The second day of Jets veteran minicamp started with Chad Pennington soft-tossing to Curtis Martin. The Jets’ two recovering superstars sharing opening practice together was laced with irony.
Pennington, who has handed off to Martin in the backfield since 2001, today tossed a different burden to his future Hall-of-Fame running back. Yesterday, Pennington felt the glare of the spotlight, answering inquiries about his twice-surgically repaired right shoulder. On Wednesday it was Martin’s turn to feel the heat, but his extinguished any clamor about his surgically-repaired right knee very quickly.
“It’s getting better,” Martin said. “I’m just working everyday. I’m just trying to work myself into good shape.”
That was Martin’s opening statement. After that, the discourse with the media went like this.
Curtis, how is the knee feel when you cut?
“I don’t like going into a lot of detail about it,” Martin said. “I’m just working on it everyday.”
Is your progress what you expected?
“Yeah, yeah,” Martin continued. “It’s going well so far. Like I said, hopefully it continues going well to get better.”
Well, Curtis, do you think you’ll be ready for training camp?
“We’ll see when training camp comes,” Martin said. “In case you didn’t notice I’m not going to answer much about injuries.”
Welcome to the Eric Mangini era, a reign that surely will be clouded with mystery about injuries and creative variations of “no comment.” Martin was limited on the field and didn’t partake in 11-on-11 drills for the second straight day. The entire Jets contingent refused to be specific regarding any injuries.
“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,” Mangini said.
Mangini dodged questions about Martin’s timetable for recovery, participation in drills and availability for the start of training camp of next month.
“Curtis has always exceeded expectations throughout his career,” the first-year coach said. “He always been a unique guy.”
All eyes are on Martin to make a full recovery. The ironclad running back has racked up a lit of mileage over his 11-years career. The fourth leading rusher in NFL history missed the last four games of 2005 after succumbing to the pain of an undisclosed knee injury.
Martin had a streak of 126 consecutive games played and was striving to become the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in his first 11 seasons. The pain forced Martin to shut it down early last year. Martin wanted to play, but his performance only endangered his health.
“It is what it is,” Martin said about playing too much last season. “I played because I wanted to help the team. That was all that I was concerned about.”
Martin’s workload has been an issue his whole career. Martin admittedly needs a lot of work to conditioning in the preseason and with no public knowledge about his return, will he be ready for the start of the season?
“I’m not worried about that,” Martin said. “I’m going to get my work in. The coaches know that. We know as a team that [I will get my work in] and we know its something that’s going to happen.”
At least someone knows.
Lap time. That Eric Mangini and former Jets coach Herm Edwards share difference philosophies on discipline is like saying Japan is a hop, skip and jump away from Lose Angeles. It’s more than miles apart.
However that became glaring clear today when several players erred during the morning’s practice. Mangini made several run laps after mental breakdowns on the field.
The most evident –an intriguing – was after a false start penalty during 11-on-11. Rookie first-rounders Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson were accompanied by long-standing veteran G Pete Kendall after a false start penalty. The three ran a lap around the practice field.
QBs Brooks Bollinger (twice) and Kellen Clemens were forced to trot, as were RB Nick Hartigan and WR Laveranues Coles. Interestingly, Coles did not run a full lap. He cut-short his lap by about 10 yards.
Cox in the fray. Seeing former Jets’ LB Brian Cox at minicamp was a familiar sight. Cox, who is the Jets LB coach, looked like he’d been at it for decades. He barked at players during drills, and got so into it that he almost reached for shoulder pads.
“I’m going to hit someone,” Cox said with an ear-to-ear grin.
PHOTO GALLERY: For exclusive Jets Insider.com Minicamp photos