Jet TE Chris Baker returned to action today. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
There was a slight buzz around Hempstead Monday morning as the Jets warmed up for the first of two practices. TE Chris Baker, who has spent the entire training camp until now on the PUP list, was finally in pads and taking reps.
“It felt great to get back out and not having put on pads since last December so it felt real good to be back out there,” Baker told reporters after practice.
Of course, the million dollar question that was left to linger was Baker’s contract situation.
“I’m not gonna talk about the contract today, just let my people and them handle that so I’m just working on getting back on the field. I’m pleased to be back on the field,” he said.
When asked if anything has changed from a month ago, Baker simply said that he’s back practicing and that he has to “leave that one alone.”
Entering his third year with the Jets, he said he feels “real good” with the offense.
“We’ve added a few wrinkles but I’ve been through that process the last two years. I’m trying just to expand some of the things I can do for the team. We’re trying to get poised to make a run at New England,” he said.
“I’m excited to get Chris out there," said Mangini at his morning presser. "Having Chris, Bubba (Franks), Jason Pociask, and (Dustin) Keller. Those are four really good candidates, and they’re all intelligent guys, they’re all guys that can do different things. We talk about the ability to build 21, the two-back formation, and 12 and make them all look the same, run the plays in each group the same way using Bubba and Bake. It gets hard, and it should be easy for us and difficult for our opponents,” he added.
The depth of the tight end position with Baker, Dustin Keller, Bubba Franks, and Jason Pociask is certainly something to notice.
“We have the ability to run two and three tight ends. It’s a good group of guys, guys that can bring different things to the offense and I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun,” Baker said.
“No and no” was the response Coach Mangini gave when asked if he’s picked a starting quarterback for Thursday’s pre-season game at Cleveland and whether or not his final selection will mean anything.
Kellen Clemens threw an interception to CB Drew Coleman which ended practice. Prior to that, Clemens threw a pass that was batted down by a defensive lineman, however he also had a strike to TE Dustin Keller, which turned into a catch-and-go, 50-yard touchdown. Pennington managed to thread the needle to WR David Clowney, who also caught a 40-yard touchdown from Clemens against no defense.
After several days riding the exercise bike, WR Laveranues Coles was back in pads and practicing with the team. He appeared fit and ready to go.
“Having LC back today, both of them [and Baker] are going through the protocol, so it’s a process of easing them in,” Coach Mangini said.
Henry In Arms Race
Although in full pads and starting practice with the team, rookie WR Marcus Henry was on the arm bike most of Monday morning after he seemed to strain his right calf and left the field with it wrapped.
QB News What Media Make of It
When asked about the QB decision for this week’s pre-season game at Cleveland, Mangini said that he’ll marinate on it and make a decision, but it won’t be any sort of Earth-shattering news.
The Star-Ledger’s Dave Hutchinson responded, “We’ll be the judge of that, Eric.”
Let’s Hear it For Sal
Both Chris Baker and Coach Mangini had nothing but praise for Sal Alosi, the Jets’ head strength & conditioning coach. A Massapequa native, Alosi was a linebacker for Hofstra, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in exercise science.
Mangini said that there’s really no way not to work hard while on the PUP list.
“Sal and his crew, they drive the troops pretty hard,” Mangini said.
”They wouldn’t let me out here if I wasn’t in shape,” Baker said. “I’m just getting in and working with the strength coach, Sal. He helped me out a lot and also the medical staff. I’ve been building some things up and body-wise I feel really good,” he added.
Along with Marcus Henry as reported above, RB Jesse Chatman, LB Jason Trusnik, and LB David Harris were riding the exercise bikes today during practice. Trusnik is on the PUP. Chatman has missed several practices recently, and the status of Harris is unknown at this point.
Be sure to check Jets Insider.com this evening for the late Monday camp report.