Jets top pick CB Darrelle Revis participates in minicamp drills. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
If day one of Mini-Camp 2007 didn’t send the right message to the Jets rookies then day two did. These first year hopefuls, who are yearning to wear the green and white on the turf in the Meadowlands are quickly learning what head coach Eric Mangini and his staff expects to see on day-to-day basis.
With all most sets of eyes looking toward the four players the Jets drafted two weeks ago (Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Jacob Bender and Chansi Stuckey), the eyes of Mangini and his staff are on 14 undrafted free agents and the 34 players who are trying out for the Jets.
With most of the Jets starting lineup returning this season, these rookies realistically don’t have a great shot at a starting spot despite Mangini saying the only the best players will play. The players who have showed up to the Jets training facility at Hofstra University this weekend at best will backups this season, but most likely they will third teamers or a part of the scout team.
But don’t tell that any of the 34 players who are here under a tryout status and don’t have a guaranteed contracts. None of those players have yet to throw in the towel only two days into their hopefully long NFL career.
“As a last minute guy, I am just happy to be here. So coming in I am just going to come in here and compete as hard as I can,” said Kedron Bell out of Mississippi, who is one many players who were contacted by Jets just days before mini-camp began. “It comes with the territory; we know coming in that this is a competitive league so everybody has to fight for their spot on a daily basis.”
Like many players who were brought in on a tryout situation offensive lineman Joe Villani agreed with what Bell said.
“Absolutely, you have to be able to take advantage of the reps you’re given. The coaches have been fair with us, they have given us this great opportunity,” said Villani who was teammates with Revis at the University of Pittsburgh. “We just got to go out their work hard every chance we’re given.”
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Being a rookie in the NFL is a hard thing to do. Trying out to be a rookie in the NFL is even harder. One day after opening his first-year player’s eyes to the everyday riggers of playing in the NFL, head coach Eric Mangini started to teach them how to be successful at this level. And started by teaching them that most important thing anyone can do on the field is communicate.
“In talking to the team after practice, I thought we had to get back to the core values and stress again the communication, the focus, the finish and the trust,” Mangini said. “And the most apparent thing is just how much communication affect the total operation.
“And the times we do communicate effectively are when most plays go well and the times we don’t they’d go the way you’d expect. And how important that is because it is more important that we are all wrong together, instead half right and half wrong,” Mangini added.
And during the 50 minute snippet practice opened to media, it looked like Mangini’s young Jets got the message. Despite being only being in the NFL for two weeks and on a field for two days, the rookies looked like they got a good hold on terminology the Mangini’s staff uses. During seven-on-seven drills both offensive and defensive personnel were speaking up and talking before, during and after the play.
“We are football players. You have to get in there and learn the plays. If you do not know anything then the coach is not going to put you on the field,” said Darrelle Revis. “Some of it [terminology] is the same as college and some of it is the same and different wording. Right now, I just have to get focused on the Jets terminology.”
During the weekend mini-camp, the Jets first round pick Darrelle Revis was wearing the number 24, which ironically was previously worn by former Jets and good friend to Revis, Ty Law. While playing at the University of Pittsburgh, Revis wore number 25, which is currently being held by Jets safety Kerry Rhodes.
“Ty Law wore it. That’s one of the reasons I got it,” said Revis. “But the other reason I got was they didn’t have my number 25. I had to choose another number.”
The Clemson Connection
There is a new Tiger in the Jets tank and when I say Tiger I mean Clemson Tiger. With 235th pick in the seventh round Eric Mangini and Co. decided to select Clemson wide receiver Chansi Stuckey.
Stuckey will not be the only person on the Jets roster this year who has donned the Clemson Tiger football jersey. Pro bowl cornerback and kick returner Justin Miller was the last player out of Clemson the Jets selected.. Miller was selected in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
And already two weeks into his career with the Jets, Stuckey has already spoken to Miller about what Eric Mangini will be expecting from his as he starts his NFL career.
“I talked to him and he just gave me some information about the organization, he told me what to expect, but basically he told me just come in and work hard,” Stuckey said. “He told me Mangini expects you to know what to do, and if he asks you a question, you better have answer and just make sure you’re focused and paying attention.
There were two other players the Jets drafted out of Clemson University. In 1973, Gang Green drafted offensive lineman Rich Harrell in the sixth round and in 1978, they selected safety Roy Eppes in the eighth round.
The team has one more day of minicamp tomorrow which is closed to the media. Look for the team to sign a few of the players they brought in for tryouts and possibly release a few they signed as free agents. An updated roster should be announced by Tuesday. The next minicamp is a full team event that will take place in mid June.
PHOTO GALLERY: For exclusive Jets Insider.com Minicamp photos