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OTA's 2008: Rookies Join The Veterans
By Mark Walters
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
May 22nd, 2008
Newly acquired veteran TE Bubba Franks is looking to make an impression while fellow veteran TE Chris Baker is holding out. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Newly acquired veteran TE Bubba Franks is looking to make an impression while fellow veteran TE Chris Baker is holding out. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Unlike last week when rookies were absent from the media-open OTAs, all were in attendance today except the most high profile one. First round pick Vernon Gholston who was excused so he could attend graduation ceremonies at Ohio State but will be back after the weekend to participate in next weeks practices.

The weather today was dicey. After it seemed the team had dodged the rain the skies opened up over Hempstead towards the end of the practice session and it began to pour. However, the inclement weather didnt stop the action drills continued and the shower passed.

With nothing to do but speculate, the quarterback competition continued as well. Both Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens participated with the first offense and both looked sharp. Clemens had the play of the day however, when he threw a prettly 50 yard bomb down the sideling to WR Laveranues Coles over CH Darrelle Revis.

Mangini was asked at the press conference about published articles stating that the organization was pulling for Clemens to be the starter. Mangini immediately refuted the rumor as nonsense and stated that hes pulling for whoever gives the team its best chance to win.

Fifth-year running back Jesse Chatman was with special teams receiving punts, a new role for a utility players who revels in helping the team any way he can.

Im happy to take on a new role. That just lets me know the faith the coach has in me and he feels I can do it, and I know I can do it. Whatever the team needs, Im the guy, Chatman said.

After dropping a few, he was reprimanded by taking a lap.

Im learning how to catch punts, its tough. They didnt tell me that if you drop a punt you have to catch a lap, he said with a laugh. But its cool. All its gonna do is make me better.

The offensive line, anchored by 11-year veteran and recently acquired free agent Alan Faneca, is looking solid as they went through their drills.

Speaking about the chemistry of the line, Faneca was pleased with the way everyone is getting to know each other.

Its a good bunch of guys. I think O-linemen in general are good guys no matter where you go. We gotta good room and a good work ethic, Faneca said. We go out and grab a bite, as big guys go eat every now and then. Theres a couple new faces on the line, so I think everybody recognizes that were trying to speed that process up a little.

With the quarterback competition and speculation, Faneca doesnt see much of a difference among candidates.

At most its a different snap count. With different snap counts you gotta get used to that, and when theyre comin and goin.

Also a newcomer to the Jets, rookie lineman and Hofstra graduate Shawn McMackin seems to be adjusting well to the new digs.

It [practice] was good. A little bit of a storm rolled in but we had to go through it and keep working. Location-wise its been easy, Ill tell ya that, McMackin said about his transition to the NFL. I had to literally walk across the street and wait for a red light. But the guys here are great. They do a really good job of helping you get adjusted to the playbook and staying acclimated to the game.

While hes been rolling out on the practice field, McMackin admitted to being a little taken aback by the star power hes surrounded by.

Its a little weird sitting in a meeting with guys like Alan Faneca whos just an icon to the game. Its a little weird, ya know? Laveranues Coles asks to pass the salt, but its a lot of fun.

McMackin added that hes been taking it one step at a time and just weaseling his way in there when he gets the chance.

INSIDER TIDBITS

-Veteran TE Chris Baker continued his holdout and although Mangini was grilled at his press conference about the situation, he not surprisingly didnt give a lot of information about the situation except that he has been in regular contact with the TE and GM Mike Tannenbaum is on top of it.

-Safety Abram Elam, who missed last weeks OTA because of a death in the family, was present. Coach Mangini was happy to have him back.

My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family, Mangini said at his press conference before practice.

-Former Ravens RB Musa Smith was at Hofstra today and worked out for the team. There was no word at press time if Smith has been offered a contract.

-Rookie QB Eric Ainge was in uniform and participated in practice today but did not throw due to recent surgery on the pinky of his throwing hand where he was wearing a large visible bandage. The injury should be healed by training camp.

-When asked at the end of the press conference what he would do if one of his veterans missed OTAs due to a ballroom dancing competition like Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor. Jokingly Mangini bragged about his passion for ballroom dancing, and stated that he thinks Taylor should keep dancing and to stay out of camp for as long as possible. Ive watched some of that. Hes pretty good, said the Coach. I didnt vote, but I thought he did a great job. As long as he wants to stay out of Miamis camp, I think he should.

The Jets have two more open OTA's to the media, next Wednesday and Thursday. Be sure to check back to JI for all the scoops.

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