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Jets see TJ as a huge addition


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Jets see Thomas as huge addition

Sunday, June 17, 2007

BY DAVE HUTCHINSON

Star-Ledger Staff

While new Jets running back Thomas Jones has the upper body of Mr. Universe, displaying his bulging biceps by rolling up the sleeves of his jersey, he has the nimble feet and soft hands of a game-breaker.

Jones, the former Bear, was impressive during the Jets' minicamp last week and figures to be the spark plug for the entire offense, much like Curtis Martin once was. Jones is a potential 20-carry per game back -- though he'll share time with Leon Washington -- and can catch the ball out of the backfield.

It's a job description in a multidimensional offense that suits Jones just fine, one that is night and day from what he played in Chicago the past three seasons.

"It (the Jets' offense) is different than Chicago," said Jones, who wore a play sheet on his wristbands during minicamp. "In Chicago, we ran the ball so well that we had a certain amount of plays that we ran on.

"Here, we have so many good players on offense -- so many good receivers and very good running backs. There are a lot of weapons on offense, so they have a lot of different ways to get guys the ball."

Jones, who turns 29 in August, rushed for more than 2,500 yards and caught 62 passes the past two seasons with the Bears, leading them to the Super Bowl last season. He'll likely get 15 to 20 carries per game this season, with Washington getting the rest. He'll also be a weapon in the passing game.

"I do what the coaches ask me to do," Jones said. "If they throw me the ball, I feel pretty good about catching it."

Jones, whose workout regiment is already the stuff of legend around the Jets complex, also feels good about quarterback Chad Pennington. He likes what he sees on and off the field.

"The fact that he's a smart guy who comes to work every day," said Jones, who isn't easily impressed. "As a leader, he shows that he has a presence in the huddle. I have known him for a long time. I have watched his career because we came out in the same year of the draft. I'm just fortunate to be able to play with him."

Coach Eric Mangini says it's the Jets who are pleased to have Jones.

"He's got a great work ethic," Mangini said. "In the weight room, it's as impressive as I've seen. But then on the field, in the classroom, all the different people that we've talked to noted his leadership. Seeing it as opposed to just the research phase, it's definitely shown up in a lot of different areas.

"You'll see him working with Leon (Washington) or Cedric (Houston) or one of the guys, just trying to help them understand things that he inherently understands now from the amount of reps that he's taken and schemes that he's seen."

Mangini surprised his team yesterday morning by announcing the final practice of their three-day minicamp was canceled and the team would instead have an off-site team-building exercise (i.e. picnic or softball game) that incorporated the military personnel from Fort Bragg that visited camp on Friday.

The Jets ended up having four practices, two on Thursday and two on Friday. The team is now off until the start of training camp in late July. The club hasn't officially announced a reporting date.

Though the Jets were shocked by the candidness of the comments on Thursday by veteran guard Pete Kendall, they haven't completely shut the door on him returning, though it seems unlikely. Team officials concede that Kendall is a solid player and could help them this season.

The Jets don't feel they overpaid for unrestricted free-agent DE Kenyon Coleman (five years, $20.5 million, $6 million guaranteed) because it's hard to find quality defensive linemen with experience in the 3-4 scheme, and when you do, you have to pay those players top dollar.

In fact, just seven of the 32 NFL teams play the 3-4 alignment: Jets, Patriots, Cowboys, Steelers, Dolphins, Browns and Chargers.

All-purpose performer Brad Smith, who played wide receiver, running back and quarterback last season, took nearly a dozen postpractice snaps on Thursday and Friday with the third- and fourth-team offense.

Good read, can't wait to see him on Sundays. Go Jets

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The Jets don't feel they overpaid for unrestricted free-agent DE Kenyon Coleman (five years, $20.5 million, $6 million guaranteed) because it's hard to find quality defensive linemen with experience in the 3-4 scheme, and when you do, you have to pay those players top dollar.

In fact, just seven of the 32 NFL teams play the 3-4 alignment: Jets, Patriots, Cowboys, Steelers, Dolphins, Browns and Chargers.

That does seem pretty steep for a guy i have barely heard of (for what that's worth). We desperatly need that RE spot to improve. Once it does most people will be off vilma's back...unless he has opinions on abortion that he'd like to share.

Steelers don't play 34 anymore...so just six play the 34, i thought it was more than that.

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I only trust the Coleman pickup because Mangini knows Parcells and Coleman came from Dallas... Parcells had no reason to lie to Mangini considering he isnt coaching...

Don't know if you heard this but apparently Parcells also asked to join the Jets FO this past offseason before he took the job with ESPN.

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I read it on one of the clippings on NYJets.com earlier this offseason. I forget which source it came from but I'll try to dig out some archives and find out if I get the chance.

I remember seeing something too that said he was interested in being some type of consultant for the jets. I only saw it once and nothing was ever mentioned again of it so I think Parcells got his answer.

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I read it on one of the clippings on NYJets.com earlier this offseason. I forget which source it came from but I'll try to dig out some archives and find out if I get the chance.

I'm not sure how i would feel had it actually happened. I like Parcells, and he obviously knows what he is doing, but i think mangini is trying to be his own man on this one. Parcells would have gotten pushy at some point, and probably try to stear the team his own way, not necessarily Tangini's.

If you ever do come across that article, let me know, i'd be interested to read it.

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