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INSIDER WEDNESDAY EARLY CAMP REPORT
By Andrew Scharff
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 8th, 2007
Jets S Eric Smith (33) was carted off the field today with an injured knee. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Jets S Eric Smith (33) was carted off the field today with an injured knee. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Jets S Eric Smith left practice midway this morning with what appears to be a potential serious knee or hamstring injury.

On a play where Smith was covering in the endzone, the safety slipped on the wet grass and immediately clutched his leg. Whether it was the knee or hamstring is not known. He was then helped off the field and appeared to be unable to put weight on the leg. Smith missed the inter-squad scrimmage on Sunday due to a strained knee but participated in both practices yesterday.

Coach Eric Mangini didn't comment on the injury during his press conference. More info on this will be posted as it comes out.

The Jets secondary is becoming thin very quickly with top pick CB Darrelle Revis still unsigned and CB Justin Miller out with a strained hamstring. Miller hasn't practiced in the past few days and the severity of his injury is unknown.

On a lighter note, seeing Jets QB Chad Pennington go mud sliding Wednesday morning just as the team finished stretching might be a great sign for Gang Green fans. Pennington is now enjoying eighth training camp with the Jets and possibly one of his healthiest.

After coming off two major arm surgeries, Pennington is now as healthy as he is ever been, is ready to get 2007 underway.

“I’m excited just to be out here with my teammates and be able to compete and play with these guys day-in and day-out. I’m excited when I step off the field to be able to step into the film room and watch my film to get better mentally and not have to immediately go to the training room to get treatment on my shoulder,” Pennington said earlier in training camp.”

And even while watching the Jets practice, fans are able to see Pennington face and see his ever enlarging smile. So far this training camp, Pennington has really shown he’s overcome his injuries, by throwing the ball effectively and more importantly stepping into role of being the leader on the field.

So far this training camp Pennington has shown the ability to make any throw he might need to make as well teaching the rookies and second year players most notably his backup Kellen Clemens. Whenever Pennington is not participating in a drill, he can be found standing next to head coach Eric Mangini, rooting on and giving advice to his fellow quarterbacks.

Pennington has made such great strides on and off the field, that Mangini has already named Pennington his starting quarterback for the 2007. And with having proven runner Thomas Jones in the backfield this season, Jets fans should be anxiously waiting to see Pennington’s play action passes.

Today in practice Pennington showed why Mangini named him the starting quarterback. Mangini spent Wednesday morning’s practice on concentrating on his offense inside the red-zone.

During the final drill of practice, the ball would be placed inside the red zone and each unit would have a certain amount plays to get into end zone

And during that last drill of practice, Pennington made two great passes to his favorite receiver Laveranues Coles. The first was a fade route, where Pennington landed the ball right in the arms of Coles. Then on his next attempt during the red-zone drill would have been touchdown, but CB Drew Coleman was called for pass interference. Pennington also threw a touchdown pass to QB/WR Brad Smith earlier in practice.

INSIDER TIDBITS

Still no Revis

With Brady Quinn signed, Jets first-round pick Darrelle Revis is one of two first round picks that have remained unsigned. With Revis still not here, Drew Coleman got most of the reps with the first team defense Wednesday morning. CB’s David Barrett and Hank Poteat have also seen time with the first team defense.

Clemens continues to improve

Jets QB Kellen Clemens continues his improving training camp. After throwing two touchdown passes during Sunday’s simulated scrimmage, Clemens continued strong performance during concluding red zone drills. Clemens threw a beautiful fade pass to the back of end zone, where Brad Smith was waiting for it. Clemens also hooked up with WR’s Wallace Wright and Chansi Stuckey for touchdowns in the same drill.

Rhodes ready to meet former in coach

When the Jets kickoff against the Falcons, Friday night at the Meadowlands, Jets S Kerry Rhodes will get reacquainted with his former head coach at Louisville Bobby Petrino.

“Me, personally I get to see my old coach and we will get to mingle for a little bit,” said Rhodes.

Housekeeping

DE Michael Haynes was excused from the morning practice. TE Joe Kowalewski and OL Robert Turner also missed practice. Both left practice early yesterday and were seen on the bike for most Wednesday morning’s practice. They were joined by CB Justin Miller.

Second Session

Tonight the Jets will have the last official practice before Friday’s first preseason game. Practice is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. and it is open to the public.

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