Jets C Nick Mangold will miss some time due to a tweaked knee suffered at today's practice. (JetsInsider.com Photo)
As the Jets continue preparation for their opening game on Friday against the Rams, there were a few gasps in the stands as C Nick Mangold limped off the field with a knee injury on Sunday.
The injury according to head coach Rex Ryan is nothing to worry about. The four year pro tweaked it during a drill and left the field under his own power.
“It’s not a serious thing,” said the Coach. “I don’t know the timetable, he may miss a practice or two, I’m not real sure. There was no ligament damage or anything else. It’s probably more of an inconvenience than anything else. Anytime you deal with a knee though, it’s pretty scary. He should be fine”
Meanwhile at practice today the plot thickens at QB as Mark Sanchez continues showing flashes, which are invariably offset by mistakes that could be easily cured by experience. The inconsistency may be expected, but it remains to be seen whether Head Coach Rex Ryan will allow the young signal caller to overcome his growing pains in games that count.
The franchise currently rests in an interesting position. The defensive core is young, but has been bolstered in the off-season by another influx of prime talent corralled via big bucks. Add Jim Leonhard and Bart Scott into a group including Kris Jenkins, Calvin Pace, along with first round pick Vernon Gholston, and it becomes apparent that Woody Johnson has no qualms spending mountains of cash for the players his coaching staff desires. This, obviously, is one of the reasons Eric Mangini was dismissed after a post-season free 2008.
After a spending spree the previous off-season to bring in the pieces suited perfectly to his rigid scheme, Mangini was fired after the results did not properly reflect the payroll. Rex Ryan’s candor is appreciated, even applauded in some quarters, but his swagger guarantees that the pressure will remain at a boil. People love writing easy stories, and no story is easier than a rookie head-coach falling on his face after talking mucho smack, no matter how nice of a guy he may be.
Time had it that a team breaking in a rookie quarterback would be expected to struggle, a simple rite of passage. But the improbable successes of Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan last season has altered those perceptions. So, even if Sanchez starts, the heat will be on. And one could easily assess these high expectations just by analyzing Rex Ryan’s quotes at today’s presser.
“(Mark Sanchez) made some great throws today, and then he had some that were like, ‘ugh, those were touchdowns’,” said Ryan. ”I know he can throw (the ball) in there. His receivers did a great job getting open. (Mark) just has to put it on them. You might only have one chance in a game. That’s what he has to learn. He has to make it count. If you’re going to turn a guy loose, you have to make them pay for it.”
From those lines, one could identify another intriguing reveal from the talkative Ryan. The Jets are obviously taking a risk in refusing to upgrade a receiver core, that, save for standout Jerricho Cotchery, is either inexperienced or totally unproven. There may be only two or three open windows for game-breaking plays each Sunday, and should Sanchez show that he is not ready to capitalize on those chances at a high success rate, the win-now Jets could curb his development. The plot thickens, indeed…
CAMP CORTLAND TIDBITS
As mentioned in yesterday’s report, RB Danny Woodhead has been impressive so far in training camp, displaying ample tenacity and reliable hands out of the backfield. Yet, with the Jets possessing impressive special teams depth, especially at the kick and punt return positions, Woodhead may face difficulty carving out a niche for himself.
“I don’t know,” Head Coach Rex Ryan said quite honestly, when queried about Woodhead’s role with the team. “He’s trying to find his own role. He’s out there. He works every day. Like I’ve said, he’s got great hands. He’s tough. We’ll see how he does. The lack of size is going to hurt him in pass protection, but he’s hard to cover. It’s do you get him out on routes or do different things? All I know is, he’s as competitive as it gets and he has a chance to make our football team.”
A Big Question
DT Howard Green may not be a brand name among the mainstream sect of Jet fans, but as the potential backup to ultra valuable nose tackle Kris Jenkins, who is currently sidelined by a minor calf injury, the former Raven could play a huge part in the upcoming season. Rex Ryan, for one, holds Green in high regard.
“He’s doing well. (In) that nine-on-seven drill, middle-of-the-road Howard is doing great. He’s a tough dude. He’s big, strong. Again, it’s a signing that went under the radar. We knew what we had. I coached him in Baltimore. I had some time with him there and we knew what we were getting. We were getting a big, huge guy. There aren’t many guys on this planet with his size and ability. If Howard would have come out in the draft, he would have gone in probably the second round and we were able to get him as a free agent. Our scouting department let me know that he was available and we were like “oh, yeah,” and we watched some tape and were like “Heck yeah, let’s bring him in,” because he fits us well.”
Next Man Up
Ryan didn’t seem particularly frightened at the possibility of being without DE Shaun Ellis or LB Calvin Pace for week one.
Pace, we know, is suspended for the first four games due to violating the league’s drug policy and sources have reported that Ellis will be suspended for game one against Houston for a possession of marijuana charge last fall.
“We have Calvin (Pace) out for four games and whether it’s Shaun or someone else, maybe somebody gets an injury, you’ve got to move on," said Ryan today. "They are a big part of who we are, but it’s that decal. If it says New York Jets on the side of your helmet and you’re a defensive player and we’ve got some guys down, we still expect you to play your tail off. What goes unnoticed sometimes is last year in Baltimore. We had more injuries to starters than any defense in the NFL last year. Yet, it’s the unit that carries the mantle. It’s not just the individual.”
CB Darrelle Revis sat out for a second day due to a tender hamstring. It’s not believed to be serious but the coach is not taking any chances of aggravating it and is allowing a few days for it to get right.
The team has two more sessions at Cortland before they travel downstate for a practice at Hofstra Univeristy on Long Island on Wednesday then their first pre-season game against St. Louis on Friday at the Meadowlands.