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Thread: Article: Talent of rookie end Keller excites Jets at camp

  1. #1
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    Post Article: Talent of rookie end Keller excites Jets at camp

    http://www.newsday.com/sports/footba...,5486799.story

    Talent of rookie end Keller excites Jets at camp

    BY ERIK BOLAND | erik.boland@newsday.com
    August 4, 2008
    Dustin Keller wasn't trying to sound cocky.

    Far from it, and besides, the Jets rookie was simply responding to the particular phrasing of a question. The question was this: Can anyone on this team cover you? In camp to this point, no one really has.

    "Well, of course my mentality going into every single practice, whoever I'm going against, I feel as if nobody can guard me," Keller said after Saturday's Green and White Practice at Hofstra in which he caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Clemens. "If you don't have that mentality, you're already setting yourself up for failure."

    Keller's first training camp has been anything but a failure. The Jets traded back into the first round in April's draft to grab the tight end from Purdue, a move that brought them criticism. But during the first week and a half of training camp, Keller has shown signs of why some compared him to another "hybrid" tight end, the Colts' Dallas Clark, in April.




    He has lined up at multiple receiver positions so far, with the only constant being that he is frequently open. Just as critical, there have been few dropped balls. "I've just been seeing him make plays, that's all I've been seeing," receiver Jerricho Cotchery said Saturday. "He's been everywhere."

    Cotchery's 27-yard touchdown reception from Chad Pennington accounted for the Green team's touchdown in its 10-7 victory over the White on Saturday. Cotchery had a perfect sideline view of Keller breaking open in the seam in the fourth quarter, with Clemens delivering a strike that pulled the White to 10-7.

    "I saw that last pass coming and I was like, 'No, no no,' because he [Keller] was flying," Cotchery said. "He was rolling down the middle of the field. But he's doing a great job, man. He's got everyone excited."

    Keller finished Saturday with four catches for 79 yards.

    "I think that the play that he scored on is a really good look on how a tight end can affect the defense," coach Eric Mangini said. "Deep down the middle of the field, he gets over the top, catches it, you miss one tackle and you go the distance."

    It left Clemens, who is in a tight contest with Pennington for the starting quarterback job, impressed.

    "It's just a credit to how talented he is," Clemens said. "He went one-on-one with a safety [Abram Elam]. For us, that's a pretty good matchup when you've got Dustin Keller running down the middle of the field. I just threw that to an area and let him go get it."

    Keller limped off the field toward the end of Saturday's practice, coming to the sideline after not quite being able to catch up with Clemens' deep ball down the middle in the final seconds. He was seen after the practice with his left ankle wrapped but appears to be all right, signing autographs for fans for about 20 minutes and then talking to the media.

    "I'm fine," he said.

    On the field, few would dispute that.

    Notes & quotes: Linebacker David Harris (thigh), wide receiver Laveranues Coles (thigh), and running back Jesse Chatman (undisclosed) sat out Saturday. On Friday, Mangini said of Harris and Coles, "It shouldn't be that prolonged." ... From the end zone, Ben Graham uncorked an 86-yard punt Saturday ... Mike Nugent, kicking for both teams, hit a 45-yard field goal in the third quarter to put the Green team ahead 10-0, then missed a 48-yarder in the fourth quarter that would have given the Green a 13-7 lead ... After being off yesterday, the Jets practice twice today at 8:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. Both workouts are open to the public.

  2. #2
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    Now, if only he could do this in a game "From the end zone, Ben Graham uncorked an 86-yard punt Saturday"

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