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INSIDER MONDAY CAMP REPORT
By David Fletcher
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
July 31st, 2006
Notre Dame rookie punter DJ Fitzpatrick was a casualty today and didn't have much of a shot with P Ben Graham around. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Notre Dame rookie punter DJ Fitzpatrick was a casualty today and didn't have much of a shot with P Ben Graham around. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Can't Handle The Heat The rigorous regiment of new coach Eric Mangini has already taken it’s toll as a prominent veteran who was signed in the off-season quits the team. The Jets also announced a few other roster moves on another grueling hot day.

The action started at Jets camp well before the players hit the field on Monday afternoon. Before practice, head coach Eric Mangini announced a number of roster changes to the media. The team signed Rutgers’ WR Chris Baker (the team now has 2 Chris Bakers including the TE) , Tennessee WR C.J. Fayton, and Rutgers DE Val Barnaby to fill the roster spots vacated by the waiving of Notre Dame P D.J. Fitzpatrick and Rowan WR Phil Silva, as well as Monsanto Pope, who has left the team for personal reasons.

Pope, a five-year veteran DT out of the University of Virginia, was signed by the Jets as an unrestricted free agent during the off-season from the Denver Broncos. He had been brought in to help bolster a shallow Jets’ defensive line that was plagued by injuries last year. The coach said he’s not expecting Pope to return.

Mangini spoke about Pope’s decision to leave the team.

“I think each guy has to make their own decisions and he made a decision for whatever reasons he had and it’s just part of the process.”

Monday’s practice centered on red zone offence, an area where the Jets have struggled mightily over the past few seasons. Patrick Ramsey was the first-team quarterback today, and once again, continued to impress all over the field. Early in practice, Ramsey seemed to have the most comfort passing to WR Laveranues Coles, connecting on sharp passes to the star receiver from multiple locations in the red zone. As practice moved on, Ramsey impressed the crowd with beautiful, long passes to WR’s Tim Dwight and rookie Reggie Newhouse, including an over-the-shoulder to Newhouse in the corner of the end zone during 11-on-11’s.

QB Chad Pennington had another solid day at quarterback, successfully hitting the majority of his targets. His accuracy and strength have been improving markedly during each passing day of camp. Kellen Clemens, however, has not showed the quickness to adapting to playing in pads that the team had hoped and looks to be falling out of the race for the starting quarterback role, along with backup Brooks Bollinger. As Pennington and Ramsey continue to distance themselves from their competitors, it will be interesting to see if their snap-counts increase.

In terms of running backs in the Jets’ red zone offense, RB Cedric Houston was the clear-cut star on Monday. Houston exhibited power and speed as he blasted through the middle for touchdowns in a number of 11-on-11 drills while also showing the ability to make difficult cuts. RB Derrick Blaylock sliced apart defenders in the same drills, but he ran into trouble when he was hit, usually stopping dead in his tracks.

Additionally, the race for the cornerback spots on the Jets roster heated up in the red zone practices, with Justin Miller and Derrick Strait leading the way. Strait started slowly, but came on strong at the end of practice, defending touchdown-attempts thrown by Pennington and Ramsey with spectacular diving deflections.

INSIDER TIDBITS:

-The hit-of-the-day belonged to TE Doug Jolley, who caught a pass early in practice, lowered his head, and leveled rookie S Eric Smith.

-Although not listed on the injury report, rookie Drew Coleman was seen wearing an ankle support during stretches. He then shed the brace and took to the field for kick-returning drills, where he preformed amicably.

-There was a significant decrease in media coverage for today’s practice. The number of reporters visible was down from nearly 100 over the weekend to around 20 today. This may be connected to the fact that Coach Mangini has been keeping his players from sharing useful information with the press.

-Once again, Jason Pociask was not in uniform and is still listed as day-to-day. Sione Pouha, who injured his leg in practice on Sunday, also failed to suit up.

-The Jets’ three new acquisitions were all in uniform today but played very limited roles in practice.

INJURY REPORT

-TE Jason Pociask (shoulder): day to day
-CB Eric Coleman (illness): day to day
-DT Sione Pouha (leg): day to day
-RB Curtis Martin (knee) on PUP list
-C Trey Teague (ankle) on PUP list

The Jets go back to two-a-days tomorrow with sessions at 8:45AM and 5:30PM. Be sure to check back to JI for all the latest camp reports.

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