Rookie offensive lineman Jacob Bender braves another practice that included intense heat and humidity (Jets Insider.com Photo)
With one late afternoon session scheduled today, sultry weather that has plagued the first week of camp did not let up a bit. The temperature was over 90 degrees and with the humidity, it seemed even hotter. And even with weather being so hot head coach Eric Mangini still left the field all smiles Wednesday afternoon as the team finished a hard and intense practice that lasted nearly three hours.
Tuesday the Jets offense was up and down times during practice. He even sent the offense on a lap around which woke them up. After showing signs of life at the end of yesterday’s practice, the offense continued by having another great two and half hour afternoon session on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the offense worked on scoring and situational plays. Wednesday was more of the same, except Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer showed great emphasis on execution of those plays in the red zone.
Mangini and Schottenheimer worked a lot with their tight ends and running backs in red zone passing plays. Screen passes, dump passes and play-action was the name of the game Wednesday afternoon.
The results weren’t that bad. Though QB Chad Pennington did get intercepted by Drew Coleman during 7-on-7 drills, he did make Mangini smile when he running his two-minute drill. Pennington found WR Justin McCareins in the corner of the end zone on seven yard quick out pattern.
Defensively, Mangini and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton kept mixing and matching personnel to see where each player fits best. DE David Bowens and DE Michael Haynes got a lot of reps with the first team Wednesday afternoon. While DT Dwayne Robertson and DT Sione Pouha battled for the nose tackle position.
But in the secondary is where Mangini is most impressed. Everybody know that CB Justin Miller has been impressing Mangini, but the talk of the rest of the town has been S Eric Smith.
Smith emerged last season a great role player in the secondary for the Jets. And this year with first-round pick Darrelle Revis holding out, Mangini is keeping his team flexible. Smith has taken reps at cornerback and has made plays by knocking passes, but he still seems a long shot to start across from Andre Dyson.
“Any time you’ve got multiple guys that are interchangeable it is good,” Mangini said. “Eric has made some nice plays on the ball in the deep part of the field. The ball-skill element where some guys can get to the ball but can’t catch it; he can catch it. He has good judgment on where it’s going to go.”
Practice got off to great start as their was this buzz around the players. The players were bobbing their heading to music while doing bag drills, then the intensity was picked up when 1-on-1 tackling drills took place.
Still No Revis, Means More Miller, Poteat and Barrett
With the Jets first round draft pick Darrelle Revis still unsigned and unseen at Jets Training Camp, head coach Eric Mangini gets to give the reps that Revis would have to other players that possibly fill in where the Jets hoped Revis would be. One of those players getting more reps at cornerback is Pro-Bowl kick returner Justin Miller. Miller keeps impressing and receiving kudos from Mangini for the way he has progressed at the cornerback position. Also CB David Barrett has taken many reps with the first team so far in training camp and CB Hank Poteat who Jets acquired last season are other possible solutions if Revis cannot make the time he has missed this training camp.
Kendall Status Quo
Still no news on the Pete Kendall Saga. He is still a Jet which means he still angry and disgruntled. Kendall did however take reps with the Jets first team offense Wednesday afternoon. But whenever Kendall was not on the field he was always distanced from his teammates.
Clemens Has A Good Day
Jets second-year quarterback Kellen Clemens had maybe one of his practices this training camp. With the coaching staff working a lot on scoring and situational plays, Clemens got an opportunity to showcase the arm, the Jets organization has been raving about. Clemens and QB/WR Brad Smith hooked up twice. One completion was a 40-yard fly pattern and the other was a 15-yard out route, which came while Clemens was running his two-minute drill.
Mangini Lowers the Volume
A key theme to the Jets practices this season has been the playing of music during the practice. Mangini has had his players mostly listen to classical music because he says it helps stimulate learning. But on occasion Mangini throws in some rap and hard rock to keep his players happy.
But during Wednesday’s practice there was a noticeable change in the amount of music played. The team had music to listen to while they stretched before practice and at the end of practice when the team was working on the two minute drill. Mangini also made sure the Mozart was still coming. For about 15-20 min in the middle practice Mozart was sounded, but Wednesday was one of the quieter days the Jets have had at Hofstra.
Jets defensive end Bobby Hamilton, who has looked fantastic this first week, had to be helped off field in the middle of practice during full contact drills. It looked Hamilton did something to his right hip or right shoulder. Hamilton did not return and Jets did comment on what happened. We will report more information on this as we get it.
Baker Misses Practice
Usually when it is said a player missed practice it is most of the time of bad thing. But not this time, TE Chris Baker and WR Justin McCareins were both allowed to miss practice because something good they did during their off-season program. Baker used his day off today and was not in pads, while McCareins practiced and will use his day off another time.
5TH and 6TH Receiver Spots Are Up for Grabs
The battle for roster spots and positions has already gotten underway and one biggest battles will be at wide receiver. With the four spots virtually locked (Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery, Justin McCareins and Brad Smith), their will be a battle for the last two. Wallace Wright, Frisman Jackson, Chansi Stuckey and Jesse Pellot-Rosa are all in contention. Pellot-Rosa is starting to return to practice after missing a few days with an injury, while Wright, Jackson and Stuckey are all having superb outings. This competition should make Jets Training Camp this month quite fun.
So far this training camp, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has opened his playbook and has given Jets fans a sneak peak at some of his gadget plays. One play that the offense has run a lot is the reverse. Gang Green has been running a lot regular reverses and double reverses. And I will make bet that all the Jets Insider.com readers know who is in the middle of all those plays.
The team has two sessions tomorrow, the first and open practice at 8:30 AM and a second at 7:30 PM which is closed to the public. Be sure to check back for complete reports on both practices.