With Lee Suggs on his way back to Cleveland, veteran RB Derrick Blaylock seems to be the Jets best bet at RB for now. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
It was an eventful Tuesday at Jets camp, as before the players even hit the field, the running game continued to struggle. During his 12:30 p.m. press conference, head coach Eric Mangini announced that running back Lee Suggs had failed his physical Tuesday morning and that the trade would be voided. With Curtis Martin still a big question mark, the team seems to have a big hole in their running game.
While the Jets will get cornerback Derrick Strait back as Suggs will return to the Cleveland Browns. Mangini said he was looking forward to the increased competition at the running back spot but is happy to have Strait back with the team.
“I have enjoyed the way Derrick has worked and studied thus far in camp,” Mangini said of the veteran cornerback. “I’m looking forward to getting Derrick back here and I wish Lee well.”
Mangini would not specify what caused Suggs to fail the physical and would only say that the tests are “standard operating procedure.”
“Every team has certain standards that they want there players to meet,” Mangini said. “We have a consistent test that players must pass and I am very comfortable with the criteria we have in place.”
The running back competition will return to the way it was between RBs Cedric Houston and Derrick Blaylock and long shot rookie Leon Washington. Mangini even suggested that he may be willing to split time between the backs in the regular season if future hall-of-fame running back Curtis Martin is not ready to return.
“I think each game will be approached differently based on the style of defense you are facing,” Mangini said. “Who plays the bigger role each game will be based on the game plan for that week.”
Mangini also scoffed at questions asking whether he had any regrets about not drafting a running back with a higher pick in the April draft.
“We felt we made the best decisions for the New York Jets,” the head coach said. “I’m very proud of the way we approached the draft, I’m very proud of the players we brought in here, and I’m very proud of the way those guys have worked so far.”
The squad’s current running backs have remained focused on their own work even with all this speculation circling around.
“Anything they do as far as bringing another guy in here is for the best of the team,” Blaylock said after Tuesday’s practice. “All I can do is get in the classroom and learn the playbook then come out here and put what I learned to use.”
On the field, the team moved into its game preparation phase for the upcoming game with the Washington Redskins.
The secondary looked strong as the defensive backs were able to shut down the wide receivers for the most part during one on one drills. Quarterback Brooks Bollinger also had an impressive practice, completing passes consistently to several different receivers. He also had the highlight of the afternoon as he was able to thread a ball through two defenders and complete a mid-range pass to tight end Doug Jolley.
Bollinger is slated to get some snaps with the first team in Saturday’s game against the Redskins.
-Suggs was not the only running back the Jets lost on Tuesday. The team also announced that they waived rookie Nick Hartigan.
-Mangini said he has not been happy with the exchange between the quarterbacks and centers thus far.
“To me that’s the simplest play in a football game,” Mangini said. “We’re going to continue to work on it before and after practice until we get it right.”
-Throughout camp Mangini has continued to move the defensive backs around to different positions. At some times one can even see two cornerbacks playing safety positions while two safeties play corner. This is something the coach said he likes to do because he wants his secondary players to be versatile. This will give the team more flexibility to give different looks and be better prepared in the case of an injury.
“I enjoy it, I like play cornerback and all that stuff,” safety Kerry Rhodes said. “I’m ready to play wherever they ask me to play, so it’s all good.”
-Former Baltimore Colt star Joe Ehrmann spoke to the team on Monday. Mangini decided to bring Ehrmann in after reading the book “Season of Life” which is centered around a football team in Baltimore that Ehrmann coached. The head coach felt Ehrmann’s message was powerful and that is important that the team understand his message of trying to alleviate pain and suffering in the world everyday.
-G Isaac Snell (leg): day to day
-CB/KR Drew Coleman (knee): day to day
-WR Dante Ridgeway (leg): day to day
-CB Erik Coleman (illness): 1-2 weeks
-RB Curtis Martin (knee): on PUP list
-C Trey Teague (ankle): on PUP list
-DT Sione Pouha (knee): IR Out for Season
-TE Jason Pociask (shoulder): IR Out for Season
The Jets return for a 2PM practice tomorrow. Be sure to check back to JI for all the latest training camp news.