The Jets had their frist practice ever at Giants Stadium Saturday.
The Jets moved their practices from Hofstra University this weekend to the Meadowlands, to get a game-like feeling before the pre-season begins. In a few years, this will be routine for Jets players as the team will move their operations from Long Island to New Jersey after a new stadium is built in 2009. Thousands of New Jersey fans showed up to cheer for their favorite team today.
Head coach Eric Mangini’s plan to get the team ready for the grind of traveling to the Meadowlands and preparing themselves mentally to get ready for a game seemed to be successful after the first of two practices scheduled for this weekend. An estimate 6000 fans roared as the team came out and stretched before practice, of course the loudest cheers went to QB Chad Pennington, who even though still isn’t the number one quarterback on the depth chart, is still number one to Jet fans. In fact, it seemed like Pennington was the only Jets player to get an ovation from the fans until near the end of practice when the team practiced game-like situations. The first boo from the crowd belonged to WR/KR Tim Dwight who dropped a punt return, but made up for it by catching the next one.
Another feature of being at the Meadowlands came from the public address announcer, who introduced the fans to the new Jets players as well as the quarterbacks. Surprisingly, the two quarterbacks who everyone wanted to see practice; Pennington and Patrick Ramsey saw limited practice time. QBs Kellen Clemens and Brooks Bollinger did most of the work today and the pressured got to Bollinger. He lost control of a ball hiked to him in a game drill and lost almost twenty yards on the play. Also, right before this, during the previous drill, Bollinger threw an interception to LB Jonathan Vilma. Then Clemens made Bollinger’s mistake look even worse as when he came in, he looked to be more in control with the offense coming up a dropped pass short of scoring the winning touchdown in the drill.
Pennington out did Clemens though earlier in the practice. After taking a lap for fumbling the ball, Clemens watched as Pennington came in to throw a touchdown pass to FB BJ Askew.
Pennington was pleased to be back at the Meadowlands and to hear all his fans rooting for him to comeback and have a great year, “I am really working hard to comeback and lead this team… That is my goal and my focus…I think fans see that.” Pennington thought it was a “great idea” by Mangini to bring the players to the Meadowlands to “get acclimated to the stadium.”
Two of the players that were getting “acclimated” at the Meadowlands for the first time were first round draft picks T D’Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold. Today was Ferguson’s second time coming to the Meadowlands, the first was coming here as a fan to watch the Jets play. Ferguson said that he was, “glad to be here” and knew that this was just a “taste of the regular season,” referring to the noise from the fans present. Mangold said it was “awe-inspiring” to be at the Meadowlands and the “fans have been great all over,” referring to both Long Island and New Jersey. Mangini was also happy to be here for the first time as the head coach of the home team, “it’s always great to be here and fun to be back, especially in this context.” Mangini even joked that he had to find out where the locker room was.
-Fifth round draft pick TE Jason Pociask has been placed on injury reserve, IR, and will not play this season.
-S Eric Coleman is still suffering from an undisclosed illness and did not make the trip to the Meadowlands with the team.
-RB Curtis Martin did make the trip, but was unable to be met with for comment.
-During yesterday’s off day, the team met with University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun, who gave a motivating speech to the players.
-Also yesterday, the team saw the movie Invincible, which is about a regular person working hard and becoming a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
-CB David Barrett (leg): day-to-day
-CB Erik Coleman (illness): day-to-day
-TE Jason Pociask (shoulder): IR, OUT for season
-WR Dante Ridgeway (leg): day to day
-DT Tui Alailefaleula (leg): day to day
-DT Sione Pouha (leg): day to day
-RB Curtis Martin (knee): on PUP list
-C Trey Teague (ankle): on PUP list
Tomorrow’s itinerary will be different, as the practice will be closed to the public. Mangini believes this is important as he tries to “simulate as much as possible, a game-like situation,” for the team, “that includes leaving the facility, taking the bus, the team hotel, and the whole pre-game procedure.” The practice is scheduled for 4:15 tomorrow and then the Jets return to Long Island on Monday for a two o’clock practice. JI will be at tomorrow’s session so be sure to check back for a full report!