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Free VIP Preview: INSIDER TUESDAY EARLY CAMP REPORT

By Douglas Bonjour
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
July 29th, 2008
CB Justin Miller, who is on the verge of a make or break season, has been impressive so far at training camp. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
CB Justin Miller, who is on the verge of a make or break season, has been impressive so far at training camp. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
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INSIDER TUESDAY EARLY CAMP REPORTDespite rumors flowing yesterday that the Jets had cancelled practice to complete a deal with Green Bay to acquire Brett Favre, in reality it was just Head Coach Eric Mangini giving his players some unexpected, well-received rest after six hard practices.

“It was a good day for us, it was an important day and now we are being able to reload,” Mangini said.

Instead of practicing in the 80-degree heat, the Jets spent yesterday afternoon reviewing the week’s practices and recovering physically. This time, some research was behind Mangini’s decision to cancel practice.

“In researching the patterns of training camp and researching the trends over the years, what we’ve seen is a dramatic spike of injures early on in camp,” Mangini said.

The Jets' physical regimen included soft-tissue massage therapy, stretching to elongate and relieve muscle pressure, Pilates and weightlifting to remove lactid acid from muscles.

“What I wanted to do is look at all the different things related to recovery and we planned the day out accordingly. Being able to use the meeting time to go through practices one through six and get those reviewed,” Mangini said. “We spent some more time really filling in the blanks with the volume of installation that went in and then physically we had several different things set up for the players that were all related to recovery.”

While yesterday was productive away from the field, the Jets were back to practicing in the early morning heat today. Cornerback Justin Miller had a strong start to the practice as the team practiced red-area and goal-line situations. Miller, who is battling back from a torn ACL which forced him to miss the entire 2007 season, showed the recovery process is running smoothly as he knocked away two passes intended for wide receiver Laveranues Coles on fade routes.

"Anytime you get a break its good. After we go out and work hard we all want to be successful, so sometimes you need breaks. But our main goal is just to get out here and get better as a team," Miller said.

Miller, who has been featured with the starting defense during training camp, is pleased with his recovery.

“I’m doing alright. I’m doing everything they ask me to do,” Miller said. “I’m very confident, these guys are helping me work through everything. There’s always difficulties in life and I’m blessed to have a great group of guys and a great staff around to help me be successful.”

While Miller starred early and often in the secondary, nose tackle Kris Jenkins showed why he is so valuable as the team practiced red-area situations. In fact, running back Thomas Jones learned first-hand. As Jones took a handoff from inside the five-yard line and ran left, the 6-foot-4, 349-pound Jenkins crashed through blockers and stuffed Jones at the goal-line. However, Jenkins was unable to stop Jones again, as he burst through the center of the line and into the endzone on his next carry.

As far as the quarterbacks are concerned, the performances of Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens resembled the previous six practices. While Pennington did not make any eye-catching passes, he played conservative, turnover-free football. On the other hand, Clemens struggled to keep the ball away from the defense.

Pennington’s finest throw came in goal-line drills, as he lobbed a pass over defenders and into the hands of wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery in the back of the endzone. Pennington also received some help from his receivers however, as Coles made the finest catch of the day. In an 11-on-11 drill, Pennington appeared to overthrow Coles on a crossing pattern, but the veteran receiver grabbed the ball one-handed and eluded cornerback Drew Coleman in the process.

Clemens' day got off to a rough start, as his first pass of the morning in 7-on-7 drills was intended for running back Leon Washington but was knocked away and nearly intercepted. However, on Clemens’ next attempt, the third-year quarterback threw the ball behind his intended target on a crossing pattern and into the arms of cornerback Dwight Lowery.

The Jets will practice again this afternoon, starting at 5:45 p.m.

INSIDER TIDBITS

Roster Moves

Running back Danny Woodhead cleared waivers and was placed on the Injured Reserve List. Gang Green wavied punter Joe Smith and signed both wide receiver Rudy Burgess and linebacker Jerry Mackey. Burgess(5-foot-10, 186 pounds), signed with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent following April's draft, but was waived by the Colts on Friday. In four years at Arizona State, Burgess totaled 4,379 all-purpose yards. Mackey (6-foot-1, 233 pounds), a Freeport High School product, rejoins the Jets after being waived by Gang Green April 24. Mackey is entering his second professional season.

Raymond Impresses Mangini

Undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Paul Raymond is one player who has caught Mangini’s eye early in training camp. “He’s not a big guy, but he’s really stepped up in terms of his blocking on the perimeter and even on special teams, I think he’s done a good job with that,” Mangini said. “He’s got excellent vertical speed and sometimes understanding what your strength is you have to figure out how to use that strength as much as you can."

Offensive Lineman Back for Kickoffs

While Miller, running back Jesse Chatman and Washington returned kickoffs and punts during practice, offensive lineman Stanley Daniels received kickoffs from Mike Nugent following the session. No, Daniels is not planning on changing positions. Apparently Nugent just needed someone to catch the ball.

Ferguson Awarded

Offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson was given practice off by Mangini as a reward for being named the team’s Offseason Strength-Training award winner.

Favre News

Mangini again stayed mum when approached about Favre in his post-practice press conference. However, linebacker David Bowens did have some fun with reporters later in the afternoon, as he peered into the media room and shouted, “Favre is in the building.” Obviously he was joking.

Injury Report

Linebacker Matt Chatham missed practice with an undisclosed injury and spent most of the morning on the exercise bicycle. With Chatham out, other players are getting an opportunity. “You don’t want anybody to be injured in this time, but we have some guys who have a chance to get reps [at linebacker]. That’s not bad either,” Mangini said. “In terms of special teams there are other guys there who need to get reps as well. Again, you want Matt to get reps but Matt has a lot to draw on from past experience.”

Linebacker David Harris missed practice for unspecified reasons and spent most of the morning on the exercise bicycle. With both Harris and Chatham out, fifth-year linebacker Cody Spencer received more reps with the second-team.

Tight end Chris Baker and linebacker Jason Trusnik both remain on the PUP List and did not practice.

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