Will Thomas Jones be ready to go against the Pats this Sunday? (Jets Insider.com Photo)
It’s that time of year. From head coach Eric Mangini to all players in the locker room to even everybody of the media, there was certain in the air at the Jets Training Facilities at Hofstra. With the 2007 season opener against New England rapidly approaching, Gang Green used Wednesday to continue to prepare for the three time Super Bowl Champions.
A few Jets are really starting to know what it feels like to be part of opening day and they are the Jets 2007 draft picks. All four draft picks (Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Jacob Bender and Chansi Stuckey) are expected to large chunks of playing time especially Revis and Bender.
With CB’s Andre Dyson and Justin Miller missing most of training camp, Revis (who missed 21 days himself) who is as healthy as can be, will probably see a lot time at cornerback on Sunday afternoon. New England spent this off-season remodeling at the wide receiver position. So wherever Revis plays on Sunday he will be tested right off the bat.
“As of right now the only thing I can do is just compete and work hard with my teammates. There’s no one-on-one matchup’s, were a team and were going to our best to win,” said overwhelmed Revis in a quick three minute question session with the media.
“I just think of receivers as receivers. It’s the NFL this is not a kids game it’s a man’s game. So you just got to go out their and play,” Revis added.
Another Jets rookie who is expected to see a large portion of playing time is Bender. Bender is looking like the probable starter and replacement for the former left guard Pete Kendall. Though Bender did look good in the third preseason game against the Giants, the rookie offensive lineman from Nicholls State is anxious to get out there and show he belongs.
“Right now I am just preparing and working hard. On Sunday I am sure their will be some butterflies, but right now I just need to work and get better,” Bender said. “It’s going to be awesome. It’s a lifetime dream and when you play against good players it makes you better. So I am excited.”
One player in particular who is trying help Bender through the craziness of opening weekend is second year center Nick Mangold. Mangold told reporters he remembers this time last year and how everything was so crazy. But now in second year with the Jets and in the system Mangold feels comfortable and he is trying to work with Bender to make him feel as comfortable.
“Last year it was a crazy amount information and just getting done with training camp. This year is a little bit nicer. Having an idea of what the coaches want and the system, it’s little more comfortable,” Mangold said. “But the experience is different for everybody. But I try to help him as much as I can inside football and outside of football. And work in progress and it’s something that is continually changing.”
As for the veterans getting for Sunday, RB Thomas Jones has to also have some gitters. Jones, who has been sidelined since August 12th with a calf strain, returned to practice and looks to be ready to go Sunday, which is something he is excited for despite not having much action during training camp and in the preseason games.
“I have played a lot of football. I’m going into my eighth year so I have put in a lot of games and a lot of situations, so it is nothing new. I have done a lot of conditioning and studying of the playbook, so I’m not a disadvantage,” Jones said.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity. We have a really good game plan and it’s the Patriot game and that is a big rivalry for us. I am very excited for Sunday,” Jones added.
Hicks Is Ready To Be Part Of A New Rivalry
Defensive end Eric Hicks spent nine seasons in Kansas City. During his time a Chief the big rivalry over there was Chiefs/Raiders. Now Hicks who is in first season with the Jets is now getting to familiarize himself with another rivalry! The Jets-Patriots.
“I am ready to go. It amazing you don’t really understand other team’s rivalries. But this has the same feel as the Chiefs/Raiders or Chiefs/Broncos,” said Hicks. “It’s exciting to get that sort of intensity right off the bat.”
Hobson Still Hurting From Saturday
Hobson did not get injured during practice, be he is hurting. It is his Michigan Pride that was hurt on Saturday. The former Michigan linebacker was shocked when heard the Wolverines were beat by I-AA Appalachian State 34-32 on Saturday. The linebacker said he did not see that game but quickly heard about the result.
“It was hard to come into work the next day. But that stuff happens. I put that in the past and just continue to focus on New England,” Hobson said.
Belichick Worried About The Jets Receivers
Just like the Jets are worried about the Patriots receivers, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick expressed his concern for the Jets wide outs during a ten minute conference call with the New York Media.
“[Laveranues] Coles is hard to defend, gets yards after the catch. Brad Smith has a lot of versatility. They also have Cotchery who had that big play against us in the playoffs and you can’t forget about McCareins,” Belichick said. “This might be the best group of receivers we see all season.”
Word around the Press Room is that former Patriots cornerback Artrell Hawkins and wide receiver Reche Caldwell visited their former coaches Eric Mangini and quarterbacks coach Brian Daboll. There was no official word from the Jets if they worked out or if contracts were offered but you can bet Mangini grilled them for any info that could help this week against their arch enemy. If seems that a signing of either is unlikely since the Jets have a lot of depth at both CB and WR.
JI has also learned that the Jets signed former Pats C/G Mike Elgin to the practice squad. Elgin was originally a 7th round draft choice this year by New England out of Iowa and was released on the final cuts last week.
New York Jets
-CB Andre Dyson (Foot): Questionable
-RB Thomas Jones (Calf): Questionable
-CB Justin Miller (Thigh): Questionable
-S Eric Smith (Thigh): Questionable
-OL Brandon Moore (Shoulder): Questionable
-TE Joe Kowalewski (Finger): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Pelvis): Probable
-DL Dewayne Robertson (Knee): Probable
-WR Chansi Stuckey (Knee): Probable
-FB Stacy Tutt (Foot): Probable
New England Patriots
-S Rashad Baker (Hand): Questionable
-TE Dave Thomas (Foot): Questionable
-DL Mike Wright (Knee): Questionable
-S Eric Smith (Thigh): Questionable
-QB Tom Brady (Shoulder): Probable
The team returns to practice tomorrow and has a walk through on Friday. Be sure to check back to JI for complete reports.