Jets S Eric Smith at today's late practice where his hamstring is clearly wrapped. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Gang Green took off their pads and put on shorts Wednesday night as head coach Eric Mangini ran another long practice in sticky conditions. The session is their last official practice before their first preseason game Friday night against the Atlanta Falcons at the Meadowlands.
Just like the morning session, the Jets offense led by QB Chad Pennington dominated an injury riddled secondary. With CB Justin Miller still rehabbing an injured hamstring and S Eric Smith sidelined from a morning injury, the defensive backs that are healthy have some work to do before Friday’s opener.
On PSAL night where many young football players from across Long Island and Queens were in attendance, coach Mangini gave the large crowd a sneak peek at the possible lineup combinations for Friday’s game.
Offensively for the Jets there are no surprises. Pennington followed up a superb morning practice, which first-class night practice. Pennington looked to be on the same page as WR Jerricho Cotchery as he was the receiver he threw to most. Usually Pennington’s man is WR Laveranues Coles. Pennington made one blunder which came on 11-on-11 drills. While looking for WR Justin McCareins on a curl route he was intercepted by CB Andre Dyson.
Defensively is where the question marks lie for the Jets, especially in the secondary. With no Miller, Smith or first-round pick Darrelle Revis, Mangini has been given the opportunity to rotate among many candidates. This morning CB Drew Coleman saw a majority of the reps with the first-team. But after a lack-luster showing Mangini and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton used CB David Barrett with the first team at night. Barrett has earned the praise of Mangini because of work ethic the past week.
“David really has thrown together some practices in camp. And that’s what I’m always looking for from each player is the consistency practice-in and practice-out,” Mangini said.
During the second half of the practice, Mangini used that time to run scout plays. Mangini and his staff had his third team offense run plays that the Atlanta offense would run and his third team defense played defenses that the Jets starters would see Friday night. We will see Friday night if the hour of practice Mangini and Co. spent on scouting the Falcons was actually worthwhile.
Smith injury is to hamstring, not knee
Jets safety Eric Smith, who had to be helped off the field this morning with a leg injury, was out for the late session. Several media outlets had reported that Smith suffered a serious knee injury. However, as reported here earlier, the injury was acually to his hamstring which was wrapped at the PM practice. Smith spend most of the session on the stationary bike and was walking with no visible limp. Based on observation, it seems the injury is not serious which is great news based on Smith having an excellent camp. Don't expect any news from the team regarding his status as Mangini and Co, is like the Corleone Family when it comes to speaking about injuries to the players.
Getting to know each other
Since QB Chad Pennington and WR Laveranues Coles do not play special teams, they use that time to work on their chemistry. During kickoff coverage drills Pennington and Coles were working on the other side of the field working on the fade routes to back corner of the end zone.
Play of the Night
WR Chansi Stuckey had the play of the night. During 11-on-11 drills, Stuckey was lined up against newly signed cornerback from Rutgers Manny Collins. QB Kellen Clemens threw the ball up to Stuckey, but he put in a position Collins could have intercepted it. Stuckey not only prevented the interception, but also caught the ball. The play would have went for a 54 yard touchdown pass.
Other tidbits from practice
K Mike Nugent was perfect on field goal attempts in practice…P Ben Graham lined up at receiver during warm-ups just as practice started…S James Ihedigbo had two interceptions, one he returned for a touchdown…WR Chris Davis has been seeing more reps in practice. Davis has been seeing more reps at receiver and with Miller injured and Revis not in camp, he has returning punts as well…VCU hoops star and Jets WR Jesse Pellot-Rosa has not showing the coaching much of anything during practice and looks like a long-shot to make the team.
Speaking of Nugent, many are talking about the incredible Tiger Woods-like commercial that Nugent is for the NFL's fantasy football (video can be seen at the following link:
CLICK HERE) where he hits four consecutive incredible kicks. Well, despite Nuge telling Newsday today that the video is real, JI learned today from several sources within the organization that the video is indeed fake. The work of several takes and a very talented editing man. The other videos in the series of commercials featuring Bucs QB Chris Simms, Cardinals K Neil Rakers and Browns WR Braylon Edwards are frauds too.
Playing in the mud
Mangini felt like the conditions for the morning practice were great. Playing on a muddy field in mucky conditions is something that might come up later in the season, especially when they go to New England late in the season.
“I thought the conditions were great today. Being able to play on the muddy field, dealing with the muckiness in addition to that, I thought were both good distractions,” Mangini said.
Yesterday, the New England Patriots acquired Dante Wesley from Chicago. Why this important. Patriots’ all-pro cornerback Asante Samuel is having a contract dispute with Patriots and is holding out. While there is no word on how long his holdout may last, the acquisition of Wesley might be a clue that Samuel might holdout for a while. The Jets host the Patriots on September 9th (Week 1). The Jets would have a great advantage if Samuel is not in New England’s defensive backfield.
A look ahead
The Jets facility is closed to the public and media tomorrow. The team will likely have a final closed walk through to prepare for Atlanta and then face the Falcons at Giants Stadium Friday night. The team returns to Hofstra, Sunday afternoon for a 2 p.m. practice. Generation Jets Fest will be open from 12 noon to 4 p.m.
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