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TRAINING CAMP 2009: D'Brick Talks D'Smack

By Matthew Waters
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 5th, 2009
Rex Ryan is rubbing off on his players as the usual quiet D'Brickashaw Ferguson has been very vocal the first week of camp. (JetsInsider.com Photo)
Rex Ryan is rubbing off on his players as the usual quiet D'Brickashaw Ferguson has been very vocal the first week of camp. (JetsInsider.com Photo)
According to advanced statistical metrics measuring the performance of offensive lineman, [created by “the football scientist” K.C. Joyner] D’Brickashaw Ferguson enjoyed a solid 2008 season. In a column penned this past June, Joyner analyzed which New York franchise boasted a superior group upfront.

Right from jump, Joyner concluded that the Jets held the edge at left-guard, where Ferguson rated higher than the Giant’s David Diehl. According to Joyner’s research, Ferguson succeeded at opening creases from his point of attack on 85 percent of running plays, while allowing three sacks when Favre dropped back.

In a meeting today with reporters, Ferguson shared his hopes for this coming season.

“Everybody has to set goals, team goals as well as personal goals and my goal is to make the Pro Bowl this year,” said the former first round pick. “I know we have a real tough schedule but I believe this coaching that we are getting and the conditioning that we’re doing is going to put us in a great position.”

Ferguson also had a personal take on the line that noted analysts like Joyner are so bullish on. “You can see the Pro Bowlers that we have, whether it be Nick Mangold or Alan Faneca. Then the experienced vets Damien Woody and Brandon Moore. When you have that melting pot of talent and experience, you can only expect great things.” With the quarterback situation uncertain and the team leaning heavily on a deep rushing attack, greatness may be a necessity.

CAMP CORTLAND TIDBITS

No Secondary Concern

As the Jets sputtered to the finish line in ’08, a struggling secondary seemed exposed on every conceivable level, a depthless unit enacting a flawed philosophy conceived by a now departed head-coach and defensive coordinator. A total overhaul was inevitable, and, for the players who remain, entirely welcome. The arrival of safety Jim Leonhard from the Baltimore Ravens represents an organizational success on two pivotal fronts: a young, talented player imported direct from a system his new team will attempt copying.

Leonhard, an overlooked signing by the Ravens prior to ’08, became a valued commodity after successfully supplanting injured starter Dawan Landry in week two. Obviously a favorite of Rex Ryan, Leonhard is a deceptively impressive athlete with an intuitive feel for the game. He is being counted on to build on his breakout. When questioned about his size by reporters today, Leonhard revealed a combative attitude. “I think I’ve always had that underdog mentality,” he said. “It’s just going out there every day knowing you have something to prove. There’s always going to be someone whether it’s a coach, a player or a fan that’s going to doubt what you do and you just have to take that mentality. It’s that training camp mentality.”

As for the secondary, an area in which the Jets brass are banking on a big improvement, Leonhard was guarded, but definitely optimistic. “Talent wise, we are right up there. When you look at guys like Darrelle Revis and Lito Sheppard who have both been to Pro Bowls, Kerry Rhodes has been close. Bring in a guy like Donald Strickland to play the nickel and there are a number of other guys as well on the second units right now… It’s going to be tough for offenses to throw the ball and you air back to if we get a pass rush up front and stop the run with those big boys up front, we can be a dangerous defense.”

Daily dose of Ryan

- The big story out of camp today were a rash of injuries. “We had (some) injuries today,” Ryan conceded in his daily presser. “Big Shaun (Ellis) went out (with) a little back thing. I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a deal with Shaun Ellis. (Donald) Strickland got kicked in the knee by David Clowney,” said Ryan, before adding to laughs, “I don’t think that he is holding him personally responsible for it.”

-Ryan was pressed as to why Erik Ainge has not been considered a factor in the quarterback competition. “I think that (Erik) Ainge is doing pretty decent,” he responded. “He’s running with the threes and he knows the offense. But again, it’s just something that we’ve determined. It’s hard to give three guys a chance. Let’s just go ahead and let those two battle it out for that spot and let Erik battle it out for the third spot. I’m not going to say that it can’t change.”

-The Head Coach also provided a daily update to the aforementioned contest that has thus far excluded Ainge. “I think it’s a good competition,” Ryan said. “We’ll start seeing a little more when we start scrimmaging more and start having live drills like we had at the end of the day. In the end, with the preseason games, we’ll have a good feel of who is our guy. Obviously you want to make that decision as fast as you can so that he gets all of the work with the first group. But, we’re not there yet. I’m not ready for that. I think ideally you would like to have a pretty good idea going into the third preseason game about who your guy is.”

-The secondary was also a topic, and Dwight Lowery continues earning rave reviews. “This is a strong group. When you have (Dwight) Lowery, who had an outstanding day today, and you end up getting (production) from top-to-bottom. (Donald) Strickland, what he’s been able to add. When you look at our safety depth, our four safeties, besides Leonhard, besides Kerry Rhodes, you have Eric Smith and you have Dig (James Ihedigbo). That’s a great group right there and our corners are loaded as well.”

Jets add a wideout

The Jets claimed Aundrae Allison off waivers from the Minnesota Vikings today. Allison was a fifth round pick in 2007. His statistical profile at East Carolina is most impressive. He departed the school third all time in receiving yards and second in receptions, going on to have a very limited impact with Minnesota. In a corresponding maneuver, the Jets released wide-out Mario Urrutia, who spent last season on the practice squad.

Team readies for Green and White Scrimmage

The team will conduct it's annual Green and White scrimmage tomorrow at 6PM (moved from 7PM) on the grass field behind the stadium. It's expected to be very active with full pads and hitting. This will be the only open session to the public tomorrow.

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