Not even heavy rains and cool temperatures could stop the Jets from practicing outside Tuesday afternoon. The team practiced for two-and-a-half hours in unwelcoming conditions as they continued to fix the mistakes made in last Friday’s preseason game against the Vikings, along with preparing for their game against the cross-town rival Giants on Saturday.
The big news of the day was not the practice conditions, however, but the absence of a certain player. CB Andre Dyson missed practice today and was seen limping around. Dyson, who has been completely healthy up until this part of training camp was expected to be the Jets number one cornerback this season.
Head Coach Eric Mangini did not speak about Dyson during his pre-practice press conference. With Dyson spending his time on the stationary bike, newly signed first round pick Darrelle Revis saw a lot of action with the first team. Joining Dyson on the stationary bike were RB Thomas Jones and S Eric Smith. OL Pete Kendall was also spotted on the bikes midway through practice after being present on the field for the first part of practice.
The Jets spent a majority of practice preparing for the Giants game this Saturday. Fourth-string QB Brett Ratliff did his best Eli Manning impression to help the defense prepare for the game, and it was actually quite good.
Ratliff did such a good job as the scout team quarterback that he had the other three Jets' quarterbacks saying nothing but good things to him from the sideline. Ratliff made all the throws he was supposed to make, while making good decisions with the ball and even showed his ability to get out of the pocket and run against the first- and second-team defense.
One thing that stood out in practice was the emphasis on screen and dump passes. Starting-QB Chad Pennington said his second interception against the Vikings should have never happened. Pennington said he should have thrown it at the feet of RB Leon Washington so he can live to see another down, and during Tuesday’s practice you could see that Jets quarterbacks are intent on not letting a mistake like that happen again.
Anytime a screen pass or short dump pass to a running back did not look like a good choice, the quarterback would immediately throw the ball to the feet of the running back. Pennington and Ratliff were forced to make throws like that throughout the duration of practice.
In their final drill of practice, instead of the normal two-minute drill, Mangini set up a situation for offense. Mangini had the score set at 25-20 and he put a 1:44 on the game clock.
The first-teamers didn’t last too long as their drill lasted a meager two plays. Pennington was intercepted on a great individual effort by DE Shaun Ellis, leaving it up to second team offense to make the offensive unit look good.
For a while they were able to do. QB Kellen Clemens led his unit down the field despite an early scare. On the third play of the drive, Clemens overthrew his intended receiver, Brad Smith, and waiting for the ball was S Raymond Ventrone. Ventrone, who has been having a good training camp for the most part, could not hold on ball, allowing the drive to continue.
After nearly escaping disaster, Clemens connected with WR Frisman Jackson to bring the ball inside the opponents’ 30-yard line, but with only four seconds left on clock. So, with the offense needing a touchdown, the defense put seven players by the goal line which meant a Hail Mary attempt was coming.
Clemens lofted a pass to WR Brad Smith, who found himself in good position to make the play in the front of end zone, but the pass was knocked down and fell into the hands of S Raymond Ventrone. Ventrone, who seemed to have complete possession of the ball, decided to throw the ball to the ground thinking the play would be blown dead.
However, the ball that Ventrone threw was picked up OG Adrien Clarke and was run into the endzone. But the officials had already made a call of incomplete, putting an end to the drive.
Smith is Finding His Niche
While the experiment of making Brad Smith a quarterback might be over, Smith is looking increasingly comfortable at the wide receiver spot. Smith made a few great catches despite the unfavorable conditions on Tuesday. The best catch that Smith made this afternoon came at the hands of three Jets defensive backs. Smith outran Ray Ventrone, CB Rayshaun Kizer, and S Jamie Thompson and came up with a perfectly thrown ball from Clemens.
Revis Likes the Corner
Even though his NFL career has been short thus far, Darrelle Revis knows where he fits the best and that is at cornerback. Revis has been playing both cornerback and nickelback and he feels most comfortable on the corner.
“When you’re outside, you can see everything from outside in. When you’re inside out at the nickel/dime it’s tougher,” Revis said. “You have to look at what the number one receiver is doing, the offensive line and what kind of blocks they are doing. So it’s a different aspect.”
Barton Has Kicks
Before all the drenched Jets left the field Tuesday afternoon, they had a little kicking competition. Jets LB Eric Barton attempted a 20-yard field goal from the right hash mark, and even though the kick looked extremely ugly from the other side of the field where the reporters were watching, it was good enough to split the uprights.
So Long, Jerry
The Jets said goodbye to recently signed free agent LB Jerry Mackey. The Freeport native was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for an undisclosed draft pick on Tuesday. Mackey, who signed with the Jets on August 4, originally signed with the Bucs on May 3 as an undrafted rookie free agent.
Mangini Loves the Weather
Coach Mangini might have been the only one who woke up Tuesday morning and was joyful to see the rain falling. Mangini loves to have team work in as many different types of weather conditions as possible. Even though it will not rain, sleet, snow or hale every week during the season, Mangini always keeps his team prepared to play in any condition.
“I think it’s great: cold, hot, snow, wind, rain, hail. Whatever it is. Noise. The more distractions you have, the tougher it is,” Mangini said.
Nugent Knows the Fans are Ready for Saturday
Preseason games don’t mean anything? Try telling that to New York football fans this Saturday night at the Meadowlands. As the Jets get ready to take on the Giants this Saturday, Jets K Mike Nugent knows the fans will be ready to see the cross-town rivals going at it.
“The last couple times we played them in the preseason, you really notice the fans come out,” Nugent said. “The fans do such a great job turning that into a rivalry, even though it’s only a preseason game.”
TE Joe Kowalewski has good practice as he continues to recover from a leg injury. Kowalewski made a three good catches while being part of the scout team offense.
LB Cody Spencer has been showing a temper problem this training camp. After getting into a fight with Kowalewski in an earlier practice in training camp, and with OL Robert Turner yesterday, he almost lost it again. Spencer had some choice words for RB Alvin Banks, leading Banks to throw a football in the direction of Spencer. Spencer then turned around to talk back at Banks, but teammates broke them up.
Special Teams Coordinator Mike Westhoff was not pleased with WR Wallace Wright today. While working on downing punts before they enter end zone, Westhoff yelled at Wright because of his poor technique. On the ensuing punt, Wright tried to field the punt the way Westhoff wanted him to, but their was no change in result as both punts were called touchbacks.
Wednesday will be the last day of training camp that is open to the public. Practice will begin at 12:15 p.m. and after practice all players will sign autographs. On Thursday and Friday, practices will be closed to the public.