Jets QB Chad Pennington throws downfield at practice. (Jets Insider.com Photos)
Cooler temperatures previaled as the Jets returned to the field for their second practice session of Monday. Still hot however, was the topic of the health of RB Thomas Jones as more details of his injury surfaced.
Jones' agent Drew Rosenhaus, told several members of the media today that the RB's injury is a calf strain and not an injured ankle as first speculated.
Rosenhaus went on to say that the injury does not appear serious and he expects Jones to be week to week. He also has no doubt that his client will be 100% for opening day.
After a poor showing at Sunday's practice, the team responded well to the criticism of head coach Eric Mangini as they put a sterling effort Monday morning. But the question would be can they bring the effort that was their in the morning to the night practice.
Well, for the first half the practice the answer was no. Both the offense and the defense both looked very flat and unenthusiastic for the first hour of practice. In that first hour practice the offense and defense worked mostly on situational plays. But as the offense would go against the defense in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, the mood started to change.
With the offense still struggling to get a flow going the Jets defense were able to making some plays during a 7-on-7 drill. CB David Barrett intercepted QB Chad Pennington. But offense would respond as they started to make plays. Backup QB Kellen Clemens completed two touchdown passes (one to WR Wallace Wright and one to WR Frisman Jackson) in the same drill, moments after Pennington’s interception.
As practice ended, instead of doing a two-minute drill, Mangini elected to make his own situation. Mangini would put 30 seconds on the clock, place the ball near midfield and set the offense was down two points. The first team didn’t look like they were going to convert, but Pennington found WR Justin McCareins on what was labeled as a 3rd and 17. With six seconds left the Jets coaching staff decided to kick a field goal which K Mike Nugent converted.
The second would not be outdone however. Just like the first team, the second team was on the verge of failing at their attempt too. They did get off to a good start as Clemens found Wright up the middle for 20 yards. After a penalty and 10 second runoff of the clock, the second team had their hands full. Not really in field goal position they tried a third down play which failed. So four seconds left, the second sent out Nugent to attempt a 60 field goal on which he connected.
Dyson’s ready to play
With first-round pick Darrelle Revis still and unsigned and not in camp and question marks surrounding cornerbacks Justin Miller and Drew Coleman, the Jets will rely heavily on the play of CB Andre Dyson. Dyson, who will probably get to cover the opponent’s number one receiver day in and day out, is ready to get the 2007 season underway and is also feeling comfortable in this defense in second year with Gang Green.
“The fact that you’ve been through it (Mangini’s training camp) and have been through the defenses, it is a little easier than last year,” Dyson said. “Now it’s more just go out there and play.”
Mangini has liked what Dyson has done so far this training camp. During his press conference earlier noted a particular play that really impressed him. During the scrimmage held a Fordham University two weeks ago, Dyson got beat on few plays. But instead of throwing in the towel and giving up, Dyson made a great interception and helped put team back in a position to win the scrimmage.
“That’s the stuff I really like to see because you’ve dealt with some adversity through the game. There were some plays that you could have easily said ‘this isn’t my day,’ or whatever thought process might go through somebody’s mind,” Mangini said. “But he responded the next time he was challenged; he took the ball away. I think he ran it back 30 or 40 yards, and it changed the whole momentum of the game.”
One thing Mangini likes to have in his players is flexibility. Mangini loves players like QB/WR Brad Smith because they can play many positions. One player that Mangini has started to use in different positions is OG Pete Kendall. Kendall, who played center when former center Kevin Mawae was injured in 2005, has been given some reps at center during training camp.
Kendall is not happy with contract and how his whole situation with the Jets has blown up and putting at center is not helping any. But Mangini didn’t put Kendall at center just to anger him more, he it did because he likes his players to be proficient at other position. In the case of Kendall, if one or two offensive linemen get injured during the course of a game, then Mangini might be forced to play Kendall at another spot on the line. Other players who have seen time other positions are CB’s Hank Poteat and David Barrett have worked at safety at times during camp.
“It’s something that we’ve talked about, that I’ve personally talked about with the team multiple times. It’s never in response to a specific move; it’s in response to the overall composition of the team. You’re always trying to build that in,” Mangini said. “This concept isn’t player specific. This concept is team specific. That’s how we approach it. That’s our philosophical approach to having flexibility.”
WR Chansi Stuckey is steadily becoming the most pleasant surprise of camp so far this summer. Stuckey, who was a seventh round pick out of Clemson, has shown his athletic ability by catching anything thrown his way. He has shown speed in special teams as worked with the kickoff returners as well as the punt returners. Most importantly he has made play after play. What more can you ask for?
“All I’m doing is going out there and making plays everyday,” Stuckey said after practice. Clemens is doing a good job; the offensive line is doing a good job, so whenever I get an opportunity I’ll just try to make plays.”
Along with Stuckey, S Rashad Washington has quietly been having a good camp. Washington, who has been seeing more time with in the absence of S Eric Smith, intercepted Pennington for the second straight day.
LB Andre Wadsworth is good story but he also might have a bad ending. Wadsworth has not done much of anything this camp and if Wadsworth really wants to make the team, he is going to have to start making plays.
TE Jason Pociask's future also looks dim at this point. The former fifth round draft pick will probably get left off the final roster. Pociask has dropped a lot passes in training so far, especially in the red zone. It will be hard to make any Mangini team if keeps dropping passes in the red zone.
Clemens ready if needed
In most sports being a backup is very difficult. Backups understand they are not going to play very much, but on the other hand they need to be prepared to play a lot. Second year QB Kellen Clemens, who is coming a great game against Atlanta on Friday, will be ready when needed.
“You never want to jinx somebody, especially not Chad Pennington. He’s a great guy and a great quarterback, but the backup quarterback’s job is to be ready when called upon,” Clemens said. “You never know if that’s going to happen, you hope it doesn’t happen due to injury, but it’s your job to be ready when called upon.”
ROSTER MOVE: The team late today signed offensive lineman Stanley Daniels (6-4, 320, Washington), a rookie free agent, played four seasons on the offensive line at the University of Washington, starting 24 of 36 games. The San Diego, CA native is a nephew of Ray May, who was an NFL linebacker for nine seasons (1967-1975) with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Colts and Denver Broncos.
INJURY REPORT: Keeping Jones company on the injury sideline were the usual suspects, CB Justin Miller (hamstring), S Eric Smith (hamstring), TE Joe Kowalewski and FB Stacy Tutt (foot).
Tuesday’s Practice Schedule
The Jets have one practice scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow. It is open to the public, but if you can’t make over to JetsFest at Hofstra then stay logged on to JI.com for all the latest Gang Green news.
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