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Thread: Chad's in Camp Already!!

  1. #1
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    By RICH CIMINI
    DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

    Chad Pennington enters his first full season as the Jets starter.


    Pennington gets ball knocked away during last season's playoff loss to Oakland.

    Chad Pennington should be on a golf course, enjoying the last few days of his offseason, not inside the Jets' practice bubble at Hofstra. But here he is six days before training camp, eschewing his 5-iron to iron out his five-step drop.
    Alone in the bubble, he sweats through a drill in which every step is choreographed. He fades back in the pocket, honing his footwork, then steps up to avoid imaginary defenders. He's toting a three-pound football, about three times heavier than a regulation model. The overweight ball forces him to clutch it with both hands, a basic ball-protection exercise.

    During 347 hours of watching film in the offseason - purely an estimate, based on his maniacal study habits - Pennington noticed a tendency to take one hand off the ball. A no-no.

    Does the quarterback with a 104.2 pass rating have a subtle flaw in his game? Did he have an unnoticed tendency to fumble?

    A closer look: In 915 plays, counting the two playoff games, Pennington lost only two fumbles. No starting quarterback in the AFC protected the ball better than that.

    Some flaw.

    "But you never know when it's going to happen. It happened in Oakland," he says after the workout, referring to a fumble in his four-turnover meltdown in the AFC Divisional Playoff loss.

    It happened in Oakland.

    Those words provide a glimpse into the mind of a measured man, who begins his first full season as the starter today when training camp opens. Six months later, Pennington still has Oakland on the brain. And in his stomach. "It burns in my gut still today," he says. This, he believes, is a good thing. It's extra fuel for his motivational furnace, which rages with the desire to prove his extraordinary performance last season wasn't a fluke.

    "What he wants to do is solidify himself on not being a one-year guy," coach Herman Edwards says. "Now, do I think he's a one-year guy? Heavens no, but I know he wants to quiet the talk."

    That explains Pennington's end-of-vacation workout in the practice bubble. How fitting that he opted for the overweight ball. Everything will seem heavier this season, especially the weight on his shoulders.

    This, he freely admits, isn't going to be easy.

    Starting is a snap

    With a 22-to-6 touchdown/interception ratio, a 69% completion mark and a 104.2 rating (fifth-best in the last 10 years), Pennington produced one of the best seasons for a quarterback in NFL history.

    Chiefs coach thingy Vermeil says it was comparable to Kurt Warner's masterpiece in 1999, when he posted a 109.2 rating and led the Vermeil-coached Rams to a Super Bowl title.

    Packers offensive line coach Larry Beightol, who watched Pennington throw four touchdown passes to beat his team in the season finale, says, "He's a phenom. I'm shocked by him, literally shocked. His decision-making is awesome."

    To Jets running back Curtis Martin, Pennington's 2002 performance was "as close to a flawless season for a first-year quarterback as I've even seen."

    It was akin to a new recording artist releasing "Born to Run" on his first CD, creating a standard almost impossible to match. Ah, but this is New York and Pennington knows, fair or not, he will be expected to deliver an encore.

    "This year is going to be one of the hardest years I've ever gone through as an athlete and as a person," he says, sitting in a darkened film room. "The challenge is even greater. The surprise element is gone. I'm not new anymore. People have film of our offense with me at quarterback.

    "It's a tall hill to climb, but I welcome it and I suspect we'll succeed."

    Those close to Pennington, including Edwards and offensive coordinator Paul Hackett, all but admit it's unrealistic to expect another 22/6/104.2 season. Pennington dismisses the statistics as "fantasy-league numbers," claiming the only number he cares about is 38, as in reaching Super Bowl XXXVIII, completing the dream that died last Jan. 12 in the Jet cemetary known as the Black Hole.

    "If we win that game," says Pennington, "I think we would've gone to the Super Bowl. I felt we had the type of team that could've gone all the way. It definitely gives me more motivation to get past that point."

    In a sense, Pennington is facing the same challenge that confronted Tom Brady. In 2001, Brady led the Patriots to the Super Bowl as a first-year starter, then returned last season only to be dogged with the question, "Are you a one-year wonder?" He admits it got under his skin.

  2. #2
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    God Bless you Chad! We WILL beat the Raiders this year........

  3. #3
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    I like this guy more and more each day.

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    I haven't seen a QB work this hard in the offseason in a while. Chad is determined to avoid the so called "sophomore slump" and continues to work hard to improve on an already outstanding young career. This is the man we want leading our team and I truly feel this man will take us to a Super Bowl. The Oakland loss continues to stay in the back of his head, probably causing to lose sleep from time to time. A man of Chad's work ethic will make sure that doesn't happen again.

  5. #5
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    #1 rated Quarterback in the NFL and for good reason.

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    This is the most excited I have been for a season in my lifetime, with the possible exception of the '99 season, I really believe that barring major injuries we can really make a difference this year, can't wait

  7. #7
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    what about the knock on his arm stength has he been working on getting it improved so he can get the deep ball to CONWAY or SIDELINE SANTANA.

  8. #8
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    Here's another Chad article for you: (New York Times)

    A Year Later, Pennington Becomes a Happy Camper
    By JUDY BATTISTA

    Jets quarterback Chad Pennington was in California last week to film a commercial for a sneaker company, then he flew back home in time for a magazine photo shoot, the talismans of a rising N.F.L. star piling up like so many completions.

    Just one year after he caused a stir by saying it was possible that he could unseat Vinny Testaverde in training camp, Pennington will report today for the Jets' 2003 training camp in Hempstead, N.Y., as the undisputed leader in the huddle.

    After an off-season that began with so much turmoil the Jets lost four players in free agency to the Washington Redskins alone training camp is set to begin with little controversy.

    The Jets addressed one area of concern last night, agreeing to terms with their first-round draft pick, Dewayne Robertson. Robertson, who starred at Kentucky, was the fourth overall pick and was penciled in as a future starter at defensive tackle. The Jets signed the veteran Chester McGlockton last week to provide depth on the defensive line, although he will spend the first few weeks of camp just trying to lose weight.

    But even the questions on the defensive line seem overshadowed by anticipation of what an experienced Pennington can do. After a miserable 1-4 start last season, Pennington carried the Jets to a division title and a playoff victory.

    If the loss of his favorite receiver, Laveranues Coles, is perceived as a setback to his development, Pennington has already sloughed it off. He approaches this training camp with a stronger relationship with his receiving corps, an increased assurance with the deep pass, which has given him trouble in the past, and confidence born of intense practices with his receivers in the off-season.

    "Physically and mentally, the preparation is not different," Pennington said. "The goal and the challenge is to totally understand the offense. The last three years, the challenge didn't have a time set. This year, I feel much more comfortable. I know I have to lead this organization. I think we have a unique team this year.

    "Something special is being built. We don't have any prima donnas. Throughout the spring, from the highest-paid veterans to the rookies, everyone was working just as hard. There was a feeling there that we're in this together."

    That was a feeling that was largely absent during the 2002 training camp because of the remarkable personnel turnover the Jets had undergone. And the poor start was, in part, a result of a lack of practice time together, exacerbated by injuries and an easy training camp regimen.

    Some Jets said the schedule, featuring six days off and six days of one-a-day practices, was the easiest they had ever seen. When the rebuilt defense, which had six new starters, took the field, players did not know what to do, resulting in blown assignments and missed tackles.

    Unfamiliarity should not be a problem this season. With the suspension of defensive tackle Josh Evans, there will be just two new starters on the defense, and one of those free safety Jon McGraw had extensive playing time last season.

    On offense, the Jets have replaced Coles with the veteran Curtis Conway and also lost guard Randy Thomas and fullback Richie Anderson. Pennington worked extensively to develop the kind of rhythm with Conway, Wayne Chrebet and Santana Moss that he had with Coles.

    If there is a unit to be concerned about, it is special teams, where the Jets will have a new kickoff returner (replacing Chad Morton), a new kicker (replacing John Hall) and a new punter (replacing Matt Turk).

    "The big thing will be chemistry," General Manager Terry Bradway said. "And with special teams, there's going to be a lot of new faces."

    Coach Herman Edwards is determined to get the veterans more practice and playing time together, forcing chemistry as if he were a scientist madly pouring liquids into test tubes. It was one of the first things he mentioned after the Jets were eliminated from the playoffs in January.

    The Jets have an extra week of training camp but they will also face the fatigue and jet lag of a trip to Japan before their first preseason game against Tampa Bay in Tokyo on Aug. 2.

    Starting tomorrow, the Jets will have six days of two-a-day practices before getting next Sunday off. And those practices will be much more detail-oriented there is a six-minute segment that stresses fundamentals, like tackling, and another that stresses red-zone offense an effort by Edwards to stop what he believes bedeviled the Jets last season much more than a lack of training camp practices: turnovers. They helped undo the offense and Testaverde's tenure as the starter in the first quarter of the season.

    Finding a flow on offense will quickly be a point of emphasis in training camp, and the Jets hope to spread the ball around more than they did last year to compensate for the departure of Coles. They will use two-tight-end sets, try to rotate receivers more effectively, and use running backs Curtis Martin and LaMont Jordan in the backfield at the same time.

    "Chad has a command of what we're doing now," Edwards said. "That helps you. You don't want to get off to 1-4. It's too hard to recover. But there's a lot of things that factor in it you can't use training camp as an excuse."

  9. #9
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    Some very good points in that Battista piece. None new, but they give us the consensus, a year later, of what DID go wrong last summer, and what has to be 'fixed' this year.

    And the poor start was, in part, a result of a lack of practice time together, exacerbated by injuries and an easy training camp regimen.

    Some Jets said the schedule, featuring six days off and six days of one-a-day practices, was the easiest they had ever seen. When the rebuilt defense, which had six new starters, took the field, players did not know what to do, resulting in blown assignments and missed tackles.
    This was the killer. Six new starters and not enough time to get comfortable. The missed tackles usually stemmed from just not knowing what to do. Unforgivable, really.


    Starting tomorrow, the Jets will have six days of two-a-day practices before getting next Sunday off. And those practices will be much more detail-oriented there is a six-minute segment that stresses fundamentals, like tackling, and another that stresses red-zone offense an effort by Edwards to stop what he believes bedeviled the Jets last season much more than a lack of training camp practices: turnovers. They helped undo the offense and Testaverde's tenure as the starter in the first quarter of the season.
    We had to know Herm was livid about the turnover ratio in 02, after it had been so impressive in 01.

    Finding a flow on offense will quickly be a point of emphasis in training camp, and the Jets hope to spread the ball around more than they did last year to compensate for the departure of Coles. They will use two-tight-end sets, try to rotate receivers more effectively, and use running backs Curtis Martin and LaMont Jordan in the backfield at the same time.
    This has been mentioned too many time for it not to be a key part of the plan.

    It all SOUNDS good, for sure.

  10. #10
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    Chad Pennington is the real deal i have not seen a QB work like he does.And it will pay off by winning the SuperBowl game in his near future.He just knows some much about the game thats just fine by me and the rest of the JETS FANS

  11. #11
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    I want so much for CHAD to be the real deal but he came in around mid season and not a lot of tape or experience from playing division teams .WHEN- he puts up numbers equal to last year (aside from that last gaydor game of course) this year ,then we can really say we`ve arrived back to a championship caliber team...GO CHAD

  12. #12
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    Chad will help the Jets arrive where we all want them to go, The Superbowl baby! It's in the making! B)

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    Ah, the Jet boys, so nice to know off-season and all the turmoil is coming to a close

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