INSIDER WEDNESDAY TEAM REPORT
By Andrew Scharff
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
September 19th, 2007
Gang Green hit the practice field Wednesday afternoon as they are still looking for many firsts this season. Their first rushing touchdown, their first interception, their first forced fumble and recovery, their first sack and most importantly to Jets fans their first victory.
Despite all the hoopla that usualy preceeds a Jets - Fins matchup, the biggest news from Jets camp today is who will be the starting quarterback Sunday against the Dolphins. Jets QB Chad Pennington didn’t play on Sunday in the loss to the Ravens, but Pennington did say after the game that he could have played.
On the field today, Pennington practiced and looked as close to 100% as possible. Although practice was only open for 30 minutes to media, Pennington’s ankle showed no problems during bag drills and during throwing drills Pennington looked sharp as well.
Wednesday was also the first Pennington spoke to the media since last week. Pennington sounded confident that he will be the starter on Sunday, but he knows the final decision is up to head coach Eric Mangini. A source close to the team today confirmed to JI that unless Pennington suffers some type of injury setback, he will resume his starting duties on Sunday.
As for the Jets not creating turnovers and not getting to the quarterback that is topic that they are not worried about. Despite not being able to put any pressure on opposing quarterback the Jets feel confident that they will be able to put pressure on Dolphins QB Trent Green.
“We’re fine at 0-2. We played two very good teams. Both teams went to the playoffs last year. We got beat by one and lost to another. And that’s we stand ,” said Jets LB Jonathan Vilma.
Mangini says they work on creating turnovers during practice and when they watch film they look at areas of the opponent where they think can get turnovers. If the defense can force opponents into making careless turnovers, a short field can not only give the Jets momentum, but it can also provide a spark to offense.
“We work on it all the time,” Mangini said. “We spend time looking at players that we could target because maybe they don’t protect the back of the football, they don’t protect the tip of the football or they carry the football away from their body.”
"We need to push it to the limit and do whatever we have to do," Jets safety Kerry Rhodes said. "I might add some incentives. If you get the ball out then you get some money. Something to get it going."
Along with not creating turnovers, the Jets are also struggling with the run game. Although the running game looked considerably better against the Ravens than it did against the Patriots, but it can still be better. The Jets were hoping that new off-season acquisition Thomas Jones would revive a running game that was basically non-existent last year.
Through two games so far Jones has 38 carries for only 109 yards despite being slowed down by calf injury he suffered during training camp. His backup Leon Washington, who was non-existent in the running game in Baltimore hasn’t been doing much either with the football. He only four carries for 15 yards this season.
Miller Put On Injured Reserve
As previously reported on JI, the Jets lost their only Pro-Bowler from last year’s team. CB/KR Justin Miller was officially placed on injured reserve on Tuesday because of a knee injury. Miller injured the knee early in the second quarter during the 20-13 loss to the Ravens. RB Leon Washington and WR Brad Smith will handle the return duties in Miller’s absence. Miller joins former college roommate and Jets WR Chansi Stuckey on the IR. Miller’s roster spot has not been filled yet, but the spot could go to S Artrell Hawkins, who has visited with the Jets.
Also the Jets signed OL Will Montgomery and released OL Jason Capizzi from the practice squad. Montgomery was released by Carolina earlier in the season. Besides the Jets, Montgomery was also being looked at by the Denver Broncos.
Smith’s Happy To Be Back
There is big smile on the face of Jets S Eric Smith. Not only is he taunting rookie CB Darrelle Revis because Smith’s alma mater Michigan State beat the University of Pittsburgh last weekend (Revis’ alma mater), but he is in good spirits because he back on the gridiron.
Smith made a great impression on coach Mangini last season as rookie and was given a decent amount of playing time last year. Coming into camp Smith was going to challenge S Erik Coleman for a starting safety position. But a calf injury suffered early in training camp set Smith back a few steps. Now Smith is healthy and is looking to make an impact in the Jets secondary.
Smith returned to the Jets lineup on Sunday against the Ravens and made his prescence felt. Smith made three tackles and broke up one pass in limited action against the Ravens.
“Anytime you have an injury it is a little bit of setback. Now I’m trying to move from that and get back to where I was,” Smith said. “It was good getting out there and playing with the guys. It was getting frustrating sitting out.”
Bowens Reunites with Miami
When the Jets and Dolphins take the field Sunday afternoon, Jets LB David Bowens will have one thought and that is to win. If Bowens wants the win, he is going to have to beat really good friends of his. Bowens spent the last six seasons in Miami. During his time in Miami, Bowens developed really good friendships with most of Dolphins, most notably Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor and Vonnie Holliday.
“Were 0-2 and need to get a win. It doesn’t matter who we play this week,” Bowens said. “It is. Jason, Vonnie and I have been talking. Jason [Taylor] is pretty fired up. It’s going to be fun to go out there and see those guys.”
During the 30 minute viewing session of practice, Gang Green showed the media its punt coverage schemes. The only thing of note that happened during that drill was Washington dropped the first punt of day. Washington then ran his penalty lap around the field…On another note during that same drill LB Eric Barton tried playing the wing on the punt return team. Barton was being beat right at the line by CB Drew Coleman and WR Chris Davis. Watching and laughing at him was LB Jonathan Vilma and S Kerry Rhodes.
Jets to honor #80 on Sunday
During halftime of the Jets-Dolphins game, the Jets will hold a halftime ceremony honoring former Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet. Chrebet signed with the Jets as a free agent from Hofstra University. Chrebet became one of the franchises most prolific receivers in its history. Over 11 seasons with the Jets he recorded 580 receptions for 7,365 yards and 41 touchdowns.
“As a coach, you hope that all of your players have his level of dedication, toughness and professionalism,” Mangini said about Chrebet. “You are always grateful to have a player of his caliber on your team.”
New York Jets
Limited Participation in Practice
WR Jerricho Cotchery (Shoulder), CB Andre Dyson (foot), OL Brandon Moore (shoulder), QB Chad Pennington (ankle), DL Dewayne Robertson (knee), S Eric Smith (thigh)
Full Participation in Practice
CB David Barrett (Thigh), LB David Bowens (hand), TE Joe Kowalewski (shoulder), RB Thomas Jones (calf), FB Stacy Tutt (foot)
Did Not Participate in Practice
LB Zach Thomas (Migrane)
Limited Participation in Practice
S Donovin Darius (Calf), G Rex Hadnot (Shoulder).