Veteran G Pete Kendall has taken over Kevin Mawae's job as leader and mentor to the Jets' young offensive linemen. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
The Jets had another long practice this afternoon in oppresive heat as head coach Eric Mangini kept the squad on the field for another two and a half hour session. The practice was highlighted by a pair of brilliant catches by tight end Doug Jolley in a tight end vs. linebackers drill.
Quarterbacks Chad Pennington and Brooks Bollinger struggled as both had several passes picked off or deflected. During one stretch, Pennington held the ball too long, failed to read the defense correctly, leading to a delay of game penalty, and then overthrew an open Justin McCareins.
The star QB of the session was Patrick Ramsey who has looked the sharpest so far the first three days. He threw a pair of long passes, first to rookie Brad Smith, then a 40-yard touchdown strike to Tim Dwight to end the practice. Still the most important development of this weekend seems to be the emergence of several veterans as team leaders.
It is still very early in training camp but already some of the Jets’ vets are stepping up into leadership roles on the team. Players like guard Pete Kendall, WR/KR Tim Dwight, defensive end Shaun Ellis, and defensive lineman Kimo von Oelhoffen have emerged as leaders, helping the younger players adjust and learn the new system.
Kendall, who has 11 years of NFL experience, has stepped up as the ambassador of a very young unit on the Jets offensive line, a job that used to belong to former Jet center Kevin Mawae. His guidance has helped ease the adjustment of first round picks T D’Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold.
“They’re just really talented kids,” Kendall said of the two rookies. “They have a lot to learn but they have a chance to be great.”
The rookies have enjoyed working with Kendall. His knowledge of the NFL game has been a tremendous help to the younger players on and off the field.
“It’s a huge help,” Mangold said. “It’s so much information when you’re out there and to have a solid rock that you can hold on to, as in Pete, it helps out a ton.”
Dwight has also embraced his role as mentor to some of the younger guys on this year’s team. During practice he has been constantly helping out other wide receivers and rookie quarterback Kellen Clemens. Dwight realizes that he was brought to New York by Mangini because he knows both offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Mangini and their systems.
“I felt like they were treating me as a coach,” Dwight said of his offseason visits with Mangini and Schottenheimer. “I think it’s important for the young guys and guys that are learning the new offense to constantly be asking ‘you know how I can get better at this route’ or ‘what do you think can happen when your coming across the ball.’”
Off the field, however, Dwight admits that he has joined in on poking fun at Clemens and the other rookies.
“You kind of have to jump on them,” the veteran said. “If you’re not picking on them then you’re exiling them a little bit and you don’t want to do that.”
Since mini-camp Mangini has emphasized that he feels it is very important for the veterans on the team to help out some of the younger guys. During today’s press conference, the new head coach praised Ellis, now in his eighth year with the Jets, and von Oelhoffen, who has been in the NFL for 13 years, for stepping up as leader’s on the defensive side.
-At one point defensive tackle Sione Pouha had to be helped off the field by teammates after apparently hurting his leg during a play. He did return later in practice.
-New offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer seems to be making a good impression on the team. Players have described the coach as intense and say he is looking to play fast and put up a lot of points.
-Though Mangini has been running long practices, none of the players are complaining about the extra work. “You got to do what you got to do to get better,” MLB Jonathan Vilma said. “We didn’t win the championship last year, so we can’t complain.”
-Former Jets DE Mark Gastineau and OL Dave Herman watched the afternoon practice from the sidelines and also signed some autographs for fans.
-Rookie tight end Jason Pociask missed practice again this afternoon with a shoulder injury.
-DT Sione Pouha (leg): status unkown
-TE Jason Pociask (shoulder): day to day
-RB Curtis Martin (knee) on PUP list
-C Trey Teague (ankle) on PUP list
The Jets return to the field tomorrow for one practice at 2PM. Be sure to check back to JI for all the latest training camp news!
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