stated that he had no choice as of now on who would be his number one quarterback and probably would not know until the end of training camp. Clemens responded to questions by stating how happy he was to be here and have such a great opportunity to learn from experienced quarterbacks like Ramsey and Pennington.
Ramsey appeared to look better throwing the ball around today than any of the other three quarterbacks, including one bullet pass to rookie wide receiver Brad Smith that made Smith bobble the ball before dropping it. Pennington appears to be coming along fine and his arm does look like it’s getting healthier with each throw. Also, Clemens leg did not show any signs of still being banged up after he broke it last fall and was forced to miss the final four games of his college career.
Other news from camp included the signing of Alonzo Jackson and the release of linebacker Michael Brown. Coach Mangini was happy to say that he had a 100 percent participation in this mini-camp except for center Trey Teague who is still suffering from an undisclosed leg injury.
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The Jets continue their three day minicamp through Saturday. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com often for all the latest news.