By Andrew Scharff
Jets Senior Writer
November 7th, 2008

Jets K Jay Feely is trying the best he can to teach P Reggie Hodges how to play dominos.

“I’m schooling him in dominos and trying to teach him how to play,” said Feely. “He’s coming along okay.”

A couple of things Feely does not have to teach Hodges to is punt and hold. Hodges, who was signed by the Jets two weeks into the season, has quickly found a home in New York as the punter and holder for Gang Green. Jets head coach Eric Mangini has been impressed very much by Hodges because of his ability to let go of high, long and unreturnable punts. Mangini also liked the way he has held for Feely, especially on the last field goal attempt in Buffalo.

“Obviously we started with a little hiccup there with the injury, but he really had an impressive workout. He did a nice job with his hangtime and his distance gets a little bit better every week. He really has the potential to get some long ones off because he has the combination of hangtime and distance,” said Mangini. “Also his role as a holder has been very good. He’s had a couple of snaps that were hard to handle and he’s done a nice job of putting those down and put Jay [Feely] in a position to be successful with the field goals.”

Hodges, who played his college football at Ball State, will get a chance to play the team that originally drafted him in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. While Hodges, who has also spent time with Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Seattle and New England, won’t be out for revenge, he’ll just want to continue doing what he has been doing.

“I want to keep getting more hangtime on my punts, so I can give my guys an opportunity to get down their. That’s my main goal going in,” said Hodges. “I going to be doing what I have been doing. I am going to try to hang the ball and be consistent. Being consistent is really the name of the game.”

So far this season Hodges has attempted 13 punts for average of 41.6 yards per punt and six of his punts have been downed inside the opponents 20-yard line.

“He has the ability to punt for a long time. This has been a great opportunity for him and he has been doing a good job so far. He did a great job of holding, especially in Buffalo on the last snap that was high,” said Feely, who stays at the same hotel as Hodges. “He is a good guy and he is fun to be around.”

Insider Tidbits

Trap Game

Sunday’s matchup against the Rams was not a game that was circled on many of the players’ schedules. Gang Green does not have a fierce rivalry with the Rams from the NFC West. But with a 4-1 record in their past five games, Sunday is day where the Jets can ill afford to lose to the 2-6 Rams.

A win on Sunday would put the Jets in good position for a run at the AFC East title, despite their next two games being against two of the best teams in the AFC. After Sunday the Jets will turn things around quickly as they will play the Patriots (5-3) next Thursday at Foxborough and then they visit the undefeated Titans the week after. With that said, Sunday afternoon’s game against the less than stellar Rams is a game the Jets must win. But Jets players voiced all week the importance of not looking past the Rams.

“We’re not looking past any team. The St. Louis Rams have some great players on their team and they’re capable of winning football games. They won against Washington, who everyone expected to win. We don’t take anyone for granted,” said Jets running back Thomas Jones. “We’re taking it one week at a time, one game at a time. We’re definitely not looking past the Rams.”

Wright is Special

In his third season with the Jets WR Wallace Wright has found a niche with the Jets. And that niche is on special teams. Wright, who leads the AFC in special teams tackles, earns roster spot every week because of what he does on special teams.

“He has really defined great role for himself in that area,” said Mangini. “The positive thing about that, and very similar to the Jerricho Cotchery situation, it gets him to the game every single week and that allows him to play the game and keep developing as a receiver.”

“It’s so important [to have a statistic like that],” added Mangini. “Mike Westhoff spoke to the special teams group the other morning and told them ‘If you want to go to the game each week you have to take care of your special teams responsibilities and you have to an outstanding effort on special teams and that always guarantees you’ll go to the game.”

Armed Forces Day at the AHJTC

The Jets invited 50 members of the Armed Forces to come by visit their new training facility and watch practice. Many of Armed Forces that attended were big fans of Jets QB Brett Favre. As soon as Favre practiced on the Jets main practice field, many flocked to see him work with his wide receivers.

“Obviously we can’t thank the members of the military enough for the sacrifices they make and their families make to keep us free and protect our country,” said Mangini. It is a really small token [of appreciation], but a really important token as well.”

Also this Sunday the Jets will hold their Annual Food Drive to benefit the Interfaith Nutrition Network. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations that will be collected at all gates upon entering the stadium.

Practice Notes

During the half hour of practice that was open to the media the Jets primarily worked on special teams. P Reggie Hodges looked very good as he let off a lot of high kicks. Don’t be surprised if Jets run a fake punt during Sunday's game, as they worked on few fakes during practice that ended up with WR Brad Smith throwing the ball… Kicking wise it looks like Jay Feely will be the Jets place-kicker on Sunday. K Mike Nugent did do some kicking on the side field, but he did not participate in the Jets 11-on-11 drills…LB David Harris (groin) and S Eric Smith (head) were not seen on the field, while TE Bubba Franks (Hip) spent his practice riding the stationary bike. All three players will probably not play on Sunday.

Injury Report As of 11/7/08 3:30 p.m.

New York Jets

Did Not Participate in Practice

TE Bubba Franks (Hip), LB David Harris (Groin), S Eric Smith (Head)

Limited Participation in Practice

WR Laveranues Coles (Thigh), WR Jerricho Cotchery (Shoulder), K Mike Nugent (Right Thigh), LB Cody Spencer (Shoulder)

Full Participation in Practice

TE Chris Baker (Hip)

St. Louis Rams

Did Not Participate in Practice

LB Chris Draft (Foot), CB Tye Hill (Knee), RB Steven Jackson (Thigh), RB Travis Minor (Concussion), DB Eric Moore (Spine), RB Antonio Pittman (Hamstring)

Limited Participation in Practice

DT Adam Carriker (Ankle)

Full Participation in Practice

S Oshiomogho Atogwe (Thigh), S Todd Johnson (Kidney), DE Leonard Little (Hamstring), WR Derek Stanley (Ankle)