Rookie LB Anthony Schlegel has had a solid camp so far and could be a regular contributor to the Jets defense. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Last Wednesday it was the heat that was stifling at Jets training camp but this morning it was the Jets defense smothering the White clad offensive squad. While most of the focus thus far in camp has been on the offense, the defense stole the show today as Green jerseys seemed to zip all around the field in a grueling 2 hour and 45 minute session.
The secondary looked particularly strong as it was a struggle for the Jets passing game to find anything significant through the air. In addition to four interceptions and several deflections, the safeties and corners were right on top of the receivers when they caught the ball. Few passing plays during 11-on-11 drills went for more than five yards and no quarterback was truly able to establish a consistent attack. It does not look like the team is having much difficulty adjusting to head coach Eric Mangini’s 3-4 system.
“For us, it’s just guarding the guy in front of you,” offseason addition CB Andre Dyson said. “Maybe there’s different techniques here and there from what I’ve done in the past but it’s mostly the same, don’t let a guy beat you deep and give up any big plays.”
Rookie quarterback Kellen Clemens had the mightiest struggle in the morning session. Clemens was off all practice, missing several routes and making some very poor reads. Clemens was picked off twice, once by veteran cornerback Ray Mickens and once by CB Rayshun Reed. He was also almost intercepted by cornerback Justin Miller but rookie wide receiver Brad Smith alertly reached in to swat the ball to the ground. After having a fairly stellar camp so far, Clemens looked like the rookie he is today.
“I know I’ve made progress, but I still have a lot of work to do,” Clemens said after practice. “There is still a lot of progress to be made.”
Clemens said that he still believes he is in competition for the starting job. There has been speculation that it is veteran Chad Pennington’s job to lose, Clemens is looking forward to competing in Tampa this weekend and still believes he has a chance.
“I’m very excited to go down to Tampa Bay and play against someone other than the Jets,” Clemens said. “Until Coach Mangini says the competition is over and a guy has won it as far as I know we’re still going out and competing.
It wasn’t all bad for the offense in the morning though. The wide receivers looked strong yet again. Veteran WR/KR Tim Dwight made a terrific catch on a ball behind him and Smith and WR Reggie Newhouse looked very crisp in their route-running. Rookie fullback Stacy Tutt also continued his strong camp as he showed a terrific burst down the sideline after catching a screen from quarterback Patrick Ramsey. Dwight, the veteran leader of the offense, feels the team has made some good progress since camp opened.
“We’re getting things down, it’s a whole new system to us,” Dwight said. “I’ve been in this system before and it takes some time to be good. We’re coming along, we just get better everyday and keep a positive attitude, you know, its ok to mess up but just don’t do it again.”
-The Jets announced that they have waived rookie wide receiver C.J. Fayton and signed wide receiver Curtis Williams from the University of Maryland.
-Tim Dwight, the veteran leader of the receiving core, has enjoyed the progress he has seen out of rookie wide receiver Brad Smith. “He has unbelievable potential,” Dwight said. “He’s stepped it up this last week and he’s kind of getting a good feel. He’s starting to really grasp the offense and he’s got great ability. He makes some big plays.”
-Head coach Eric Mangini has still not commented on who will start at quarterback or how much time each passer will see on Friday in the preseason opener against Tampa Bay. “We’re going to see how the rest of the week at practice goes and we’ll evaluate everything then make our decision.”
-This morning’s practice was long even by Mangini’s standards as the players were worked for two hours and 45 minutes. Still the team will return to the practice field at 5:45 this afternoon before traveling to Tampa.
-Rookie LB Anthony Schlegel has shown a lot of promise during camp and should get a lot of playing time right off the bat this season.
-Mangini told the press that he would try to make RB Curtis Martin available for interview in the near future. He did not elaborate on his injuries or progress though.
-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 an afternoon session late today at 5:30 PM. Be sure to check back to JI for all the details and latest Jets news!