Jets RB Thomas Jones with a clearly wrapped ankle did not participate in pracitce today. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
All eyes Monday morning were on the stationary bikes in the corner of the Jets practice field where all the injured players gather during the session. The most notable player, being superstar Jets RB Thomas Jones who injured his ankle yesterday.
Jones, who was acquired in the off-season to replace retiring Curtis Martin and energize last year’s lackluster running game, hobbled off the field yesterday after rolling his right ankle. Head coach Eric Mangini tried to avoid talking about the injury to Jones, but in his press conference after practice, Mangini did label the injury as a “lower leg” injury. He didn't speak about the severity of the injury and gave no timetable as to when Jones may be back. Jones was moving on the ankle fairly well and didn't show any visible pain.
Other Jets who were also on the bikes were CB Drew Coleman, CB Justin Miller and S Eric Smith. Out of those three it looks like Coleman will be back on the field first. Along with spending time on the bike, Coleman spent time doing bag drills and running sprints on the side fields. Although he looks like he is close to returning, he did limp a little while running.
Both Smith and Miller, who appear to be nursing hamstring injuries spent their time on the bike along side FB Stacy Tutt, TE Joe Kowalewski and OL Robert Turner. P Ben Graham also out of practice but not health reasons. Graham won an award for his off-season workout program, used his free practice ticket this morning.
As for what was going on the field, Coach Mangini did not like how his team practiced Sunday, so he thought it was very important to have a good practice today. With opening day against the Patriots rapidly approaching, Mangini spoke to the team last night and reiterated to players how important these training camp practices really are.
“I didn’t think practice yesterday was very good in terms of concentration, focus, effort and the things we look for on a consistent basis. And they can’t let a practice slip by and we talked about that last night for a while,” Mangini said in post-practice press conference. “And I think they responded well this morning. I thought the concentration was their, I saw the effort this morning.”
The team spent a majority practice working in their red zone and with the ball being placed on their 30 yard line. Also during today’s practice Gang Green spent noticeably more time the running game.
With Jones out, second year RB Leon Washington played with the first team offense. Washington did look sharp running the football, as he showed his speed turning the corner on the toss plays. With Washington moving to first team, rookie running backs Alvin Banks and Danny Ware also got more reps than usual.
“All of the running backs are preparing to get ready for a long season and were going to do what we need to do to give ourselves the best chance to win week in and week out,” Washington said after practice.
As the Jets ended practice, coach Mangini had QB’s Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens run a simulation. Mangini had 2:20 put on the clock and the score was 29-24, which forced the Jets offense to go for a touchdown because they were down by five.
Pennington’s simulation only lasted three plays as he was intercepted by S Rashad Washington. Pennington's intended receiver was Justin McCareins, but Washington made a great stab as slid right in front of McCareins to make the interception.
Clemens’ simulation would be longer and have a different result. Clemens took the second team offense down the field and on the 12th play of the drive, Clemens found WR Chansi Stuckey in the back right corner of the end zone. Originally it looked like Clemens’ pass was going to over Stuckey’s head, but somehow Stuckey leaped up and pulled out of the air.
Rethinking Brad as Quarterback
Coach Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer might be entertaining the thought of keeping Brad Smith exclusively at wide receiver. Smith did not have a good showing during Friday’s win against the Falcons and at this morning’s practice; Smith did not get many reps at QB.
Smith only wore the red jersey for only two plays, which were both running plays. He lined up at quarterback another two times in the beginning of the practice, but on both plays the other quarterback in at that time (whether it be Pennington or Clemens) was lined up as a wide receiver and both of the those plays were runs. Smith did not attempt a pass during Monday morning’s practice.
Home sweet home
Monday was the first practice for newly signed receiver Dante Ridgeway. Ridgeway played for the Jets in 2005 and had a great chance to make the team last season before sustaining an injury two weeks before the start of the season. Ridgeway, who relegated to the practice squad last year, signed with New Orleans hoping to catch on there. But unfortunately, the Big Easy just wasn’t meant to be for Ridgeway, so shortly after being released by the Saints, Ridgeway worked out for the Jets and now he is back to where he calls home.
“It definitely feels good to be back in a familiar place with guys I’ve came into this league with,” said Ridgeway. “The Jets contacted me and told me they wanted me to come in for a workout. I did pretty well and now I am back home.”
It was little different feel at practice Monday morning. This was one of the first practices where Mangini did not have his players listening to Mozart. Instead of Mozart it was mostly rap and rock music being played.
The Jets have another practice at 5:45 p.m. tonight. While Tuesday and Wednesday they will only have one practice which will take place at 2 p.m. both days and both are open to the public. Thursday, the Jets will have walk-through which is closed to fans and media. And then Friday the Jets will have their second preseason game as they host the Minnesota Vikings at the Meadowlands.
As always stay logged on to JI.com for all the up to date news on the Thomas Jones’ injury and everything Jets related.
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