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INSIDER MONDAY TEAM REPORT
By David Fletcher
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 28th, 2006
Where has Tim Dwight been and when is he coming back?
Where has Tim Dwight been and when is he coming back?
One day after Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini gave a dejected speech to reporters following his team’s disappointing loss to the Giants, he entered Monday daily media session in much higher spirits about the state of the team.

”I was very pleased with the way the guys came out,” said Mangini, in reference to the team’s performance in yesterday’s practice. “The tempo that they had, the way they responded to the corrections that we made… I thought the energy was good, and I thought the focus was good.”

Coach Mangini expressed especially great pleasure at how well players handled their first practice in the rain this season. He explained to reporters the importance of preparing the team for any situation that might arise during the season, citing that the team had now played through excessive heat in training camp and inclement weather in practice and saying that “all those things could be distractions, and by working through it and getting exposed to it, I think that helps us.”

The press conference was also an opportunity for the rookie head coach to address injury concerns on the team. He told reporters that veteran WR Tim Dwight was still rehabbing an injured leg and would not be participating in Monday’s practice, and also said that star RB Curtis Martin is progressing well in his rehab.

If Martin is not taken on the PUP list by final cuts on Friday, he will not be eligible to return to the team until six weeks into the season. Mangini did not deny that this was a possibility, but refused to comment further on the future Hall-of-Famer’s condition.

Although Dwight is still out with an injury, the same can no longer be said for WR Dante Ridgeway. Ridgeway, who suffered an injury to his right knee midway through training camp in a tackling drill, returned to the practice field on Monday. He was in full pads and participated in all team drills, while not appearing at all limited in his movement.

Ridgeway’s return provides veteran WR with yet another obstacle to pass in order to keep his job with the Jets. McCareins, who started all 16 games last season as the number two receiver for the Jets, has struggled mightily this off-season and looks like he may have lost his starting job to WR Jerricho Cotchery. A clearly-distraught McCareins gave this succinct, diplomatic answer to reporters when asked how he felt about possibly losing his starting job.

“There’s some good players out here,” said McCareins, adding, “you’ve got to just come out every day and be a professional.”

Meanwhile, QB Chad Pennington looks to be doing a fine job of holding down his starting spot on the roster. Both Mangini and WR Laveranues Coles commented on the strength and accuracy of his passes, not failing to mention the confidence that he brings to the team. Coles, who has a lengthy relationship with the oft-injured quarterback, was asked if he was at all surprised to see Pennington throwing so well, given his past injuries.

“No, I’m not surprised at all. I think the only people that were skeptical about it were you guys,” Coles said, pointing at the group of reporters surrounding him. “From what I understand, he’s the one taking the brunt of the force from the media saying that he wasn’t going to be the same guy, and they were questioning whether he was going to be the Chad of old again. I never doubted that for a second.”

INSIDER TIDBITS:

-It seems the protocol for the season will be that the media’s access to daily practices will be limited to 30 minutes, a similar schedule that Herm Edwards had in his final year as Coach. Edwards during his first four years allowed open media practices but that changed after leaks reportedly got out. Based on the scant information that has so far been given to the media with the new regime, it’s no surprise this type of schedule is continuing.

-RB Kevan Barlow spent the first portion of practice working one-on-one with a running back’s coach in the far corner of the practice field. Barlow, who was recently acquired in a trade with the 49ers, spent the time practicing taking handoffs and holding the ball in a way that won’t be prone to turnovers. Barlow fumbled and turned over the ball in his first series as a Jet on Friday against the Giants.

-The team’s tight ends practiced a variety of new drills on Monday. They began by taking routine passes, but they were required to wrap their arms around a tackling dummy in order to force them to catch the ball with only their hands. All performed decent, but TE Chris Baker was truly excellent, moving with grace and catching all of his passes with ease. The group also worked on blocking, an exercise that TE Joel Dreessen looked amazing at. There have been rumblings that TE Doug Jolley could be on the bubble for the final cuts due to a less than impressive camp and a reputation as being a weak blocker.

-Mangini began his press conference with the news that Newark Star Ledger reporter Dave Hutchinson is in the hospital recovering from an undisclosed injury but is making progress. JI sends their best regards to Hutch and wishes him a speedy recovery.

INJURY REPORT:

-G Isaac Snell (leg): day to day
-WR/KR Tim Dwight (leg): 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!