CORTLAND, NY – And on the third day he returned. After sitting out the first two practices, DT Kris Jenkins returned to the field complete with pads and a helmet looking to ease his way back into playing shape. Looking much slimmer Jenkins played only in small doses today, but in those short spurts he reminded everyone what a physically dominating force he can be.
When asked about how his knees felt after his first practice Jenkins said, “They felt good, they felt good. I’m not settled in yet, this is my first practice back and there’s still some rust on my joints, on everything, but I’ll get it off and I’ll be back to playing shape in no time.”
Hearing this is of course great news for Jets fans, but what should really excite them is how impressed Ryan was with what he saw out of Jenkins today. Ryan said, “Today I was really impressed. Because you know there’s that thing you can be in shape, you can have all that stuff, but let’s face it, he hasn’t had the pads on now for a long time and he went out there getting the double teams and all that stuff, he split a couple of double teams.”
Ryan went on to say, “It was fun just to watch him play, he’s moving great, he looks terrific and again his weights down, but I was like wow! I thought he would be a little more tentative and just the opposite, he went in there just like he was riding a bike.”
Both Jenkins and Ryan have talked about being careful to walk that fine line of getting Jenkins ready for the season and not trying to push him too far. When asked to elaborate on this Jenkins said, “It’s like this, when you play a position like mine when your on the line, your pounding all the time. It’s a lot of wear and tear things like that. If you have bad habits, especially when you get older, those habits will catch up and it will run you out the league, literally. As you get older you got you have to learn how to be smart and take care of yourself and do things the right way to prolong your career.”
Jenkins won’t be the only Jets player practicing for the first time this training camp today. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes reported for camp this morning and he will be participating in the afternoon practice today and Sanchez couldn’t be more excited about it. “It’s going to be huge. To get another speed guy, stretching the field. Somebody they have to respect, underneath routes, down the field routes, he can do it all and he has had a great attitude about joining the team just like everyone we acquired this offseason. So it’s going to be fun to have him back.”
Shaun Ellis sat out practice today, reportedly just getting the day off to rest. Ellis said he feels fine, he was told to take the day off and he wasn’t going to argue about it. In the press conference Ryan said that’s something they will continue to do with some of the older veteran players throughout camp.
The practice started out with a smaller crowd than yesterday, but the fans who were here got to see the most intense and entertaining practice of the camp so far. Explosions of pads colliding were generating all types of energy from the crowd and even from the coaches. Very early in the practice you could tell defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was pleased with what he was seeing out of his group. “It’s never too early for some helmet to helmet contact.” Clearly Ryan’s personality and intensity is rubbing off on his other coaches as well.
There were an incalculable amount of bone crunching hits to please the fans, but the stars of this practice were Sanchez and the two man show that has become the daily battle between Braylon Edwards and Antonio Cromartie. This has been the most fascinating one on one competition of camp by far. Sanchez is thrilled to be throwing to Edwards, but he can’t wait until he isn’t throwing against Cromartie during the season.
When asked about Cromartie and his performance today, “The first one was just a bad ball by me, another one in the end zone I thought was a for sure touchdown, but he used those long arms to reach around and swat it away. He’s a heck of a player.”
Sanchez then went on to talk about Edwards and said, “He’s such a different player this year. Really working hard, having to lose some weight come out here do some running for conditioning and then to come out and make a play like that, that says a lot about how he is coming along.”
Sanchez, Edwards and Ryan have all talked about how much more comfortable Edwards is this year, now that not only does he know his role in the entire playbook, but he knows everyone’s role, so he knows what’s going on around him at all times and he understands what types of adjustments and breaks he can make. Today he continued to impress making another leaping one handed catch while showing outstanding body control to stay inbounds during a two-minute drill.
Sanchez continues to improve more and more each day. He is clearly much more comfortable and confident than he was at any point last year and he is rifling the ball right to his target more often than not. During 7-7 drills, Sanchez was 4-6, with three touchdowns, one of the incompletions was a smart throwaway ball when he realized he had nowhere to go and it would be better to settle for the field goal. Something like that would of never happened last year, not even in practice.
This year it seems Sanchez doesn’t feel the need to prove himself as much as last year. The team knows and accepts him as a leader of this team and he is growing more confident with each day, just as the team’s confidence in him continues to grow.
When asked about his new found patience Sanchez said, “That decision making is happening quicker, sometimes defensive schemes trump all your reads. They cancel out everything because everyone just gets back and when you have a guy like L.T. or Shonn Greene, underneath just sitting there waiting, sometimes you don’t have to wait through the entire read, sometimes you just get it to them right away.”
Today makes day four of the Revis holdout and it looks like it will continue even longer. The Jets will have their second practice of the day this afternoon and they hope to pick up right where they left off. Sanchez called the morning practice a tie between the offense and defense and he is determined to get the victory in the afternoon practice.
Make sure to continue to follow JetsInsider.com for more updates from training camp.
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