When the Jets acquired RB Thomas Jones during the off-season, Gang Green fans figured their problem was solved. Last season when the Jets made their improbable run to the playoffs, what was missing was the running game.
And through the beginning of training camp the Jets looked like they found their running game, as Jones not only impressed his teammates and coaching staff on the field, but in the weight room as well. Ever since coming to New York, Jones has been viewed as the piece that can take the Jets to the next level.
But then came August 12, 2007, a Sunday that could live in Jets fans minds for the entire season if Jones does not become the 1,000 yard rusher he has been for the past two seasons and the 1,000 yard rusher the Jets were desperately hoping for.
Looking like he rolled ankle during blocking drills, Jones ended up straining his calf, which also ended training camp for Jones. Now with training camp over and Jones just getting back on to the practice field, the question is, will Jones be ready for Sunday’s opener against the division rival New England Patriots.
Jets head coach Eric Mangini was asked the same question, but he didn’t give a straight answer to the media during his Monday morning press conference.
“He’s continuing to work hard and he is making progress,” Mangini said about Jones status for Sunday. “All our guys I’d like to think are doing the things they need to do to be on the field Sunday and I’m confident that all the injured guys (CB’s Andre Dyson, Justin Miller and S Eric Smith) will do the best they can to be on the field on Sunday.”
But Mangini is just saying that to make Patriots life harder. If Mangini says Jones isn’t playing, then they don’t have to prepare for him. Mangini is letting any info out on the status of Jones. Despite waiving RB Danny Ware (which seems like a sign that Jones will play), Mangini mentioned that he would use Stacy Tutt at running back as well. Right now on the active roster they have two running backs, Jones and Leon Washington. Tutt is listed as a fullback.
During the 30-min glimpse of practice shown to media, Jones was seen talking to Mangini while stretching and during running drills, Jones looked to be close to 100%.
What seems to be the most logical scenario to occur is Jones will probably suit up and play, but he split time with Washington. Jones has only appeared in one preseason game, which means he might not be conditioned to carry ball 25-30 times.
Practice Squad Announced
Mangini announced at his morning press conference his seven man practice squad. The Jets signed CB Manny Collins, WR Chris Davis, QB Brett Ratliff, LB Jason Trusnik, OL Robert Turner, S Ray Ventrone, RB Danny Ware, and TE Iiro Louto. The NFL allows teams to carry eight players on the practice squad, which means the Jets could sign one more player to their practice squad.
Team Captains Also Announced
Along with announcing his practice squad, Mangini also announced the team captains for the 2007 season. All captains were voted on by the players. The offensive captains are QB Chad Pennington and WR Laveranues Coles. The defensive captains for the second year in a row are LB Jonathan Vilma and DE Shaun Ellis. The special teams captains this season will be K Mike Nugent and LB Brad Kassell.
Mangini Gets More Coles
Part of the responsibility of being captains is meeting with Coach Mangini during the week. A captain is supposed to be the player’s voice to the coach, so that means the outspoken Coles can come see Mangini anytime he wants.
“I think it’s great. We’ll be able to spend even more time together. I’ve learned to appreciate how much he does,” Mangini said.
Coles has mentioned that he is not a big fan of Mangini training camp. He has been quoted saying that nothing is tougher than a Mangini training camp. And not being afraid to say what he feels, Mangini thinks that will make him a good captain.
“Another thing that you got to love about L.C. [Coles] is he says what he thinks, he says what he feels. I like that. I like the way that he gives me feedback,” Mangini said. “Sometimes you may have a plan, you may think that that’s a good plan. Without getting feedback from the group and getting input, it makes it harder to adjust effectively.”
Nugent Honored To Be Captain
Jets K Mike Nugent worked diligently this off-season to get stronger. And his hard work has shown during training camp and this first week of practice. He has been sending kickoffs into end zone and has connected on 5 of 6 field goals in the preseason games. Nugent’s work has paid off as he was elected special teams captain
“Your teammates voted for you, so you can represent everyone else on the field, as well as the other captains,” Nugent said. “I thought it was an honor because it’s everyone around is voting. It’s everyone’s opinion and not just a couple of people’s opinions.”
A common sight in the Jets locker room is a shirt all the Jets wear. The front of the has the NY Jets logo and then on the back of the shirt it has a quotation fron Sun Tzu
“Every battle is won, before it is even fought,”-Sun Tzu
Jets C Nick Mangold explained that is the perfect quote to explain coach Mangini’s philosophy on how to approach each game.
“It re-emphasizes the point of preparing. A lot of people think that you just go out and play a game and that’s it,” Mangold said. “But there is so much time put in even before you play the game. You study your opponent, you learn about yourself, preparing each week for an opponent. It constant reminder of how important preparedness is.”
Ratliff Wears White
Instead of the traditional red jersey the quarterback wears, practice squad QB Brett Ratliff dressed up in a white uniform. Ratliff did work with the receivers during the one drill the media saw. Mangini did not comment on Ratliff and what position he will play during the season.
Schlegel Picked Up By Cincinnati, Kimo an Eagle
Former 3rd round choice of last year LB Anthony Schlegel was claimed by the Bengals yesterday after the Jets released him on Saturday. Also, veteran DT Kimo Von Oelhoffen was signed to a one year deal by the Eagles after he missed the Jets' final cut.
After today's practice the team has tomorrow off then returns Wednesday to continue preparing for the Patriots. Be sure to check back to JI often for all the latest NY Jets news!