Jets QB Brett Favre signs autographs with fans for the first time after this morning's practice. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Day Two of the Brett Favre era is underway. After a record crowd of approximately 10,500 fans packed the bleachers near Weeb Ewbank Hall yesterday to watch the future Hall of Famer fire passes around the practice field and cheer for his every snap, more than 4,000 fans filled the stands today. Again, Favre gave Jets fans a reason to cheer with his rocket-arm on full display.
However, Favre’s tight-zipped passes were only a few of the quarterback’s morning highlights. In Favre’s first 11-on-11 drill, Favre and center Nick Mangold botched the snap, forcing the quarterback to dive to the ground to recover the fumble. Immediately following the muffed play, Favre hit the sidelines with Mangold for a penalty lap, drawing a loud cheer from Jets' fans.
“The crowd was cheering and all of that stuff. I am not embarrassed by it [running a lap]. I think it is kind of funny, but yet it serves its purpose,” Favre said in a transcript handed to the media.
For the future Hall of Famer, Mangini’s penalty laps hold an important meaning.
“You are trying to build unity. In our situation here, you are trying to build chemistry,” Favre said. “There is a great mixture of veterans. When I say veterans, I am going from eight games to 15, 12, 10 years. A lot of those [experienced players] or faces are new here so we have to build some chemistry pretty quickly,” he said.
With Favre, the 18-year veteran running the lap, the Jets’ rookies quickly discovered that Mangini offers no seniority benefits.
“I wasn’t expecting [Favre] to run. I was like ‘I’ll understand if he doesn’t run this,’ but he just got up and took off. He’s a stand-up guy,” tight end Dustin Keller said.
Potential Hall of Famer or not, Mangini knows penalty laps are imperative.
“I didn’t really think that not running was an option,” Mangini said. “I mean, we had talked about it and that’s the way it is. And off he went.”
For Favre, the botched snap ended up being his only glitch of the day. With Favre under center with the starting offense against the starting defense, the Jets' wide receivers found out just how potent the quarterback can be. After a short screen pass to running back Leon Washington into the right flat, Favre threw a perfect 30-yard strike down the right sidelines to wide reciever Jerricho Cotchery. Despite facing tight coverage against cornerback Ahmad Carroll, Favre’s pass sailed just out of the defender’s grasp and hit Cotchery in stride. Favre’s finest pass again came in 11-on-11 drills and landed in Cotchery’s hands. With the ball on the opponent’s 25-yard line, Favre hit Cotchery on a go-route down the left sidelines for a 75-yard touchdown.
Despite praising each individual throw from Favre, Mangini knows other areas of observation are equally important.
“It’s more going through, does he have the formation right, the snap count right, the read right, and then throw so there’s other steps leading up to it,” Mangini said.
In terms of Favre’s learning curve, the quarterback isn’t exactly “swimming” as Mangini usually puts it.
“It’s been a whirlwind for him and there is a lot of new information going in, and we’re associating it, we’re progressing quickly. And I think the insulation schedule is actually helpful, because he’s getting it in segments, as opposed to, okay, we’re going to do first, second, third down, two-minute, red zone, all in one practice,” Mangini said.
The Jets will practice again later this afternoon, starting at 5:45 p.m.
Ainge Again Receives Limited Reps
After receiving no playing time during last Thursday’s preseason opener in Cleveland, quarterback Erik Ainge received a limited number of reps during today’s practice. With Favre, Clemens and Brett Ratliff primarily splitting duties at quarterback lately during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, Ainge has been watching from the sidelines. However, Mangini insisted during his post-practice press conference that Ainge’s limited reps have no connection with the rookie’s knowledge of the playbook.
“He’s been fine with the playbook, it’s just that you have a limited number of reps and that’s sort of where he is on the totem pole,” Mangini said. “Ainge is a really bright guy.” However, with the emergence of Ratliff, Ainge may be the odd man out.
More Praise for Ratliff
The “other Brett,” quarterback Brett Ratliff continues impress during practice. Under pressure from defenders during today’s practice, Ratliff fired a bullet threw the seams and into tight end Jason Pociask’s hands for a 15-yard completion. Ratliff’s strong play during training camp continued over to Thursday’s preseason game as he completed 14 of 20 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns. Mangini has been pleased with Ratliff’s ability to read defenses at the line.
“The play that he hit to Chansi [against Cleveland] for twenty-plus yards, that was a called run and they showed an eight-man box. He made the check at the line of scrimmage, got us into the right play and then was able to make the right read,” Mangini said.
Nugent Concludes Practice
Today’s practice again ended with Mike Nugent kicking field goals. Nugent was 3-for-5. He was good from 46, 51 and 56 yards and no good from 46 and 62 yards.
After sitting out yesterday’s practice for unspecified reasons, both tight end Bubba Franks and cornerback Justin Miller returned to action this morning. Both players looked smooth in drills and lined up among the starters.
Defensive end Shaun Ellis (hand) missed his third consecutive practice. He was replaced in the starting lineup by defnsive end Mike DeVito. Ellis continues to nurse an undisclosed hand injury.
Wide receiver Marcus Henry (leg) missed practice and spent most of the session running windsprints along the sidelines.
Running back Jesse Chatman was suited in a red, non-contact jersey throughout practice. Chatman, who has been battling multiple injuries, received limited reps today. However, Chatman has impressed the Jets’ head coach when on the field.
“He was doing some really positive things,” Mangini said. “I like his change of direction. He’s a nifty guy. He was carving out a role on special teams which is good.”
Cornerback Dwight Lowery (undisclosed injury) left the practice field today after trying to battle through the session with a “pre-existing” injury.
“He started out there, he was working through something and then it just didn’t go. We were going to go ahead and try to get through the practice and see where it was, but he did start out there,” Mangini said. “It was pre-existing and it was one of those things where you’re really on the border of trying to fight through it. At that point, we just made the decision to not take a chance.”
Linebacker Jason Trusnik (undisclosed injury) remains on the PUP List and did not practice.
The team returns to the practice field at 5:30PM. Be sure to check back later for a complete report!
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