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Thread: Saturday Mock Game

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003



    The Jets completed a quick special teams practice Saturday morning and will get a few hours of rest before donning the pads for a 4:30 PM practice. You may want to come to the Jets complex a little bit early because there promises to be a large crowd for the afternoon “mock game”, consisting of game situations and scenarios.

    As for the morning workout, New York Coach Herman Edwards got a sparse crowd going when he caught a Dan Stryzinski punt and ran downfield with the ball. Edwards still can move pretty well, but punt returner Santana Moss needn’t worry about his job security. Strryzniski, now entering his 14th season, had a pretty efficient day punting in perfect summer conditions. He had good hang time and distance on a number of kicks.

    The kickers also got some work. Free agent acquisition Doug Brien has kicked well, displaying field goal accuracy while improving his depth on kickoffs. Danny Kight and Clay Rush have big legs, but have been inconsistent. Could the Jets carry two kickers, a field goal specialist and a player to handle kickoff duties?

    “You wouldn’t like to do that,” Coach Edwards said Saturday. “But we will take the best 53 players available.”

    With the departure of kickoff return man Chad Morton, the Jets have a vacancy to return kicks. A.J. Johnson, Chad Brinker, and Ian Smart are the three competitors for the job. Johnson has the best speed of the three and is the only one of the potential suitors who has professional experience. He played four games in Miami last season and was second in the AFC (behind Morton) in kickoff return average (27.5) before suffering a knee injury. Brinker runs hard, but doesn’t run quite as fast as Johnson. Smart, the C.W. Post product, displays great natural running ability.

    With fullback Jerald Sowell coming entering the season as an offensive starter, it will be interesting to see how that will affect his special teams role. Under Westhoff, you can expect the Jets to be one of the league’s top kickoff return teams and coverage units. Kevin Swayne, the Jets fourth receiver, has gotten noticeably tougher and has played well on coverage. Rookie free agent linebacker Mark Brown is a handful and really packs a wallop.

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    The New York Jets lined up for the National Anthem Saturday afternoon. But there was no game to follow. Just an important training camp practice in front of a packed crowd at the Jets training camp complex.

    The mock game consisted of everything that may happen in a real game; from the time players set foot on the field, through the last play.

    “Once you come out of the tunnel and you warm up, it's amazing because different teams do different things,” Edwards said. “I think it kind of looks hodgepodge when all of a sudden you come out in the warm-up and you're a professional football team, and you practice offense, defense, special teams, and you come out in the game with guys not knowing where to go.”

    Edwards reflected on his first game coaching the Jets.

    “I had been an assistant coach for so long, I wanted to make sure I wasn't in anybody's way," Edwards said. "As a head coach, you kind of figure out, I have 25 minutes where I don't know what I'm going to do."

    Both players and coaches went through the pregame routine. In the beginning, RB Curtis Martin, QB Vinny Testaverde, LB Mo Lewis, and FB Jerald Sowell led the team in a pregame stretch. Next, each group went their separate ways for individual position warm-ups, then on to 7-on-7, team, field goal, punt team, and then lined up for the national anthem.

    The stands were full of green and white jerseys, ready to see the team in action. And just like it is at the Meadowlands, chants of J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were emanating from the crowd.

    The team divided up, the offense taking the south sideline and the defense on the north. Ten year veteran kicker Doug Brien kicked off with Albert Johnson returning.

    With the first kick, it seemed evident the wind may play a factor throughout the afternoon. All three quarterbacks needed the first few throws to adjust to the windy conditions.

    At the beginning of the game scenarios, the Jets’ quarterbacks had a strong wind at their backs and had a little difficulty throwing the deep ball. Wayne Chrebet ran all alone down the left side of the field, and Chad Pennington floated a ball in his direction. But Chrebet watched the pigskin fall to the ground a couple yards in front of him. On the next series, Vinny Testaverde led the second team offense and saw a streaking Kevin Swayne down that same sideline. Testaverde’s ball couldn’t find the mark either as rookie safety Derek Pagel breathed a sigh of relief.

    The mock game standouts included quarterback Brooks Bollinger, receiver Curtis Conway, defensive lineman Jason Ferguson, linebacker Jason Glenn, and offensive lineman Dave Szott.

    The 6-0, 205-pound Bollinger looks like a baby-faced kid, but he plays with moxie. Bollinger completed a number of passes, including a 25-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jonathan Carter.

    “Brooks always makes plays,” said a smiling Edwards. “He is just a guy who finds a way. He was having fun out there, and he has a knack for getting it done.”

    Conway, the Jets free agent acquisition from San Diego, is a big target who made a number of nice grabs Saturday.

    “He has the ability to make plays,” Edwards said of the former Chargers number one target. “You saw today that he can jump up and catch some balls.”

    Glenn and Ferguson both made a number of defensive stops during the 90-minute workout. Glenn recorded a sack on Testaverde, and Fergie got both Pennington on a play action fake and a surprised Bollinger. The third-year LB did a nice job preventing Lamont Jordan from getting to the sideline on a rush, and Fergie didn’t bite on an end around, stopping Curtis Conway in his tracks.

    "I learned a lot today," Glenn said. "It was good to get the team together, playing together. The coaches tried to put us in some pressure situations, like the ones we might see in a game. We have to learn from this and get better."

    "I'm happy with what I did today, but I'm never satisfied," he added. "I'm trying to learn all I can, on my own and from guys like Marvin, Mo and Sam. I want to be the best and I'm learning from the best."

    The most rousing ovation of the day came for local hero Ian Smart. The former C.W. Post star exploded to the sideline in front of the new bleachers, and sprinted for daylight down the right side. With every step towards the endzone, the crowd’s pitch grew.

    Szott is trying to make Dewayne Robertson grow up in a hurry. He really has played well against last April’s number four overall selection. Szott bends down in his stance real low and can meet Robertson right off the snap. The experience will be beneficial for both players.

  2. #2
    Jets Insider VIP
    JI Staff Photographer

    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Very nice recap. Except I thought the punting today was alittle shaky, with a couple of shanks.


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