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INSIDER SUNDAY TEAM REPORT

By David Fletcher
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 27th, 2006
Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini knows the Jets need a lot of work before their opener in 2 weeks. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini knows the Jets need a lot of work before their opener in 2 weeks. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
At an 11:00am press conference today, Coach Eric Mangini announced that the Jets had waived 12 players in order to narrow the squad down to the to the league-mandated 75 players. The mandatory roster cut must be done by August 30th, but Mangini and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum chose to make the announcement early.

“We did it a little bit earlier,” Mangini told reporters in the opening statement of his daily presser. “I thought those guys all did a great job for us, really tried, gave great effort… and I wanted to let them go a little bit earlier just to give them the best opportunity now to catch on somewhere else because I think they really deserve that…”

The 12 men who were cut on Sunday were defensive backs Rayshun Reed, Jovon Johnson, Omowale Dada, D.J. Johnson, and Mondoe Davis; linebackers Alonzo Jackson and Jamar Enzor; offensive lineman Pete McMahon; running backs Terry Butler and Ben Moa; and wide receivers Mario Hill and Chris M. Baker. There were no shockers, as none of these players were considered likely to make the team.

Mangini then proceeded to address issues from Friday night’s disappointing loss to the New York Giants at the Meadowlands. He stressed over and over how no particular person was to blame for any of the mistakes made by the Jets, but rather that football has to be a team effort and as a team, they played poorly. When the question was raised whether Mangini might defy convention by playing his starters in the team’s final preseason game because of all of the mistakes that were made on Friday, Mangini was quite open to the idea.

”Yeah, I think that there’s definitely some things that need to be cleaned up in terms of the overall competition, and playing against another opponent, that’s about as good an opportunity as you have to gather information,” Mangini told reporters.

Still, the secretive coach of the Jets had no problem talking to the media about players who stood out in a positive way in the loss. On the offensive end, Mangini singled out RB Derrick Blaylock and TE Chris Baker as difference-makers in the game, and on defense, he made special note of the contributions of DT Dewayne Robertson.

”He worked inside, he worked outside, he played with good technique, he played with good effort and that stems from the way that he’s been working in practice,” Mangini said of the impressive defender. “He’s just made a lot of really great strides from day one to now and I just like the way the he’s built in some flexibility and really worked on improving his technique and his overall consistency. I think he’s been outstanding in that area.”

While praising Chris Baker mainly for the leadership and blocking abilities that he brings to the field on top of his brilliant play at tight end, he piled the compliments on RB Derrick Blaylock for the strides he has made in improving his running game.

“I really liked over the past couple weeks the toughness that he’s shown running with the ball, the aggressiveness he’s shown running with the ball, the decisiveness he’s shown hitting the holes, the physical way that he’s played in pass protection. Derrick’s a really smart guy and he takes the coaching and tries to execute it exactly like you’ve designed it to be executed. He gives you a really good shot to get the plays run the way you anticipate them being run.”

Blaylock laughed when asked about Coach Mangini’s comments, telling reporters that he feels that the role of the running back should be to run the plays as they are designed. He added that his motivation comes from simply knowing that he has an opportunity to be the starter if he runs the plays like his coach tells him to. He also commented on the competition for the role of starting RB, calling it a “friendly one” and saying that he likes to see his fellow backs go out on the field and succeed.

QB Chad Pennington, who is involved in the most highly-publicized competition for a starting spot on the roster, gave the media promising news about his surgically-repaired throwing arm and how it felt after the game.

”It feels really good,” Pennington boasted to reporters, adding that he had even been able to make a few throws that he hasn’t been able to make in a while, for physical and mental reasons. Pennington said that his 40-yard completion to WR Justin McCareins and his two, difficult first-down passes to WR Laveranues Coles “really helped build [his] confidence.”

In terms of actual practice, only a half-hour of the rain-soaked session was available to the media, but it provided a few interesting notes. K Mike Nugent, who missed a 49-yard field goal in the team’s loss to the Giants on Friday, began practice by nailing three out of three field goals from 42 yards away in the driving rain. The kicks were being fully defended, and Nugent’s shots still seemed to be effortless and soar 20 yards past the goal post.

McCareins, who appears close to losing his starting job as the teams number two receiver to WR Jerricho Cotchery, bobbled two consecutive punt returns in practice, leading to rookie RB Leon Washington taking his place.

Players like McCareins and TE Doug Jolley will need to step up their game over the next week as more cuts are set to come and these high-paid veterans just aren’t performing.

INSIDER TIDBITS:

-WR Laveranues Coles and S Kerry Rhodes, both of whom left Friday’s game after sustaining blows to the head, were both suited up for practice and on the playing field.

-Mangini confirmed to the media that veteran WR Tim Dwight missed the game against the Giants due to injury but refused to elaborate on the type of injury or its severity. Dwight was seen in the locker room joking with teammates and walking with ease.

-There was a very small media turnout for today’s press conference and practice. Coach Mangini joked about it with reporters, saying “I guess this is what happens when you lose to the Giants in the preseason.”

-RB Kevan Barlow, who used to wear #32 on the 49ers before being traded to the Jets who already had a #32 in D.J. Johnson, was able to reclaim his lucky number today since Johnson was waived. He had been wearing #31 for the Jets.

INJURY REPORT:

-G Isaac Snell (leg): day to day
-WR Dante Ridgeway (leg): day to day
-WR/KR Tim Dwight (unknown): day to day
-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 team returns to the field tomorrow for another afternoon practice that will be closed to the public. JI will be there, so be sure to check back for all the latest NY Jets news!

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