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The day in camp

Monday, August 14, 2006


Star-Ledger Staff



If looking the part means anything, then newly acquired Jamar Martin will be the Jets' Opening Day starting fullback. At 5-11, 244 pounds, he's a human wrecking ball and a prototype for the position.

Martin, a three-year veteran, was claimed off waivers over the weekend from the Saints. The Jets want a blocking fullback on the roster for goal-line and short-yardage situations because current starter, B.J. Askew, is more of a runner than a blocker.

Martin, who sat out last season, realizes he's part of a dying breed in the NFL, but feels if you're good at what you do, there's a place for you.

"I really don't fit in (most offenses)," said Martin. "Most of the fullbacks now are smaller guys who are a lot faster than I am and can also play running back. I'm not built to be a running back. My body is built to be a blocker.

"That's my mold. That's how I try to fit in. I'm somebody who'll slam it up in there and make room for the guys who can run the ball."

Martin, 26, was a fourth-round pick by Dallas in 2002 but missed the season with a knee injury. The following year, he played 14 games with the Cowboys, mainly on special teams, and played with former Jet and current Jets coach Richie Anderson.

In 2004, Martin was released in training camp and signed with Miami. He played nine games with the Dolphins that season but was released in training camp last season. He ended up sitting out the season.

He was signed by the Saints just before the start of training camp this summer but was released when New Orleans had a rash of defensive injuries and had to sign some players.

"I'm just grateful for the opportunity to be in camp," said Martin, who has rushed for 4 yards on two attempts in 23 career games, two starts. "I sat out all last year and any opportunity is a great opportunity. I'm just looking to come in and do whatever is asked of me and do it at 100 percent."


P Ben Graham had a good day. ... CB Andre Dyson had a nifty breakup.


RB Cedric Houston and QB Patrick Ramsey each had a fumble. ... WR Tim Dwight had a drop. ... WR Justin McCareins and QB Patrick Ramsey had a miscommunication on a route in a goal-line drill.


In the wake of gaining just 44 yards on 16 carries Friday against the Bucs, the Jets spent the bulk of yesterday's practice working on their running game -- and they had a new backfield.

Rookie RB Leon Washington and rookie FB Stacey Tutt took most of the reps with the first team. Surprisingly, newly acquired FB Jamar Martin got reps with the second team as starter B.J. Askew was idle most of the practice.

The offensive line also worked on its technique.

"I think that the running game, both offensively and defensively, is going to come down to 11 guys blocking the right people and executing assignments," said coach Eric Mangini. "If you can't execute the core assignments, the core blocking schemes, then that is really the issue."


Mangini acknowledged for the first time that the Jets are looking for help at running back and along the defensive line. ... The Jets waived WR Jovan Witherspoon. ... Mangini praised veteran DE Shaun Ellis for helping the younger defensive linemen on the sideline during Friday's game at Tampa. ... After watching the film, Mangini said four rookies beside QB Kellen Clemens stood out: LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, C Nick Mangold, WR Brad Smith and RB Leon Washington.

QB Brooks Bollinger wasn't upset at not playing Friday. "When the opportunity does come, I just have to make the most of the plays I do get," he said. ... WR Jerricho Cotchery worked with the first-team over Justin McCareins.


S Erik Coleman (appendectomy), CBs David Barrett (leg), Drew Coleman (knee) and Jamie Thompson (knee) and WR Dante Ridgeway (knee) didn't practice.

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Two-Minute Drill

Tom Rock, Chris Gunsel

August 14, 2006

Check your schedule

Jets coach Eric Mangini shook his head so hard, he practically rocked the lectern back and forth with him as he listened to the question.

A reporter asked if his decision to scratch a planned two-a-day yesterday and replace it with a single practice was in any way a reward for the team.

"No," he said. "Today is all about improving."

There's plenty of that to be done at Jets camp, where the memory of a 16-3 loss to the Buccaneers lingers and the prospect of Saturday's second preseason game at Washington looms.

"The whole process is designed to get the guys ready to play and make progress," he said of substituting a video session for the morning workout.

Yesterday was the final double-practice day on the schedule, but Mangini effectively threw that schedule out the window. "All of that is subject to change," he said, "and I am not going to rule out anything."

- Tom Rock

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Mangini Is Scouring the Jets’ Mistakes for Clues


Published: August 14, 2006

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y., Aug. 13 — In Coach Eric Mangini’s mind, the unexamined game isn’t worth playing. That is why, on the morning after the Jets’ 16-3 loss at Tampa Bay, Mangini’s exhaustive analysis left no decision, however minor, unscrutinized.

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Chris Livingston for The New York Times

Chad Pennington took some hard hits in Friday’s preseason loss, but he looked robust in practice on Sunday.

He spent part of Saturday reviewing the team flight to Florida, and the bus rides to the hotel, the stadium and the airport. He critiqued the choice of team accommodations.

“We went element by element to see what can be improved there,” Mangini said Sunday before leading his players through a 2-hour-28-minute practice. “We tried to do an overall self-scout to see what we can do better.”

The false start by center Nick Mangold on the seventh play from scrimmage was not the only rookie mistake that jumped out at the 35-year-old Mangini, the youngest head coach in the N.F.L. After critiquing everything from the running game to team transportation, Mangini was highly critical of one rookie above all others:


Mangini stresses to his players the importance of communication, but it was his own botched exchange of information that created a tempest in the tabloids concerning the state of quarterback Chad Pennington’s twice-repaired throwing shoulder.

Pennington, who was starting his first game in 11 months, had the football knocked out of his hand when his arm was ****ed to throw on what proved to be the final play of his last scheduled drive. It was a play eerily similar to the one last September against the Jacksonville Jaguars that resulted in Pennington’s second torn rotator cuff in less than a year.

He popped up looking no worse for the worrisome hit, and he was all smiles in the locker room afterward as he headed for the showers. But then Pennington disappeared, and in the 45 minutes it took for him to re-emerge for his postgame news conference, speculation about the state of his shoulder filled the sound-bite vacuum.

Mangini pinned the delay on himself, explaining that he invited Pennington into his office to go over his performance while it was still fresh in each man’s mind.

“We were spending a lot of time talking there,” Mangini said, adding: “I wanted to see what his thoughts were and give him my thoughts and talk through that stuff. It was important that we do it at that point.”

It did not occur to him, Mangini said, that others might want to hear Pennington’s thoughts, a failure for which he apologized.

“This was my first go-around too,” Mangini said. He added, “I am learning.”

Pennington ran the first-team offense during practice and looked relaxed and robust. Afterward, when asked if he might restrict his throwing activities as the week went on, he shook his head no and practically shouted, “It’s full-go, baby!”

Pennington came across almost as giddy Sunday, as if by withstanding the hit by Buccaneers safety Kalvin Pearson, he had hurdled the last major obstacle to his return.

With every passing day, Pennington’s comeback from his second surgery, which was perceived by many as a long shot, is looking more and more like a sure thing. Perhaps that is why Pennington, 30, punctuated a few of his comments with laughter when he met with reporters.

Pennington, whose status as a starter had gone unchallenged the three previous seasons, is being made by Mangini to prove himself worthy of retaining his old job. Instead of resenting Mangini, Pennington has responded as if he relishes the challenge.

It probably helps that Pennington, a coach’s son, shares Mangini’s preoccupation with perfection and his passion for football. Last season, Herman Edwards, the coach whom Mangini succeeded, saidd that Pennington has a single-mindedness about football borne of not having any outside interests.

“He’s very detailed,” Pennington said of Mangini. “He’ll bring stuff up from five days ago that you’d forgotten about. Sometimes it’s good to remember those things as a player, and sometimes it’s not.

“He just does a great job of teaching off of mistakes,” he said. “I believe it’s one of his strong points. I’ve learned a lot off of the mistakes I’ve made during camp, and being able to address those things and not repeat those things.”

In Mangini’s mind, mistakes are the building blocks of success. He does not look at a mistake as a failing until it is repeated. To drive home that point, Mangini canceled the morning practice Sunday, the last scheduled day of double practices, and met with the players instead.

Mangini is exacting, but he reserves the right to be flexible. He was not afraid to call the audible on Sunday’s schedule after deciding it was more prudent to correct the players’ mistakes in the classroom before heaping more information on them at practice.

“We had that time in the morning to clean up some of those things and learn from them before we go out and execute them,” Mangini said.

In Mangini’s mind, if you are not self-scouting, you are not serious about getting better.


The Jets waived receiver Jovan Witherspoon, who spent last year on the Jets’ practice squad, and claimed fullback Jamar Martin off waivers from the New Orleans Saints.

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There's a lot of movement on the defensive line. Nose tackle Dewayne Robertson and right end Kimo von Oelhoffen, who flip-flopped for several plays in the first game, did it again in practice. Robertson said he's "still getting adjusted" to nose tackle, a position von Oelhoffen played with the Bengals and Steelers.

Eric Mangini said Robertson's move isn't an indication he's struggling. "Dewayne played two or three different spots along the line; that's what I was looking for," Mangini said yesterday. "We're looking for that flexibility to move guys around."


SECONDARY STATUS: The starting secondary remained a patchwork unit. CB David Barrett (groin) and SS Erik Coleman (appendectomy) remained on the sideline. Neither has practiced since the first week of camp. Yesterday, they were replaced by Andre Dyson and rookie Eric Smith, respectively. Coleman is expected to miss at least another week. Barrett is day-to-day. Both are in jeopardy of losing their starting jobs. ... Instead of practicing in the morning, Mangini conducted a film session, rehashing mistakes from Friday's game. The afternoon practice was sluggish. At the end of the day, about 25 players were ordered to run wind sprints. There are no more two-a-days on the schedule, but Mangini warned that could change. ... WR Jovan Witherspoon was waived.

Rich Cimini

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DEBUNKING RUMORS: Gruden scoffed at reports the team might have an interest in Jets quarterback Brooks Bollinger.

"There's a lot of rumors going around here," he said. "We like what we have. We like the young Chris Simms. We like the way (rookie Bruce) Gradkowski played and we feel like Tim Rattay is going to be okay and certainly Jay Fiedler's return is around the corner, so I'm not going to get engaged here in a lot of speculation."

Gruden still was praising the performance of Gradkowski, who went 11-of-13 for 104 yards and two touchdowns against the Jets.

"The first throw he makes to (Edell) Shepherd, a square in, he throws the ball on the money in a tight area," Gruden said. "Then there was a full-blitz touchdown pass. He threw the ball with touch. He threw the ball with anticipation. Got to his second and third read. Made some real good checks in the game. Recognized looks. And the guy can move, man. The guy can really move. He can run. That's the thing. It's just exciting man. This guy has got a chance."

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Backfield in motion

Trying to create a spark in the Curtis Martin-less backfield, Eric Mangini tried several combinations yesterday at practice. Rookies Leon Washington and Stacey Tutt, a college QB turned fullback, saw time with the starting unit. Look for Washington, a fourth-round pick from Florida State, to get a long look Saturday against the Redskins. He had one carry in the opener, but he drew praise from Mangini. Derrick Blaylock and Cedric Houston are ahead of Washington, but neither distinguished himself in the first game. Veteran FB Jamar Martin, claimed off waivers Friday from the Saints, had his first practice yesterday.

Rich Cimini

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August 14, 2006 -- Because Curtis Martin quietly churned out 1,000-yards seasons without making waves or getting hurt, people tended to take him for granted, overlook his play and underestimate his value. Until now.

The injured Martin's absence was underscored by the Jets' putrid running game Friday, a 16-carry, 44-yard effort that didn't engender much faith in Derrick Blaylock, Leon Washington and Cedric Houston - who got jumped over by Kalvin Pearson on the arm-wrenching sack of Chad Pennington.

"The running game is going to come down to 11 guys blocking the right people and executing," said Eric Mangini, whose team carried three times for three yards behind the backup line in the second half. "The second half more than the first, if you can't execute the core assignments, that's the issue."

When asked about losing DLs Monsanto Pope and Sione Pouha, Mangini tellingly volunteered, "With every position we're looking to improve. We've talked running back, defensive line, a lot of areas. We evaluate nightly and see what our opportunities are."

To that end, they inked FB Jamar Martin off waivers from the Saints, but their halfback opportunities are thin, perhaps Chris Brown or Thomas Jones. If Martin can't return from the arthroscopic surgery that has kept him out for the past eight months, the Jets' offseason strategy will be criticized.

After the 33-year-old reportedly advised them to draft a back, they handed a $3.2 million signing bonus to the 5-foot-9 Blaylock - who'd run behind three Pro Bowlers in Kansas City - and waited until the fourth-round to draft the 5-8 Washington. It begs the question if they have enough to get the job done.

"Sure. We have the keys, we just have to get the little things done. We can be productive," Blaylock said. "We know it's going to get better. We just need more focus and concentration. (The holes) were there; we missed some of them."

The team didn't have a carry longer than six yards, with Houston averaging just 3.4 yards a carry, Blaylock two yards and Washington one.


The team put Pouha on the I.R., and waived WR Jovan Witherspoon yesterday. ... Mangini lauded the play of Washington, Brad Smith and rookie OLs D'Brickasaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. He also said DLs Dewayne Robertson, Shaun Ellis and Kimo von Oelhoffen all played multiple positions Friday in an effort to build versatility.

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Running on treadmill

Poor rushing stats vs. Bucs don't alleviate doubts about backfield


Newsday Staff Writer

August 14, 2006

Eric Mangini said the problem with the running game does not lie entirely with the running backs. But he also said the Jets continue to evaluate and explore options at that (and every) position.

That leaves just about every second- or third-string tailback in the league as a possibility to be wearing green and white when the regular season opens. The long list of candidates to be standing in the Jets' backfield Sept. 10 in Tennessee includes, but is not limited to, current Jets Derrick Blaylock and Cedric Houston along with Chris Brown, Lee Suggs, Marcel Shipp, Ron Dayne and Artose Pinner.

Mangini said he liked what little he saw from rookie Leon Washington in Friday's preseason opener. Washington carried once for one yard, so it must have been a heck of a yard. Plus, don't forget Curtis Martin, who either could be rehabbing a career-ending injury in vain or strolling onto the practice field any day now, depending on whom you ask.

And you thought your fantasy league draft had options at running back.

Bringing a substantial player in for the season would likely require the Jets to give up one of their two second-round picks in next spring's draft. For a team with one eye on the future, that's a steep price. But after Friday's game, it may be inevitable.

The Jets had 44 rushing yards on 16 attempts for an average of 2.8. But those numbers were helped by quarterback scrambles and an end-around. The tailbacks - Blaylock, Houston and Washington - carried 12 times for 30 yards, or 2.5 per rush.

"I think that the running game, both offensively and defensively, is going to come down to 11 guys blocking the right people and executing assignments," Mangini said. "It takes 11 guys doing it the right way to have holes ... There were things that needed to be corrected at all different positions."

Blaylock and Houston said holes were opened for them.

"We didn't run the ball a lot, but I think the runs that we had, if we had been a little more patient, they probably could have been better," Houston said.

"There were definitely holes. You tend to be a little antsy out there [in preseason]. You see stuff, and you just have to trust it and take a leap of faith that the hole is going to be in the right spot."

Blaylock, who started at tailback, said he saw areas for personal improvement as the team dissected the film yesterday. He said he noticed flaws in his pass protection and thought he could have been faster to his spots.

"They were there," Blaylock said of the holes intended for him and his position mates to squeeze through. "We missed some of them. We're going to clean everything up."

All of the Jets' running backs said they try to pay no attention to the increasing chatter about potential trades for their replacement. On Friday, after the game, Blaylock even said he hadn't heard anything about such a move. Washington, the fourth-round pick who caught Mangini's eye, spoke for the group: "We're not even looking at that."

Others are, though. The question of whether the running backs, as currently assembled, can provide a season's worth of significant service will linger until the Jets either pull the trigger on a deal, welcome Martin back onto the field, or the trio proves otherwise. Blaylock thinks they can.

"We have the keys," he said. "We just have to do the little things right."

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Pennington ready to go




(Original publication: August 14, 2006)

HEMPSTEAD — Chad Pennington pumped his fist — his left one — and responded emphatically when asked whether he'd practice today.

"It's full go, baby," said the Jets' No. 1 quarterback in everything but designation.

So Pennington is fine. The Jets, missing the physically-unable-to-perform Curtis Martin, only wish they could say the same thing about their running game, which gained 44 yards on 16 rushes in Friday night's 16-3 loss at Tampa Bay in their preseason opener.

"It's the first preseason game, it's going to be like that," said tailback Derrick Blaylock, who started and had 12 yards on six carries.

"It's no frustration. We know we're going to get better. (The holes) were there, we missed some of them."

That Pennington was able to take first-string snaps yesterday at Hofstra, two days after getting his right arm yanked back when Buccaneers safety Kalvin Pearson knocked the ball from him was a strong sign his surgically repaired right shoulder can take a hit.

Even Pennington admitted he wasn't sure how his body would respond.

"I didn't know if I'd come out and be sore," said Pennington, who missed 13 games last season after injuring his rotator cuff on a similar hit. "But I wanted to come out and practice and everything worked out well and I didn't miss any reps and I didn't feel any soreness."

The Jets caused some confusion as to Pennington's health when he dressed in the training room and it took him 45 minutes to meet with the media following the game. At the time, Pennington said he was reading the stat sheet, but first-year coach Eric Mangini said he actually delayed the quarterback.

"I wanted to talk to Chad and get some feedback while it was fresh in his mind, fresh in my mind and we were spending a lot of time talking there," said Mangini, who did not have a similar session with rookie Kellen Clemens, who essentially split the game with Pennington.

"I am learning."

Mangini said he would maintain his four-quarterback rotation and that it was important for Patrick Ramsey and Brooks Bollinger to see significant time in Saturday's game at Washington.

He's not likely to name a starter until after the second preseason game at the earliest. Pennington said the most important thing was taking a "step forward" in proving his durability.

"It says he's all right," Jets fullback B.J. Askew said. "A lot of people have been questioning, 'Is Chad going to be OK?' Well, you've seen him take some hits, you've seen him throw the ball. The rest is up to whatever you want to get out of it."

But the quarterback's effectiveness is tied into the running game's efficiency. Neither Blaylock nor Cedric Houston (17 yards on five carries) has staked his claim as the starter.

And Mangini raised some eyebrows yesterday when he responded to a question about depth on the defensive line by saying, "With every position, we are looking to improve the team. We have talked running backs in that area."

To be fair, Mangini has made it clear several times before that he meets daily with general manager Mike Tannenbaum to discuss possible acquisitions at all positions.

The name that pops up most is Tennessee's Chris Brown, who is seeking a trade and has not ruled out leaving camp to force the Titans' hand.

But Blaylock believes the Jets can do well with what they have now.

"We have the keys," Blaylock said. "We just have to do the little things right. We just have to come out there for practice and focus and get our fits and everything right and, sure, we can be productive."

Eye-opener: Yesterday was supposed to be the last of seven scheduled two-a-day practices, but coach Eric Mangini decided to hold just one on-field session. Mangini said he wanted to use the time in the morning to meet with his staff and then the players to correct mistakes he saw in the game films from Friday night's 16-3 loss at Tampa Bay in the preseason opener. But when asked whether this was also part of coaching technique — breaking down the players then building them back up through rewards to earn their loyalty — Mangini just shook his head. "No, today is all about improving," Mangini said. "I thought that this would be the most effective way to get the work done that we need to get done. One-a-day or two-a-day, all of that is subject to change, and I am not going to rule out anything. It could be five two-a-days (this week), it could be all one-a-days. It is just how much work we need to get done."

Rookie watch: Mangini singled out RB Leon Washington, WR Brad Smith, C Nick Mangold and LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson when asked which rookies stood out against the Buccaneers.

Training room: S Jamie Thompson (leg), CB Drew Coleman (leg), CB David Barrett (leg), S Erik Coleman (appendix), WR Dante Ridgeway (leg) and RB Curtis Martin (knee) remain sidelined. WR Jerricho Cotchery was fine after running full speed into the padded right leg of the practice goal post when Chad Pennington led him with a pass.

Roster moves: The Jets signed Jamar Martin, a 5-foot-11, 244-pound fullback who has played for Miami and Dallas and was just released by New Orleans. WR Jovan Witherspoon was waived, and DT Sione Pouha (right knee) was placed on injured reserve.

Competition: In two seasons with the Dolphins and two more with the Cowboys, Martin has four carries for 7 yards and six catches for 24 yards. Though he provides a different sort of bulk than the 6-3, 233-pound Askew, he doesn't seem to be a strong threat to take playing time away from him. Askew has shown good hands as a receiver out of the backfield and last season gained 59 yards on 13 carries for an average of 4.3 yards. "If they throw the ball to me, it's great," Askew said. "If I've got to block a hundred million times, then I do that and that's great."

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Pennington says all is well with arm

Monday, August 14, 2006



HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Chad Pennington was channeling Mark Twain when he said Sunday that reports of the demise of his right arm and his Jets career were greatly exaggerated.

"I'm pleased, I really am," Pennington said after participating in a full practice of throwing and running the offense following his shoulder torquing on a Tampa Bay blitz Friday. "I wanted to come out here and practice and see, and everything worked out well. I didn't miss any reps and I didn't feel any soreness.

"I took a step forward as far as just being able to prove my durability."

Pennington's health was at issue because of the jolt applied by Bucs safety Kalvin Pearson, some throwing and limbering motions he did after coming out, and the 40 minutes he disappeared from the locker room into the trainers' room afterward.

Then Saturday, possibly while he was in the Jets' weight room working out the soreness from his arm and body after his first start in almost a year, a national radio talk show host reported his shoulder was injured again and what a shame it was that his once-promising career was over.

The Jets brought this confusion on themselves, as coach Eric Mangini indicated before Sunday's practice.

"Right after the game, I wanted to talk to Chad and get some feedback while it was fresh in his mind, fresh in my mind. We were spending a lot of time talking there," Mangini said. "I think he was late getting out to [reporters], which I apologize for.

"It was important we do it at that point, but I realized it pushed everything back. I'm learning."

Pennington said Sunday he wasn't at liberty to discuss the conversation with his coach, but he agreed that Mangini is detail-driven. "Nothing really gets by him," he said. "He'll bring up stuff from five days ago that I don't even remember."

The QB also repeated that he didn't receive any medical treatment after the game.

Pennington wasn't going vertical Sunday, but he did take reps with the first offense and threw the ball naturally and without evidence of pain. He looked sharp on a 20-yard out-route to Chris Baker. So the Chad shoulder talk can be put to rest, at least for a while.

Mangini is about six days from identifying his QB rotation at Washington on Saturday night, but he said the competition will continue through at least that game. Since Patrick Ramsey played little and Brooks Bollinger not at all at Tampa Bay, it is logical to see one or both getting first-half snaps vs. the Redskins.

Of course, that suggests the next QB story line: Ramsey returning to FedEx Field, his home stadium the past four seasons, and getting quick payback against his former team, which traded him to the Jets in March.

"I'll be familiar with the place," Ramsey said, "but I don't have any ill will toward that team. I want to go out there, do well and execute our offense. And for no other reason than that do I want to play well this week."

Bollinger is also familiar with FedEx -- he was Vinny Testaverde's rookie backup, due to Pennington's left hand injury, for the Jets' 2003 opening-night loss to the Redskins and Ramsey. And he also has similar goals, since he seems to be the odd man out in this competition.

But Bollinger also had no interest in discussing a rumor that suggested the Bucs (and quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett) might be interested in trading for him.

"I'm a New York Jet and I'm happy to be here," he said. "I'm trying to do everything I can to help this team win."

E-mail: lange@northjersey.com


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Worries are put to rest as Pennington practices

Monday, August 14, 2006


Star-Ledger Staff

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- It was the hit heard throughout Jets Nation, and quarterback Chad Pennington was on hand yesterday to talk about it after working with the first team and taking all of his assigned reps during a nearly 2 1/2-hour practice at Hofstra.

Pennington, coming off his second rotator cuff surgery in as many seasons, was hit on the same shoulder by blitzing safety Kalvin Pearson in Friday's 16-3 preseason loss to Tampa Bay. Pennington was hit as he was in his throwing motion and it was similar to the blow he took last year that ended his season in Week 3.

Pennington said he was a bit sore after the game and on Saturday but his shoulder held up well.

"I think that hit proves my shoulder can take those types of hits," said Pennington, who completed 9-of-14 passes for 54 yards in two series. "It wasn't the same as last year but it was similar. My arm was going in motion and it was jerked back.

"I was pleased to see how it responded (yesterday). I really was. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if I would come out and be sore. But I wanted to come out here and practice and see, and everything worked out well. I didn't miss any reps and I didn't feel any soreness."

Pennington said being able to withstand such a hit was a major hurdle in his comeback bid.

"I think I took a step forward in being able to prove my durability and show that as time goes by I can prove I'm back," he said.

One published report speculated that Pennington may have reinjured the shoulder because he was late coming out to address the media following the game and he dressed in the back, away from the media.

Turns out Pennington and coach Eric Mangini were having a lengthy discussion about the game. After the game, Pennington said he didn't receive any treatment, although it's likely he had his shoulder examined.

"This was my first go-around," said Mangini, who was coaching his first game. "Right after the game, I wanted to talk to Chad because I wanted to get some feedback while it was fresh in his mind, fresh in my mind. We were spending a lot of time talking there. I think he was late getting out to talk to (the media), which I apologize about."

Said Pennington: "I wasn't getting treatment and I was being honest. I didn't mention what was going on because that was a private conversation. We were just talking about the game, this being his first game as a head coach and me being the first time playing under him."

Pennington and Mangini lamented the sack and fumble lost by the quarterback on the Bucs' 6-yard line on the hit by Pearson that ended Pennington's second and last series. He engineered two 13-play drives but didn't put any points on the board.

"We did some positive things but it was bittersweet," Pennington said. "We just felt like we didn't finish (score). That's what you have to do to win games."

Against the Bucs, most of Pennington's completions were of the dink-and-dunk variety. His longest was an 11-yarder to wide receiver Laveranues Coles.

"We had some things called that went down the field (but) they were in a two-deep zone," said Pennington. "Tamps does a great job with their pass rush. You can't sit back there and hold the ball or you'll pay for it.

"What they were giving us was underneath and we just tried to keep the (first-down) sticks moving. Against a good defense, a lot of times you don't get that big play. You just have to take your plays and keep moving the chains.

"I was proud of our offense in the first two drives for doing that. We remained patient. It seemed like we were in pretty good shape."

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Chad gets past 1st hit


Newsday Staff Writer

August 14, 2006

Chad Pennington was as curious as anybody to see how his surgically repaired right shoulder would bounce back from the hit it took in the second quarter of Friday's preseason game in Tampa.

Pennington's arm was ****ed and hit by blitzing safety Kalvin Pearson, nearly mimicking the play on which he injured his rotator cuff last season.

Pennington was satisfied and no doubt a bit relieved after he participated fully in yesterday's practice and reported no soreness. "I think I took a step forward as far as being able to prove my durability," he said after the afternoon workout, in which he took most of the snaps with the first unit.

Pennington threw a full slate of passes, and although on his first few he appeared apprehensive, he eventually revved it up to full speed.

Coach Eric Mangini said he wasn't as concerned about Pennington's shoulder as he was about the play when he was hit. "At that point I was thinking, we are on the [bucs'] 6-yard line and we just had a strip-sack-fumble," he said. "When you are on the 6-yard line, you cannot have a strip-sack-fumble."

Punishment drills

After one of the Jets' sloppiest practices of camp yesterday, at least nine players had to run laps for infractions ranging from fumbling snaps and handoffs to muffing punts.

At the end of practice, about 25 players were sent to run wind sprints for 10 minutes. There also were many dropped passes by both units, and the team seemed heavy-footed and generally fatigued despite the crisp weather.

Linebacker Jonathan Vilma said lackluster efforts sometimes occur at this point in preseason. "We're going into the third week [of camp]," he said. "I guess it's to be expected a little bit."

Jet streams

QB Brooks Bollinger said he was disappointed about not playing Friday, when the Jets had only two second-half possessions ... WR Jovan Witherspoon was waived.

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Chad Bucs trend

Shoulder withstands Tampa hit


Chad Pennington passes first test, as shoulder is OK after hit in preseason opener.



Chad Pennington admitted he wasn't sure how his twice-repaired throwing shoulder was going to feel yesterday at practice, about 42 hours after sustaining an arm-yanking sack that conjured up horrible memories for the Jets' quarterback and the organization.

Such is life after surgery. Each step in the recovery process is fraught with suspense and perhaps a fear of the unknown.

From all indications, Pennington passed the test, cementing his status as the starting quarterback. The only mystery is when, not if, he will be announced the winner of Eric Mangini's four-way competition.

Instead of babying his injury-prone quarterback by relegating him to fourth string in the daily rotation, meaning a virtual day off, Mangini assigned Pennington to the first team in his first practice after starting the preseason opener.

Showing no lingering effects from the Buc shot, the wicked sack by Tampa Bay's Kalvin Pearson, Pennington made it through practice and declared another victory in his seemingly endless battle to stay healthy.

"This proves my shoulder can take those type of hits," he said. "I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if I would come out and be sore, but I wanted to come out here and practice and see. And everything worked out well."

Pennington said he took "a step forward as far as being able to prove my durability." Actually, he has a lot more to prove, considering he's never played a 16-game season, but this was an encouraging step.

There was definite concern Friday night in Tampa, where Pennington's right arm was yanked backward by the blitzing Pearson. It prompted an impromptu bullpen session on the sideline, as he seemed to feel some discomfort.

Afterward, Pennington insisted he didn't reinjure his shoulder, but he fueled speculation by dressing in another room (out of sight from the media) and spending 45 minutes in the trainer's room.

There were alibis aplenty. Pennington said he was reading the stat sheet and lost track of time. Mangini said yesterday he was the cause for the delay, claiming he wanted to rehash the game with his quarterback behind closed doors.

Mangini didn't deny Pennington received medical attention after the game, saying, "Chad went through the same process that everybody went through after the game. He has soreness like everyone has soreness. There's no difference there than anybody else."

But when it's a quarterback, and it involves his throwing shoulder, there is a difference. That the hit was eerily reminiscent to the one he took last Sept. 25 from the Jaguars' Paul Spicer, which wrecked Pennington's shoulder, also raised concern.

But yesterday, Mangini claimed, "Chad is fine." And it appeared that way on the field. Pennington threw 35 balls in individual drills, another 12 passes in team drills. There were no long throws, everything under 30 yards. The Jets spent a lot of time on the running game, probably a smart move after the sluggish debut.

Mangini said he's no closer to naming a starter, adding that he wants to give Patrick Ramsey and Brooks Bollinger a fair chance in a game before making a decision. Ramsey handled mop-up against the Bucs, with Bollinger never leaving the bench.

Thing is, if Ramsey and Bollinger receive quality time in Saturday night's game against the Redskins, it will rob Pennington of an opportunity to build chemistry with the starters. With the Jets' quarterbacks, there's always an issue.

For now, the Jets are just happy to have a healthy starter. Asked his status for the rest of the week, Pennington exclaimed, "Full go, baby!"

Originally published on August 14, 2006

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August 14, 2006 -- With published reports that Chad Pennington might have re-injured his twice-repaired shoulder and tried to hide getting treatment Friday in Tampa, and breathless TV reports that nearly eulogized his career, both the Jets and their quarterback vehemently insisted yesterday that he's perfectly fine.

Pennington took reps with the first unit at yesterday's practice, wasn't forced to miss a single snap, and proclaimed himself "full-go, baby!" Which is encouraging, because he had some doubts how his body would respond to an arm-yanking sack like the one Kalvin Pearson put on him Friday.

"I wasn't for sure. You really don't know how your body is going to respond, and it responded nicely. That's a positive step," Pennington said. "To be honest, I didn't know how my body was going to respond. I didn't know what to expect.

"That hit proves my shoulder can take those type of hits. It wasn't the same as last year but it was similar. My arm was going in motion and it was jerked back. I was pleased to see how it responded. I didn't know what to expect, didn't know if I'd come out and be sore, but everything worked out well. I took a step forward in being able to prove my durability."

Pennington chose to dress in the trainer's room, away from the press. The unusually-long 45-minute lag before meeting the media prompted some to surmise that he was hiding an injury, or at least getting treatment. But Eric Mangini revealed yesterday that he had been chatting up his QB, discussing the game.

"Chad's fine," Mangini said. "This was my first go-round. Right after the game I wanted to talk to Chad, get feedback while it was fresh in his mind, fresh in my mind. He was late talking to (the press), and the buses left later, but I wanted to ... talk through that stuff. It was important we do it at that point."

Why the clandestine cloak-and-dagger routine?

"I said I wasn't getting treatment and I was being honest: I wasn't getting treatment," Pennington said, seemingly vexed by being doubted. "I didn't mention what was going on because it was a private conversation and I was going to let coach handle that before I stepped out of my bounds. We were talking about the game, it being his first as coach and my first playing under him."

It wasn't a spectacular game by any stretch, a 16-3 loss in which Pennington went 9-for-14, but threw for just 54 yards and missed his only downfield attempt of the night. Pennington chalked that up to the Bucs' fast pass rush and two-deep zone, but said the important thing is he's healthy.

"Chad went through the same process everybody else did," Mangini said. "He had some soreness, but there was nothing different there, just typical soreness."

Even though neither Mangini nor Pennington were willing to acknowledge him as the starter, for the second straight opportunity the veteran worked with the first team unit - throwing a nice out-route TD to Laveranues Coles.


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Jets notebook

Monday, August 14, 2006

New Martin in town

Newsflash: The Jets finally got Martin in their backfield. However, it's not Curtis. Jamar Martin was awarded to them on waivers and practiced with his new team for the first time Sunday.

"I'm really happy to be here," said Martin, a 260-pound fullback who won't be fazed by Camp Mangini since he played in 2003 for Bill Parcells' Cowboys. "I'm thankful to the Jets for even giving me an opportunity to be in camp. I'm going to work as hard as I can to make the team."

Those aren't empty words. Martin was Dallas' fourth-round pick in 2002, had a stop with Miami in 2004, sat out last season, then was signed and waived by the Saints this year.

He fits the Jets' mold of leadership types. In fact, he becomes the second former Ohio State captain on the roster, joining rookie linebacker Anthony Schlegel.

Ring tone

Victor Hobson's program weight is 252 pounds, but he came to camp lighter than that, as he did last year, and one of his off-season regimens was stepping into the squared circle.

"I've just always loved boxing," Hobson said. "They're some of the best-conditioned athletes in the world. I boxed with a guy in Atlanta, Steve Uriah, as much as I could this off-season with a few other players like Takeo Spikes, Keith Brookings and Jamal Lewis."

Hobson said his longest sparring match went eight rounds. It's probably good preparation for the coming season, which could be a 16-round fight for these rebuilding Jets.


Rookie Eric Smith was back at safety with the first defense as Derrick Strait missed part of practice for an unspecified reason. ... Safety Erik Coleman is back riding the stationary bike and exercising with the injured Jets. No word on when he'll return to action from his appendectomy. ... WR Jovan Witherspoon was waived.

-- Randy Lange

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Gary Myers

NY Daily News

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

Herm Edwards' last public appearance as coach of the Jets came Jan. 2, the day after the 4-12 season ended, when he once again deflected rumors he was on his way to Kansas City and insisted he wasn't going anywhere. Exactly one week later, Edwards was at Arrowhead Stadium being introduced as the coach of the Chiefs.

And Thursday night, Edwards is back at Giants Stadium, just where he said he would be this season, except he will be on the visiting sideline when Kansas City plays the Giants. They will not be throwing him a parade.

He was hardly nostalgic about his return. "I had fun," he said last week from training camp in River Falls, Wis. "You miss the relationships. The fans were very supportive."

This is not Bill Parcells coming back to Giants Stadium in 1993 for the first time when he coached the Patriots. If the Chiefs were playing the Jets, then Edwards might feel differently. He enjoyed his five years here, appreciated the Jets giving him his first head coaching job, but sources at the end of the season said he was telling coaching friends on the field before games he was unhappy and wanted out.

If he hadn't orchestrated his exit to Kansas City, the Jets might have fired him. If they did, Edwards knew he would have options, one source noted. He came off as greedy as any player looking for a new contract, even though he had one. It was hard to determine who was happier with his departure, Edwards or the Jets.

"In the end, it was the best for everyone," Edwards said. "They hired a good young head coach. He will get things going. In my gut, I feel it was the best for everyone. I always go with my instincts. It's not even an issue anymore. It's over."

The Jets will survive without him, even if Eric Mangini's paranoia, secrecy and control-freak tendencies are out of line for a coach so young who has done so little. Edwards built his platform on honesty. So, when he continually insisted he was staying and then couldn't wait to get out the door, it had a severe impact on his credibility.

"People who know me, know what I'm about," he said. "At the end of the day, I know what type of person I am. And people who know me know what type of person I am."

All these months later, he still refuses to discuss the details of the week of Jan. 2. That's left him vulnerable to being called less than truthful.

"It's okay. I understand all that. I know the truth," he said. "As long as I know the truth, I'm okay. I don't lie to myself. I know what happened. I know the reasons for why it happened. It was an in-house decision by both parties. It worked out well for everybody."

He was back in New York two months ago in conjunction with a new video game. He said Tom Coughlin and Tony Dungy were also involved. But he was in and out of town in 24 hours.

"I had good support with the Jets. Mr. (Woody) Johnson was good to me," Edwards said. "But you know what? I was good to the organization, too. It was a good relationship. They treated me fairly. Hopefully, they feel I treated them fairly. I think I did. I coached as hard as I could."

The Chiefs, 10-6 last year, were the best team in the NFL not to make the playoffs. They are in a tough division. The Broncos and Chargers are both Super Bowl contenders. And just like he had to do with the Jets, Edwards is trying to rebuild the defense before the offense gets too old.

"I think we're okay," he said.

Edwards has a new audience in Kansas City. His act and his speeches grew old and stale after five years. The Jets and Edwards needed a new start. Edwards doesn't have much time for nostalgia. He's trying to get acclimated to a new team and prepare for sleep deprivation. His wife, Lia, is expecting their second child in 13 months at the end of August.

Late Hits

Curtis Martin is a lot closer to retirement than he is to ever stepping on the field again. He should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He's fourth on the all-time rushing list (14,101 yards) and rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first 10 seasons until a knee injury ruined his season last year. He played in the Pats' Super Bowl loss 10 years ago. If he had played in their three Super Bowl victories instead of in relative anonymity with the Jets, his stature nationally would have matched how he was viewed in New York.

Hall of Fame officials need to move the ceremony back to the steps of the museum, where it had the feel of a neighborhood gathering. A few years ago, they moved it next door inside Fawcett Stadium. They construct a huge rock concert type stage and the event has lost its intimacy. It has become just another made-for-cable TV event.

The Jets looked silly filing an arbitration case against the Giants because they wanted to play their final preseason game at home on Thursday, Aug. 31, after the Giants scheduled a game that night against the Pats. The NFL ruled against the Jets and they will play the Eagles at home Sept. 1. Teams want to play their last preseason game on that Thursday to give them extra time to prepare for the final roster cut and the season opener. The Giants and Jets agreed to alternate the final Thursday with one team on the road. Next year, the Giants are home. The Giants and Jets are partners on their new stadium, so this could be an interesting construction project.

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The day in camp

Monday, August 14, 2006


Star-Ledger Staff



If looking the part means anything, then newly acquired Jamar Martin will be the Jets' Opening Day starting fullback. At 5-11, 244 pounds, he's a human wrecking ball and a prototype for the position.

This is very interesting. As I noted last week, the Jets were running a lot goal line formations in practice that saw the tight end in the back field.

I definitely get the impression that Hutch is on to something here. Martin will have to prove he is the guy but I think they want that bruising back.

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If he hadn't orchestrated his exit to Kansas City, the Jets might have fired him. If they did, Edwards knew he would have options, one source noted. He came off as greedy as any player looking for a new contract, even though he had one. It was hard to determine who was happier with his departure, Edwards or the Jets.

Interesting. So they would have fired him if hadn't left?

Sounds to me like Herm leaving was very mutual.


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Instead of practicing in the morning, Mangini conducted a film session, rehashing mistakes from Friday's game. The afternoon practice was sluggish. At the end of the day, about 25 players were ordered to run wind sprints. There are no more two-a-days on the schedule, but Mangini warned that could change. ...

Rich Cimini

How great is that? No more 2 a days but if you screw up there will be. I love it.

Making people run wind sprints as well. Just awesome!!! It will be good seeing them at least be in shape for week 1.

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Sounds to me like Herm leaving was very mutual.


Yes I think that became clear during the negotiations with K.C. When Woody Johnson screamed "just take him". (Obviously I don't know exactly what he said but it was widely reported that he lost his temper and that is why the Jets ONLY got a 4th rounder).

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Here are the HB's #'s for the two career stars for FB Jamar Martin (though I have no way of knowing how many snaps he played; for all I know he played 1 series & then was benched). But for what it's worth:

2003 (Dallas) vs Phi

Troy Hambrick 17 carries/75 yds

Adrian Murrell 7 carries/14 yds

2004 (Miami) vs NE

Sammy Morris 9 carries/27 yds/2 TD’s

Travis Minor 8 carries/27 yds/1 TD

Another thought about our HB problem is that the problem may be the FB not the HB.

Maybe the solution is:

HB: B.J. Askew

FB: Jamar Martin

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Here are the HB's #'s for the two career stars for FB Jamar Martin (though I have no way of knowing how many snaps he played; for all I know he played 1 series & then was benched). But for what it's worth:

2003 (Dallas) vs Phi

Troy Hambrick 17 carries/75 yds

Adrian Murrell 7 carries/14 yds

2004 (Miami) vs NE

Sammy Morris 9 carries/27 yds/2 TD

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If Askew has learned to pick up the blitz since Chad's broken-wrist game it may be the best solution.

Askew may be the guy we need to give a shot a RB. Perhaps he can help. Actually, he can't do any worse then teh crew looked on Friday Night.

But do not, repeat, DO NOT, go out and burn a high draft pick in a trade for a stop gap tailback from someone.

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