INSIDER FRIDAY TEAM REPORT
By Dan Powell
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
December 1st, 2006
As the Jets went through their weekly Friday walk-through routine a bit of good news was released as the team announced they have re-signed DE/LB Bryan Thomas, who was in the last year of his contract.
Thomas, originally a first round pick of the Jets in the 2002 draft from UAB, has improved every season after playing his first four years behind John Abraham. With Abraham gone this season, Thomas has not been the sack master Abe was but has been solid with five sacks and 58 tackles.
“We’re pleased that Bryan Thomas is going to remain a Jet,” GM Mike Tannenbaum said today in a released statement. “He has worked very hard and developed in our program.
Terms of the deal were not available at press time.
Head coach Eric Mangini took a little time in his daily presser to highlight the importance of the practice squad. The coach, who gives out a practice player of the week award after every win, suggested that they are some of the most valuable people on the team.
“The better look they give us, the better prepared we are for the game on Sunday,” Mangini said of the eight-man unit.
The coach also said he thinks of the practice squad as something of a developmental program. Players on the practice squad work with the team everyday in practice and team meetings and spend the week preparing just like everyone else, but they do not make the trip with the team on Sundays.
Mangini had personal praise for tight end Joe Kowalewski, a tryout player that won a spot on the practice squad in training camp. He loves the way Kowlewski approaches practice with a high motor and often frustrates defensive players. Mangini has also been pleased with the way the rookie studies, saying he always knows the answers in gameplan meetings. The coach feels this type of hard-working attitude can be contagious.
“Whenever you have those P.H.D.’s around, they are going to work hard,” Mangini said. “Poor, hungry, driven; those type of guys create competition.”
Mangini also took some time to address the cold weather factor that the Jets could face in Green Bay this week. While the coach acknowledged that players like rookie running back and Florida native Leon Washington and Aussie punter Ben Graham are not too accustomed to cold, winter weather, he feels they will be able to adjust.
“Thanksgiving was pretty cold and rainy, it’s not snow but it helps a little bit,” Mangini said of how the team is preparing for the chill of Lambeau Field. “We need to be able to adapt to the elements and that’s why we practice in all elements.”
Mangini was not kidding. The first year head coach never moves practice into the indoor practice bubble. In preparing for their Week 10 game in New England, the team practiced in a virtual monsoon on Friday. The coach also said there were plenty of complaints about the elements when the team practiced outdoor in the bitter weather on Thanksgiving.
The team seems to understand that they can’t spend too much time worrying about what Mother Nature throws at them. They are clearly more focused on what Brett Favre and the Packers are going to bring to Sunday’s game.
-Mangini showed clips from the 1967 Ice Bowl game in team meetings. He said the purpose of the film was to educate some of the younger players on the history of Lambeau Field and also to demystify Lambeau Field. Still, the players acknowledged it is a special place.
“Growing up in Australia, the Packers were one of the most well-known teams,” Graham said. “I’ll be bringing my camera.”
-Mangini took some time to praise cornerback Hank Poteat in his press conference. He said that he has always liked Poteat as a football player and a person.
“Hank always works on doing it the right way,” Mangini said. “He’s very consistent in his approach and I really like his toughness.”
-Graham and kicker Mike Nugent acknowledged that the cold weather can make it more difficult to be successful in the kicking game. While Nugent has some experience with the cold weather from growing up in Ohio, Graham said he has played in the cold, although not in the snow.
“There’s no explosion in the ball, it’s very dead,” Graham said. “But it’s the same for both punters and the same for both quarterbacks so we’ll just do what we can.”
MEET NY JETS STARS ON LONG ISLAND!
Don’t miss exclusive live appearances by NY Jets stars coming up next week at Last Licks in Massapequa, Long Island.
Tuesday December 5th, 6:30-8PM
Tuesday December 12th, 6:30-8PM
For more information or to reserve a spot, call Last Licks at 516-541-6326 or log on to their website by CLICKING HERE.
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The team flies out to Green Bay later today. Be sure to check out the game preview on the JI front page!