Veteran Jets WR Justin McCareins, who reportedly has been in Eric Mangini's doghouse will need to impress this camp starting in Tampa on Friday. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Less than two days before the Jets start their preseason schedule in Tampa Bay and there still is no word as to who the starting quarterback for Gang Green. QB Chad Pennington still appears to be the choice to land the starting job, but he still hasnít shown just how strong his arm really is. The only positive that would make it almost a lock for Pennington to start on Friday night is the fact that, statistically, starters only play about half of the first quarter during the first preseason game and gradually get more playing time as they work towards the regular season.
The other three quarterbacks fighting for the number one job with Pennington were used a lot more in the afternoon practice then Pennington was, but still more reps were given to rookie Kellen Clemens and Brooks Bollinger. Both players looked miserable in an 11-11 drill that put the offense on the 40-yard line with less than two minutes remaining and the team was down by five.
Clemens went 3-10 and amassed only 24 yards before the team lost possession of the ball after he threw the ball away with less than 30 seconds left, on fourth down. Not to be outdone was Bollinger, who went 3-6 but threw an interception to S Kerry Rhodes who would have been to return the ball for a touchdown because no one was near him to take him down. Clemens at least made up for his debacle by throwing a touchdown to WR/KR Tim Dwight and going 5-6 on his next drive.
Pennington and Ramsey used a lot of their plays to work on handoffs and short, light passes, but Ramsey continues to struggles as he almost threw an interception to CB/KR Justin Miller. The pass looked as if it was actually intended for Miller instead of the receiver Ramsey was aiming for.
While the passing game looked sloppy at times, the punting and kicking games were again on target as P Ben Graham and K Mike Nugent gave a great show to the fans watching on the sidelines. Graham was kicking the ball almost 60 yards at times during practice and Nugent hit all but one of his field goal attempts, missing the one from about 65 yards.
With the fans back watching the Jets practice at night, the music came back as well. At one point, Miller was so hyped up that when the music was turned after in between drills he raised his hands up and starting screaming that he needed it back on. Coach Eric Mangini even joined in with Miller raising is hands as well when the music came back on to symbolize the start of the next drill.
One person who you wonít see playing around during practice is WR Justin McCareins. With Dwight and WR/KR Jerricho Cotchery as well as WR Brad Smith excelling so far in camp, McCareins is going to have to step it up if he wants to keep his job as the number two wide receiver on the team behind WR Laveranues Coles. Remember that, McCareins started camp on the physically unable to perform list because he failed his physical and you know Mangini has not forgotten about it, so while everyone focuses on Pennington and RB Curtis Martin the wide receivers are secretly creeping up and causing a bit of a stir during camp.
-The team was fooling around near the end of practice, including QB Chad Pennington who during one play punted the ball thirty yards down to the twenty-yard line.
-CB Ray Mickens and S Kerry Rhodes slammed into each during a play that had QB Patrick Ramsey throwing a pass to WR/KR Tim Dwight. Mickens went down, but both players were OK after the collision.
-Pennington worked the first team offense in tonightís practice.
-Mangini noted in his press conference today that CB Justin Miller has been steadily improving this camp. Miller has reportedly been working diligently on improving his technique. With Ty Law gone, the Jets are hoping Miller can come into his own this season and be a big contributor in the secondary. Mangini also praised DT Dewayne Robertson on his improvements and work ethic.
-If you missed it, make sure you check out the transcript of Curtis Martinís chat with the media today that was uploaded on JIís front page earlier today.
-The Star Ledger reported today that the planned joint stadium scheduled to break ground this year is on hold due massive disagreements between the Jets and Giants regarding almost all aspects of design and construction. Good news for all of us that are holding a shred of hope that the deal blows up and the Jets come to their senses and build their own home in NY.
-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
With tomorrow a travel day to Tampa, the next time fans will be able to see the Jets will be at Raymond James Stadium on Friday for the first preseason game against the Buccaneers. Coach Jon Grudenís Bucs are coming off an 11-5 season that ended with a first round loss to the Washington Redskins last January. Be sure to check back to JI for a complete game preview on Friday!