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INSIDER WEDNESDAY TEAM REPORT

By Drew Buono
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
September 6th, 2006
Veteran G Pete Kendall was named as an offensive captain by his teammates today. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Veteran G Pete Kendall was named as an offensive captain by his teammates today. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
It’s preparation time and the Jets are now “deep in preparation for Tennessee,” according to head coach Eric Mangini. While the team is focusing on its first regular season opponent, Mangini named the team captains for the 2006 season. The team, not Mangini chose the captains.

On offense captains are, QB Chad Pennington and G Pete Kendall. Pennington is looking for a big comeback after coming off surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and Kendall is an 11-year veteran now entering his third year with the team.

The defense captains are, LB Jonathan Vilma and DE Shaun Ellis. Vilma and Ellis are looking to have big seasons and have the defense rank very high in the league, especially with the departure of DE John Abraham during the off season. Ellis noted that he did not vote for himself, but didn’t mention whom he did vote for.

The special teams captains are, P Ben Graham and LB Matt Chatham. Graham is a former rugby player from Australia who has been sensational for the team since joining last season. Chatham was a free agent acquisition from New England during this past off-season with seven years experience.

With the captains now named, fans are now wondering what the depth chart looks like. Again, Mangini avoids the subject with jokes saying that, “the PR (public relations) department put it together and it’s only listed alphabetically.” Mangini further noted that, “the depth chart is fluid and we change things weekly to build flexibility in every position.”

It is odd though, that Mangini can name a starter at quarterback, but can’t name a backup or even a starting running back. It seems that Mangini will stay with his four running back set of Kevan Barlow, Leon Washington, Cedric Houston, and Derrick Blaylock.

Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher on the other hand is facing an old problem for New York fans, picking a starting quarterback. Fisher’s choices: Billy Volek; a long time back-up to Steve McNair, Kerry Collins; who was been with the team all of nine days and finally Vince Young; a rookie who is just coming off winning a national title with Texas last year. It would be surprising to see Fisher go with anyone else but Volek because, Collins still needs more time and there is no way they would throw Young under the bus like that in week one.

Another player who has been talked about recently is C Kevin Mawae. Mawae was with the Jets for seven seasons from 1998-2005 and made the pro bowl six straight years during his tenure with the Jets. Mangini discussed the situation involving Mawae and how he was let go. Mangini said that, “this a process where you make difficult decisions and that was one of them.” Mangini also said that, “Kevin is an outstanding person and player.”

The players are just happy that regular season is here. WR Laveranues Coles joked around saying that; “at least you guys (the media) can’t rip on us if we’re bad because you already expect us to be bad.” Kendall was questioning himself about being on the road for what seemed like every opener since he’s been in the league. Pennington said he “feels comfortable and confident heading into the regular season and is excited to get back on the field.”

During the practice, or at least what the media was allowed to watch, Graham was proving why he deserved to be named captain. He continuously kept punting the ball in the range of 45-55 yards.

INSIDER TIDBITS:

- Mangini announced that the team released WR Dante Ridgeway and DL Matt McChesney from the practice squad.

- The team also announced the signings of DL Titus Adams and WR Wallace Wright to the practice squad.

- Tennessee Titans LB Keith Bullock rated Chad Pennington as a 7 out of 10 when it comes to arm strength during his conference call today.

- During the beginning of practice, LB Eric Barton and CB/KR Justin Miller started dancing while performing running drills.

INJURY REPORT:

-OL Trey Teague (Leg): OUT
-CB David Barrett(Upper Leg): Questionable
-WR Tim Dwight (Lower Leg): Questionable
-LB Matt Chatham (Lower Leg): Probable
-G Pete Kendall (Lower Leg): Probable

The team returns to practice tomorrow and as always JetsInsider.com will be there with all the developments.

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