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INSIDER WEDNESDAY CAMP REPORT

By David Fletcher
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 2nd, 2006
Is it true? Has Eric Mangini really selected his starting QB so soon? (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Is it true? Has Eric Mangini really selected his starting QB so soon? (Jets Insider.com Photo)
It's Like A Sauna In Here. The heat was so oppressive today in Hempstead that the team moved practice to the evening to try to get some relief. Hours earlier however, Coach Eric Mangini addressed a story reported by the New Jersey Star Ledger that he had already picked his starting quarterback.

ALSO: Insider Tidbits reveal an up and coming rookie who is carted off the field and during tackling drills. The injury could be serious.

With a heat index reaching over 110 degrees this afternoon the Jets decided to move the schedule 2PM practice to 5:45PM. Even with the late start, the heat was still stifling.

Earlier at an 11:40 AM press conference with the media the Coach addressed a report that was published this morning by Dave Hutchinson of the NJ Star Ledger claiming that Coach Mangini had selected Chad Pennington to take the role of starting quarterback for the team. The Jets’ press room at Weeb Ewbank Hall was obviously buzzing with just one question: Is it true?

When asked about the report, Mangini had this to say about the Jets quarterback situation:

“I need to tell you as the head coach of this football team [that] what I told everybody in here yesterday is exactly the same: the rotation will continue and there is no change in that status,” adding, “I have not made up my mind yet.”

Pennington was equally mum on the subject, telling reporters in response to the same question, “The only thing that I know that’s changed is the practice schedule and the practice time today. We’re business as usual.” Still, actions speak louder than words, and Pennington’s practice said exactly what his coach would not him to mutter: Chad Pennington will be the Jets starting quarterback.

It was clear from the get-go today that the race has already been effectively narrowed down to two competitors: Chad Pennington and Patrick Ramsey. Pennington threw with the first team today and Ramsey with the second, and each took about 40 percent of the overall snaps, leaving Brooks Bollinger and Kellen Clemens watching much of practice from the sidelines. Clemens continued to show rookie struggles throughout the day, misreading routes and overthrowing passes, and Bollinger was so useless that by the end of practice, Mangini had him lining up as a running back behind Pennington.

As difficult as it is for many Jets fans to believe given his past struggles, Pennington was nearly flawless today. Pennington did not throw an interception throughout practice, and even his misfires (which were few and far between) missed only to location where the defender had no chance at a pick. He hit a wide variety of targets, including Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery, and even a streaking B.J. Askew, who showed surprising speed off the line as Pennington hit him on a long, lead pass.

Patrick Ramsey, on the other hand, looked abysmal this afternoon. This list of his mistakes is seemingly endless; from overthrown balls to misreads to mental lapses at the line during scrimmages resulting in penalties, Ramsey truly was the antithesis of Pennington this afternoon.

The day was capped off with the two contending quarterbacks each taking their shot at executing a two-minute drill while down eight points. Pennington showed poise and confidence as he effortlessly moved his team up the field via a series of sharp sideline passes. Then, with over a minute remaining, Pennington found rookie receiver Brad Smith in the end zone for a touchdown from more than 40 yards out (a spectacular catch by Smith). In the same drill, Ramsey took over 15 minutes before failing to score – a task made much more difficult by the numerous false starts and delay-of-games that he managed to accrue.

If this were just one day, I’d say Ramsey was still in the race, but truth-be-told, Pennington has been getting better since day one while everyone else is looking worse.

INSIDER TIDBITS:

-Rookie WR Dante Ridgeway went down grabbing his right leg during tackle drills when he was slammed into the ground by Kerry Rhodes. After being attended to by the medical staff and trying to walk off the injury, Ridgeway was forced to leave practice. No other news on his condition.

-CB Erik Coleman, who missed yesterday’s practice due to illness, was absent again today despite reports from Coach Mangini that he was doing well.

LB Eric Barton laid down a pair of massive hits in today’s practice. Until this point he has pretty much flown under the radar.

-Kicker Mike Nugent wowed onlookers today as he effortlessly knocked in back-to-back field goals from 25 yards out that were spotted out-of-bounds by punter Ben Graham.

INJURY REPORT

-TE Jason Pociask (shoulder): day to day
-WR Dante Ridgeway (leg): day to day
-DT Tui Alailefaleula (unknown): day to day
-CB David Barrett (leg): day to day
-DT Sione Pouha (leg): day to day
-CB Erik Coleman (illness): day to day
-RB Curtis Martin (knee) on PUP list
-C Trey Teague (ankle) on PUP list

The Jets have ammended their schedule and now have only one practice scheduled for Thursday, which is set to begin at 8:45AM. Be sure to check back to JI for all the latest camp reports.

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