TRAINING CAMP 2009: The Heat Is On!
By Matthew Waters
Jets Staff Writer
August 3rd, 2009
Do you want to mess with this guy? DB James Ihedigbo isn't afraid of RB Thomas Jones. ( Photo)
Do you want to mess with this guy? DB James Ihedigbo isn't afraid of RB Thomas Jones. ( Photo)
With Rex Ryan leading the charge, the Jets’ initial training camp in Cortland, has, to this point, been an exercise drenched in positive vibes, featuring spry practices in driving rain and players complimenting the new coach and each other with equal fervor. But with jobs on the line and dreams hanging in the balance, the violent undercurrents pulsating under every assembled camp in this league were bound to affect Rex Ryan’s jolly troupe of merry men. And so the inevitable occurred today, with a rather spirited duel between RB Thomas Jones and DB James Ihedigbo garnering the most attention of three scrums (FB Brock Christoper vs. DT Howard Green and T Nevis McCaskill vs. DB Ahmad Carroll).

In terms of the National Football League, this is perfectly functional behavior, probably expected, and perhaps, in more sinister-minded camps, subtly encouraged. After all, if teammates are ready to rip each other’s heads off, what chance does the opposition have?

That’s probably the theory, anyway. Jets quarterback hopeful Mark Sanchez summed it up. “Practice got heated as you saw,” he said. “Guys getting into it a little bit. That’s good though. That’s the kind of intensity Coach Ryan wants. That’s the way we want to play.” Slightly restrained regression… well, that is the story of American football, isn’t it? “It was a little rock-‘em-sock-‘em robots out there,” said head coach Rex Ryan. And yes, “It always happens in camp.”

When observing from the sidelines one has to think if the scuffles are for real. Ihedigbo says you better believe it is.

“It’s 100% real,” said the DB. “It’s football. We are out here getting better. We’re out here playing hard. We are out here pushing each other to get better. With that, it’s 100% real. There’s no faking that. We are all out here for one common goal, and that’s to win. We all want to achieve that goal.”

No hard feelings though, all is forgotten after the session.

“We (he and Jones) are going to enjoy each others’ company off the field and on the field,” said Ihedigbo. “Tempers may flare, but that’s a part of playing football.


QB Duel: Who’s Ahead?

In the battle between Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemens for the starting Quarterback job, the edge at this point must be given to the incumbent, who has shown flashes of being able to totally command the offense. This fact is no surprise, being that Clemens has worked within the system since his rookie season. Clemens’ downfall during camp has been his inability to sustain momentum, scuttling otherwise impressive sessions with a propensity to turn the ball over. The theme returned again today, but to pin the setback entirely on Clemens would be harsh. Clemens was operating the offense perfectly, dashing it down field during the 11 on 11 drill. He had driven inside the ten, before one of his passes was batted at the line by Bart Scott, into the hands of Darrele Revis. Drive over.

“How bout that,” said Clemens about the pick. “Talk about bad luck. As far as myself, really, in this offense you have your starting point and we have just continued to progress and get a little bit better each day. That’s all you can look for. Obviously, the last drive for us, offensively, I think we showed our potential and what we’re able to do against this defense.”

If Clemens can curtail his lapses and avoid bad breaks, he may easily win the job. Because…

Mark Sanchez is still not getting many reps with the first team. His impatience is diplomatic, though growing apparent. “That means the world to me,” Sanchez said, regarding his reps yesterday with the first team. “You want it to happen as much as possible. I’m right in Schotty’s hip pocket and right next to Kellen (Clemens) as he’s calling the plays in the huddle and getting as close to taking those first team reps as possible. As soon as they come my way, that’s when you really need to make a move in this whole thing.”

Training Camp has only just begun, but one wonders, if the Jets intend for Clemens to start the season as the quarterback. Many assumed Rex Ryan would go with Sanchez, considering his experience with the Baltimore Ravens last season, a team that won with a rookie. But perhaps the Jets see more value in starting Clemens, then possibly trading him after the season. Stay tuned.

TE out, TE in.

Some light housekeeping as the Jets swapped TE's by cutting TE Richard Owens and claiming rookie TE Kevin Brock off waivers from Carolina. Owens had been nursing a leg injury and Brock is a rookie from Rutgers who had previously been signed by the Panthers. He had 26 catches and 2 TD's for the Scarlet Knights last year. The Jets are still incredibly thin at this position with only Dustin Keller having any game experience on the roster.

Perhaps the team can coax Johnny Mitchell to make another comeback try.

Madden Retired? Only in body...his game lives forever.

The month of August might mean many different things, but for gaming fans everywhere, it signals the release of a new John Madden football title. The hugely popular series was launched in a less technologically advanced era, featuring low-bit sprites chugging up the field before inelegantly slamming into another pixelated blob. Bring on the ambulance. [“We got a man down.”]

These days, the game’s graphics are shockingly lifelike, tackling animations varying by the thousands. So, how do the Jets fare on this 3D battlefield? Well, even after being learning that the ratings have been readjusted this year, making the presence of a truly elite Franchise player far more rare, this reporter must single out two judgments that just don’t jive with reality whatsoever. Cotchery an 81 overall? David Harris a 74? For shame, EA. Good thing they didn’t monopolize the field or anything, or I might not have an alternative to check out. Wait, what?

OVER 160 EXCLUSIVE CORTLAND TRAINING CAMP PHOTOS! **New Photos Being Added Daily** For the largest gallery of exclusive Jets training camp photos on the internet: CLICK HERE