What is the mysterious illness that has plagued S Eric Coleman since camp started? (Jets Insider.com Photo)
After Monday’s practice was cancelled by head coach Eric Mangini, the team returned to work on Tuesday amid rumors that veteran running back Curtis Martin, on the physically unable to perform list, could miss a significant part of the season or could even possibly retire as he continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery.
Thus far Martin has been the invisible man around Jets training camp as the team has kept him working out in indoors facilities away from the team as well as the media and the public. Mangini’s reassurances are the only evidence that Martin has indeed been with the team as he continues his rehabilitation process.
With the mend taking longer than expected, it seems likely that the Jets will look to explore opportunities to bring in a proven veteran back. It has been reported that general manager has contacted the Tennessee Titans about their starting running back Chris Brown. Brown, who had 851 yards on 224 carries in 2005, has been unhappy since the team’s addition of veteran RB Travis Henry and rookie LenDale White, a development which would force Brown to share the load in the Titans’ backfield.
Another veteran back who could be available is Thomas Jones of the Chicago Bears. Jones led the Bears with 1,335 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns last season but is slated to be the back-up to Cedric Benson in the Chicago backfield. Mangini declined to comment on what backs, if any, the team has considered picking up.
“Mike Tannenbaum and I sit down everyday and we evaluate what we have at every position and what’s available around the league,” the head coach said. “We are exploring the options that are out there.”
Right now, the possible solutions on the roster are less than dazzling. The top two backs in training camp have been second-year player Cedric Houston and veteran Derrick Blaylock, who is coming off a serious ankle injury in 2005. Thus far, neither of these players has had the opportunity to do much more than catch passes out of the backfield as practices have featured few full contact drills. No matter what the answer is, the Jets seem to realize no one can truly replace the things that Martin has brought to the team over the years. Rookie RB Leon Washington has shown promise but is very raw and unproven.
“Everyone knows what Curtis has meant to this organization,” veteran quarterback Chad Pennington said. “He’s been great. He’s meant a lot to me as a person as well. He was really a rock for me last year with everything I was going through.”
Pennington continued to shine in practice today, throwing passes with pinpoint precision including one play where he scrambled to his right then hit wide receiver Justin McCareins along the sideline for a first down. Still, Mangini is yet to name a starter for even the upcoming preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Nothing is set in stone yet,” Mangini said. “We’re going to look at where we are in the rotation and how the week goes.”
Though Pennington looked sharp again, some of the Jets receivers struggles as there were several dropped passes in this morning’s practice. Full back Stacy Tutt and wide receivers McCareins and Reggie Newhouse all dropped passes. McCareins’s drop was the worst as it fell into the arms of cornerback Andre Dyson for an interception.
The best play from the receiving core once again came from rookie Brad Smith, who continues to be a human highlight reel during training camp. Smith leapt into the air and pulled a pass from QB Patrick Ramsey down through Dyson’s outstretched arm for a touchdown.
-Jets Insider has learned the illness that has been plaguing S Eric Coleman since camp started is an appendix. He reportedly had an appendectomy this weekend and could miss up to another 2 weeks of camp. Rookie Eric Smith has been filling in for Coleman during his absence.
-Coach Mangini has been impressed with veteran wide receiver Laveraneus Coles throughout training camp. Mangini said he has enjoyed the vet’s work ethic and also the fact that he is effective in both the passing game and in the running game as a blocker. Coles was apparently unaware of his admirer. “It’s hard to tell what coach is thinking because he never smiles,” Coles said with a grin.
-Several sources are confirming that an MRI performed on the knee of rookie CB Drew Coleman came back negative. It revealed only a bruise and he should be back in action within a few days.
-The Jets waived rookie wide receiver Deqawn Mobley.
-Mangini has liked the progress he has seen out of veteran cornerback Andre Dyson since his arrival in the spring.
“Andre has made great strides since he first got here,” Mangini said. “But he is an example of a guy who has to continue to work to make further progress.”
-CB/KR Drew Coleman (knee): day to day
-TE Jason Pociask (shoulder): IR Out for Season
-RB Curtis Martin (knee): on PUP list
-C Trey Teague (ankle): on PUP list
-WR Dante Ridgeway (leg): day to day
-DT Tui Alailefaleula (leg): day to day
-DT Sione Pouha (leg): day to day
-CB Erik Coleman (illness): 1-2 weeks
-CB David Barrett (leg): day to day
The team returns to the practice field for a PM session later today at 5:30PM. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest news.