INSIDER MONDAY EARLY CAMP REPORT
By Richard Adragna
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 20th, 2007
In front of an unusually small turn-out, the Jets looked energized during their stretches, with QB Chad Pennington doing his own dance number as the sound system blared hip-hop, as well as Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman”.
Although the sight of an animated Pennington was refreshing, the beginning of practice didn’t look as pretty, with receivers and running backs dropping a lot of passes during their drills.
The end of practice didn’t look all too promising either. Both offensive teams came up short on the two-minute drills. The first team made it down the other end before Rashad Washington batted a pass away in the endzone to end their drive. The second team was even less fortunate, as QB Kellen Clemens was picked off by CB Drew Coleman to end practice.
“Today, we weren’t at the same level as yesterday,” said Head Coach Eric Mangini. “There were some good things with the third down and some situational stuff. But it’s the two-minute drills and goal line situations that we need to reinforce.”
Despite the rough early session, there were some noticeable highlights that Gang Green can proudly look back at. Since coming back from an early injury, FB Stacy Tutt has continuously impressed fans and coaches alike, today taking a short pass for a long gain during 11-on-11s. Wideout Evan Prall made a couple of amazing catches, one of which was a diving reception during the 11-on-11 drills in front of very tight coverage by the defense. Another receiver, Justin McCareins, also made the highlight real by snagging a deep bomb from Pennington near the end zone.
All eyes were still focused on CB Darrelle Revis, however. In only his second day at Jets training camp, Revis was playing as if he hadn't missed a day of training camp, breaking off a couple passes in earlier drills and going through them naturally.
When asked about his seemingly smooth transition in his first days of camp, Revis mentioned that what he learned in the minicamp and the OTAs has helped drills in training camp to come naturally to him.
“Once you start going over the plays and memorizing them again, the stuff is coming back to you just like in minicamp and in OTAs,” said the first round draft pick from Pittsburgh. “I’m getting right back to the groove.”
With the morning session in the rear view mirror, the Jets will need to look even sharper this evening if they want to rebound from Friday’s loss and come into this Saturday’s game with a clean slate and a chance to beat the boys in blue.
Battle of the Big Apple
Regardless of the time of the season, the Jets’ upcoming game against the New York Giants has always been looked at by fans of both sides as a battle to see who can maintain bragging rights of the city. It doesn’t appear, however, that they are letting the hype get to them in any way as they prepare for them like they would with any other team in the NFL.
“We prepare for the Giants like we prepare for each team all year long,” said Leon Washington. “You want to win every game.”
Leon Looks Good
RB Thomas Jones’ injury means that Jets fans have been seeing different runners take a shot at the starting position until Jones returns. During that time, Leon Washington has been getting a lot of good looks by the team, putting his speed and versatility on display during camp and the preseason, and getting the opportunity when it comes around.
“My role is to come in and help this team out the best way I can to help this team win,” he said. “When my name is called I just go out there and make the plays that I need to make.”
A fight occurred during 11-on-11 drills as LB Cody Spencer exchanged blows with OL Robert Turner - who was celebrating his 23rd birthday on Monday - while the rest of the team attempted to separate the two. Afterwards, Spencer chucked Turner’s helmet over to the offensive sidelines.
Jones, CB Justin Miller and S Eric Smith were sidelined for the morning session. Jones was seen on the hand bike, while Smith and Miller worked out on the stationary bikes. As practice progressed, both of the injured defensive backs rans sprints and laps around the practice field. Miller has been running for a few days now, but this was Smith's first time running in practice since his injury.
Later in practice, WR Chansi Stuckey, who was known for being injury-prone in college, made an appearance on the hand-bike and worked out with the other injured players. Stuckey appeared to injure his knee, but initial reports that the injury might have been serious were dismissed when he returned to the field toward the end of the session, even taking time to sign autographs for fans.
-Along with Pennington, Quarterbacks Coach Brian Daboll and Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer were also getting their groove on as the players stretched. With AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and the popular Rocky tune “Eye of the Tiger” pumping through the sound system, the duo were seen lip-synching to the songs and strumming the air guitar as well.
-Daboll and Schottenheimer also brought in a unique drill for the QBs as they threw tackling dummies and pads at them, testing their ability to evade contact.
-S Erik Coleman used his free pass for today’s morning session for his excellence in the off-season workouts.
-Rookie-OL Jacob Bender continues to be given reps with the first-team offensive line, putting his power and skill on display. Coach Mangini cited his willingness to do various tasks the right way as the reason for his increased playing time with the first-string line.
”Jacob has done a lot of things leading up to this point to get that opportunity. I thought he did well the other night and in the first preseason game. He’s also gotten a chance to play other positions in the offensive line, which is an example of developing position flexibility and that’s key.”
-It was a rough morning for RB Danny Ware, who dropped many short passes. Two of those passes came during the 11-on-11 sessions.
-Displaying his leg strength, K Mike Nugent blasted many of his kickoffs out of the practice area and into the road. Nugent has been working hard in training camp to increase his distance on kickoffs so that P Ben Graham isn't thrust into the role out of necessity.