By Bob Bonett
Jets Staff Writer
August 28th, 2007
Jets CB Darrelle Revis made a strong debut against the Giants on Saturday. (Jets Photo)
Jets CB Darrelle Revis made a strong debut against the Giants on Saturday. (Jets Photo)
A few days removed from rookie CB Darrelle Revis’ debut against live competition, head coach Eric Mangini has had ample time to dissect the performance by his prized draft pick. Largely, Mangini was quite pleased with Revis on the field.

“I thought he showed good awareness,” Mangini said, “and he was physical with his opportunities in tackling (and) his opportunities to reroute the line of scrimmage.”

However, the Jets’ coach did acknowledge the weak spots that he saw in Revis’ performance on the weekend, specifying Revis’ coverage on the “stem” of his opposing receiver’s route.

Mangini explained that the “stem” is the point after the initial bump zone that the receiver runs vertically on a route. This part of coverage can make or break the DB, as it can either create space for the receiver, or get the opposing back good position to defend the pass.

Pointing out former Patriots CB Ty Law as somebody who covered the stem remarkably, Mangini mentioned that Revis needs more work on covering this part of the route.

“Darrell had so much separation in the stem,” Mangini said. “He had done a nice job at the line of scrimmage (but) the receiver was able to gain back the ground that Darrelle had won and run the route successfully.”

Revis said that his head coach had not yet spoken to him specifically on defending the stem, but did say that Mangini is the “genius,” and that whatever he sees on film is probably an area he will eventually work on.

“I’m still a young corner and have a lot to learn,” Revis said. “Coach brought it up to me a couple times, and that’s something I need to work on and get better at.”

While in the locker room, the rookie also spoke about the butterflies he had leading up to his appearance in the Giants game, and down the road in regular season game. Revis conceded that he, along with everybody else, does encounter “nerves” prior to each contest, but they quickly whither away.

“I’m nervous every game,” Revis said, but saying that when the first play is over, they just “go away.”

Moving from Revis, who has largely received praise from all outlets since his return to the field, to OL Jacob Bender, whose play has been critiqued nonstop, both Bender and second year lineman D’Brickashaw Ferguson are encouraged by the line’s progression this offseason.

Bender mentioned that he is working “to get better every day,” while Ferguson echoed his comments saying that Bender “has a lot of great talents,” and they will unveil themselves when chemistry is built on the line.

Needless to say, the team is just two days away from their game with the Eagles, a team they will take on early in the season. The two most talked about rookies in the last few weeks, Revis and Bender, will look to continue making strides in the match-up in preparation for opening day with the New England Patriots.


Not so Action-Packed Practice

As per Mangini’s typical method, the action seen on the field during media’s access was extremely low key. The first ten minutes consisted of stretching and non-contact passing drills with the Rocky Balboa soundtrack playing in the background.

The team then worked on punt return drills. After a sloppy display yesterday, the return crew, including Revis and DB Justin Miller, didn’t drop any balls off the foot of P Ben Graham.

The most noticeable observation was the scrambled jerseys of the defensive team, as players elected to switch jerseys with somebody else on the defensive squad. The highest profile jersey switch was between Revis and LB Jonathan Vilma, with Revis wearing No. 51 and Vilma wearing No. 24.

Lack of Reps for Jones Not Necessarily Bad

A common remark of Mangini regarding the play of Revis has been that the DB missed a lot of key instruction on specific route running that he will encounter in the NFL.

The same idea thus came about regarding RB Thomas Jones, who has only received a handful of touches in preseason action with opening night just around the corner.

Mangini, however, said that the fact that Jones hasn’t carried too many balls in the preseason isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“Everybody’s different,” Mangini said. “I read a stat somewhere recently that (San Diego Chargers RB) LaDanian Tomlinson (has never) carried the ball in the preseason.”

To nobody’s surprise, the Coach still has given no time frame as to the estimated time of return for Jones. However, JI has learned from a source close to Jones that the RB will sit on Thursday against the Eagles but should be 100% for opening day against the Pats. Luckily for the Jets, RBs Leon Washington and Danny Ware have looked very sharp in preseason action, clearly ready to be called on if necessary in week one. Ware, the undrafted rookie from Georgia looks like a shoe-in at this point to make the final roster. He should send a thank you note to Cedric Houston who abruptly retired the first day of camp.

Safety Offers Teaching Point

Perhaps the oddest point of Saturday’s game with the Giants was when S Rashad Washington was whistled for a holding penalty in the endzone on a punt by Ben Graham. Due to the fact that the call was made inside of the goal line, the ruling was that the Jets would be called for a safety, thus awarding the Giants two points, and being forced to punt the ball back to the opposition.

Mangini spoke about the call in the press conference, alluding to the Catch 22 Washington faced.

“The player on the punt team had to make a decision; do I hold them and eat the two points or do I take the chance that (the punt) is going to be blocked and (the opposition) falls on it,” Mangini said. “Either way, both decisions are not very good.”

Shortened Week Offers Preparation

With the Eagles came occurring on Thursday, only five days removed from the Jets’ previous game with the Giants, Gang Green has been forced to compound seven days worth of work into only five. These combination practices for the Jets, though, will offer good preparation with New York scheduled for a Thanksgiving game against Dallas, four days after their match-up with the Steelers.

Clemens Might See Action

Mangini rarely offers any sort of information regarding one of his men’s playing time prior to game day. He stayed on that road for initially regarding QB Kellen Clemens’ opportunity to play against the Eagles, but wavered at the last second, saying that he thinks Clemens “has a good opportunity to see some time.”

The head coach also spoke about Clemens’ arm strength and his touch, two parts of a quarterbacks’ technique that usually make or break them come game time. Mangini spoke about a specific play in which Clemens’ exhibited both, offering optimisim for Jets’ fans regarding the QB’s progression.

“He’s shown some good touch in the short area, and there have been some positive deep balls,” Mangini said. “I thought the (pass) to Justin McCareins the other night was a really good example of what you want to do especially with a guy like Justin. You lead him, let him run underneath it, and then with his speed, that’s that place where you want the ball.”

Thursday night is a big day for Clemens, as it will mark the last chance for him to get substantial repetitions until, theoretically, next training camp (barring a midseason QB change).

Mangini Addresses Martin’s Locker

The sight of former RB Curtis Martin’s locker was the most memorable moment of Monday’s practice. In the press conference, Mangini spoke about its presence.

“Curtis still has a presence in this building,” Mangini said.

He went on to offer a cliché which drew laughs, saying that Martin “will always have a locker in Jets fans’ hearts.”

Upcoming Events

Two events coming up have been publicized by both the Jets’ organization and Mangini.

Each occurring tomorrow, the Jets have their kickoff luncheon tomorrow, an annual event where rookies need to speak publicly in a major setting for the first time. While nerves may hit Revis on the field, he denied that he is dreading speaking tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, the “New York Sack Exchange,” the 1981 Jets’ defensive front four consisting of Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko, Marty Lions and Abdul Salaam, will be ringing the opening bell at the stock exchange tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. to mark the beginning of the football season.

The team also announced today that the will be honoring retired Jets WR Wayne Chrebet during a halftime ceremony at the Jets - Dolphins game on September 23.

The team will also have a short walk-through which is closed to the media and then travel to Philadelphia.