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JETS news articles, Labor Day- 2007


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Jets' DE David Bowens a veteran among youngsters

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BY RICH CIMINI

DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Monday, September 3rd 2007, 4:00 AM

The Jets signed David Bowens (l.) as a free agent, giving him a three-year, $6.1 million contract.

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Behind CenterWho would you rather see starting at quarterback for the Jets?

Chad Pennington

Kellen Clemens

Read Rich Cimini's The Jets Stream

With flecks of gray in his hair, David Bowens might not seem like he fits the current trend on the Jets, who have adopted an out-with-the-old mode.

On Saturday, they released defensive linemen Bobby Hamilton and Kimo von Oelhoffen, both 36. Two weeks ago, they traded guard Pete Kendall, 34. All three players were strong influences in the locker room, oldies that helped keep the team humming last season.

Yes, it's a tough time to be a thirty-something on the Jets, but Bowens' gray belies his birth certificate: He only turned 30 on July 3. More importantly, he's still playing young. Even though he won't have a huge role on defense, he has a track record of maximizing limited opportunities, especially as a situational pass rusher. In the last three seasons, all with the Dolphins, he compiled 18 sacks.

"That's something I've been pretty good at in the last few years," Bowens said recently. "That's something I want to do here: Get sacks. The more sacks you can get, the more opportunities you have to cause fumbles and get the defense off the field. That's where I want to help."

The Jets signed Bowens as a free agent, giving him a three-year, $6.1 million contract, which seems like a lot for a player who was involved in only 14 tackles last season. But take a closer look: He made every play count.

"Pro Football Prospectus," a stats-related book compiled by FootballOutsiders.com, did a study on Bowens' performance last season and determined his value as a clutch player. In their statistics, he went 16-for-16 in recording "defeats," meaning every tackle, sack and pass break-up resulted in either a loss of yardage, a turnover or a stop on third down. The book says it was the first perfect score in its three-year history of the stat.

"When it came to sacks and big plays, Bowens was the equal of many of the league's best full-time starters in 2006," the book says.

It will be interesting to see how Eric Mangini gets Bowens on the field. He'll probably rotate with Shaun Ellis and Bryan Thomas as outside rushers in the third-down package, with Dewayne Robertson, Kenyon Coleman, Eric Hicks and maybe C.J. Mosley forming the inside rotation.

"As long as I'm in the equation somewhere, I'm fine," Bowens said.

Off the field, Bowens will rack up huge numbers - on the bowling alley. The son of Frank Williams, who competed on the Pro Bowlers' tour in the 1980s, Bowens carries a 221 average, with a personal best of 275. With a lot of avid bowlers on the team, he should fit right in.

"I'm ready," he said.

The Jets hope he bowls over quarterbacks, not just pins.

UP AND RUNNING: The Jets resume practice today. All eyes will be on RB Thomas Jones (strained calf), who hasn't practiced in three weeks. He intensified his rehab program last week and is expected to play in the opener Sunday against the Patriots.

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Collins on Jets' practice squad

Monday, September 03, 2007

The dream lives on for rookie free-agent cornerback Manny Collins.

The former Rutgers and Plainfield High player was named to the Jets' practice squad yesterday, according to someone who is in regular contact with Jets officials. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Jets haven't released the members of their five-player squad.

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Rookie free-agent running back Danny Ware and rookie free-agent guard Robert Turner were also named to the squad.

Collins, a late signee, caught the Jets' attention from the outset and kept it with his air-tight coverage and competitiveness. He also showed up big on special teams.

The release of Ware was a major surprise, but the Jets quickly brought him back. Turner has been quietly making his mark. The team has two more slots to fill.

Note: Former Jets DE Kimo von Oelfhoffen signed a one-year contract with the Eagles. ... The Jets are rumored to be interested in Broncos RB Mike Bell. ... Veteran TE Sean Ryan might be on the trading block. ... The Jets continue to eye the veteran left-guard market.

-- Dave Hutchinson

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September 02, 2007

Pennington Needs Protection

The Jets kept four quarterbacks, and five tight ends on their final roster.

Perhaps this is related to the current state of the left side of their offensive line. With the chance of shaky blindside protection, maybe they need four quarterbacks in case they suffer some injuries.

And the tight ends are probably going to have to stay in a lot to block with the chance of protection issues, so the more the better.

And two of the tight ends they kept, Jason Pociask and Joe Kowalewski, also double as fullbacks.

Bottom line

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Jets' Texas twosome go way back together

BY TOM ROCK | tom.rock@newsday.com

September 3, 2007

Everywhere they go, people think Brad Kassell and Cody Spencer are brothers. The close friends certainly act that way. They play the same position, speak with the same Texas twang and look the part, too. Whether in a convenience store or the Jets' locker room, the sibling supposition is strong.

But there's one way to tell them apart. Only one smiles.

"He's more fun-loving and happy guy, and I'm grumpy guy," Kassell said recently. "I probably wouldn't want to be friends with someone like me."

Yet here they are, friends and teammates who can't seem to get rid of each other. It started at the University of North Texas, where Kassell was two years ahead and played inside linebacker while Spencer played beside him at the outside position. After college, they were together with the Titans in 2004 and 2005. Kassell signed with the Jets in the spring of 2006 and Spencer, after being waived by the Titans before the opener, joined the Jets in late September.

"It's been fortunate we've been able to play together as long as we have," Spencer said. "It's been kind of cool to have two players from North Texas getting to play together in two organizations." Added Kassell, "The odds of that are astronomical."

They play mostly special teams, so Spencer and Kassell don't spend much time together playing defense. Spencer carved out a special-teams niche on the Jets last year as a hard hitter. Kassell saw less playing time last year after starting in Tennessee. But their longtime bond helps both, coach Eric Mangini said.

"I think the more that guys like each other, the guys enjoy playing with each other, that's always a positive thing," Mangini said of his Lone Star linebackers.

It's also helped their families adjust to life in New York. Their wives have become close friends and their children - Kassell has two daughters, Spencer has a son - are close in age.

Kassell said the two would have been strong friends even if they never played together in the NFL. But having a teammate who also is a true friend can come in handy. "If you have a bad game, you can kind of clown each other and because we're friends, you don't get --," Kassell said. "You can buoy each others' spirits. It's good to have somebody there who can ... treat you just like when you were a kid and not take everything too seriously."

Spencer joked about not really liking Kassell, giggled about their first meeting ("Nothing I'd like to mention in public," he said mischievously) and scoffed at the idea of being roommates. "We couldn't live together," he said. "It'd be too much trouble."

The stoic Kassell was more straightforward and serious in addressing his relationship with Spencer. "It's like having a family member [on the team] because he's just like my brother," he said. "I don't make too many friends, so when I really have a friend, well, he's one of the few people I trust in the world."

Notes & quotes: The Jets kept eight offensive linemen. They are heavy at cornerback and tight end and could be shopping Andre Dyson or Sean Ryan in a trade for a starting guard. They could be willing to part with Justin Miller, especially considering his off-the-field legal troubles this summer and the development of Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith and Leon Washington as able returners ... The Patriots will be without Rodney Harrison (suspended) and Richard Seymour (reserve/physically unable to perform list).

Sunday

Patriots

at Jets

1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 2

Radio: WEPN (1050)

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Spies Like Us

August 30, 2007 3:22 PM

The late Redskins coach George Allen presided over the glory years of NFL espionage. The Cowboys used to rent out the second floor of a local hotel because it stood next to their practice facility, and they were certain Allen's spies were occupying the rooms.

Cowboys safety Cliff Harris once told me players were convinced that every helicopter that flew overhead contained a Redskins spy. The tradition was passed down to paranoid coaches such as Bill Parcells, who once had a fan removed from training camp because he was wearing a Chiefs windbreaker.

Well, it seems Jets coach Eric Mangini hasn't fallen far from the Parcells tree. Despite the fact the Jets appear to have solid depth at safety, Mangini immediately brought in Artrell Hawkins for a workout when the Patriots released him earlier this week.

Could this have anything to do with the Jets-Patriots game in 10 days? Nah, I'm sure Mangini just remembered how much he enjoyed being around Hawkins.

Honestly, these moves never really seem to pay off, but it speaks to how coaches are always looking for an edge.

Bill Parcells, Cliff Harris, George Allen, Eric Mangini, Artrell Hawkins

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Jets put struggles in past, eye Patriots

Monday, September 03, 2007

BY DAVE HUTCHINSON

Star-Ledger Staff

It appears as though the football gods are smiling on the Jets these days. Patriots Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list with an undisclosed injury, and hard-hitting safety Rodney Harrison was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

That'll certainly make life a bit easier for Jets rookie left guard Jacob Bender. Harrison is excellent at disguising the blitz and coming at the snap of the ball, which would've meant Bender making a split-second decision on whom to block. The one-man demolition crew that is Seymour is well-documented.

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Nonetheless, the Patriots are a formidable foe and the Jets have been in a New England state of mind for several days now, even before their preseason finale against the Eagles on Thursday night. They understand that the road to the AFC East title still runs through Foxborough, Mass., and they might as well see where they stand sooner rather than later.

Jets coach Eric Mangini and Patriots coach Bill Belichick remain estranged despite the bear hug Belichick gave Mangini at midfield after the Jets' playoff loss to New England last January in Foxborough.

"That's the NFL," said quarterback Chad Pennington about opening against the Patriots. "There are no warm-up games when you start the regular season. We have to be ready to go."

The Patriots, who reached the AFC title game last season with a group of pedestrian wide receivers, added Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth and Wes Welker during the off-season. They also fortified the defense by signing Ravens free-agent linebacker Adalius Thomas.

Though the Jets posted a 3-1 preseason mark, they didn't look good doing it. Their first-team offense scored just one touchdown and two field goals in 14 series, with Pennington completing 12 of 21 passes for 129 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions (both returned for TDs). He's on a short leash after an impressive preseason by second-year pro Kellen Clemens.

The first-team defense also had issues, with opponents repeatedly moving the ball. The unit, however, bent but didn't break, allowing 27 points in five-plus quarters.

Help is on the way for the defense in rookie cornerback Darrelle Revis and rookie linebacker David Harris. Revis might well start against the Patriots for the hobbled Andre Dyson (right leg), and Harris is pushing both Jonathan Vilma and Eric Barton for playing time.

"We feel good," Vilma said. "We looked at the things we did well and the things we didn't do well and worked on them in practice."

On offense the Jets continue to present a united front, although it's hard to imagine they'll suddenly look like a well-oiled machine against the Patriots.

"It's not too many teams that can just turn it on and off, but we feel comfortable with where we are right now and that's the most important thing," wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. "Sometimes preseason games can be misleading, especially for players. In games, you feel like you have a certain amount of time where you have to go in there and make some plays before they take you out. Sometimes, things like that are factors (when the offense struggles)."

Pennington, too, says the games are only part of the preparation for the regular season.

"What I don't want to get discouraged about is the type of training camp and spring that we had," Pennington said. "We just haven't been able to perform as well as we would've like in the preseason games. ... We've got veterans across the board that know what to do once the regular season starts. I don't think we'll have a problem."

Dave Hutchinson may be reached at dhutchinson@starledger.com

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JETS

Jets keep 4 QBs; veteran linemen sacked

Sunday, September 2, 2007

By J.P. PELZMAN

STAFF WRITER

Don't try to tell some of the current members of the Jets' 53-man roster that the final preseason game is meaningless. They know better than that.

Marques Tuiasosopo led the Jets on two fourth-quarter scoring drives in Philadelphia on Thursday and made the team. So did was kept by the Jets two days later. So As was defensive tackle C.J. Mosley, who solidified his spot with three sacks against the Eagles.

The Jets kept Tuiasosopo as the third quarterback behind Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens. They have been working Brad Smith at quarterback as well as wide receiver this year, but he was only 6-for-15 for 50 yards and was 2-for-8 against the Eagles.

Mangini saidCoach Eric Mangini said, "I thought this was a way to increase [smith's] ability to do more by having Tui here. I really relly like the things Tui has done."

But the news wasn't good for everybody , of course, as the Jets cut 22 players to get down to the NFL -mandated limit of 53. Veteran defensive ends Bobby Hamilton and Kimo von Oelhoffen were sent packing as rookie free agent defensive lineman Mike DeVito out of Maine made the team.

GREEN MACHINE

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Football writer J.P. Pelzman tackles all the behind-the-scenes stories about your New York Jets.

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Hamilton's release was somewhat of a surprise because he had a pretty strong camp. Von Oelhoffen didn't get many snaps in practice or in the games.

Also cut was linebacker Anthony Schlegel, a third-round draft choice from Ohio State last season who appeared in only four games in 2006. He had a decent training camp and had six tackles against the Eagles, but Mangini indicated that the numbers game at linebacker resulted in his release.

The most emotional release was Hamilton, a 13-year veteran whom Mangini knew from the coach's first stint with the Jets as a defensive assistant from 1997-99. Both Mangini and Hamilton went to the Patriots in 2000.

"It's always tough" to cut someone, Mangini said, "when you have a pre-existing relationship. I thought he had a real strong camp. He's a classy guy. We had a real good talk [saturday] morning."

Mangini was asked about the possibility of Hamilton, considered a very good locker room presence, becoming a coach soon. Mangini said he believed Hamilton was going to try to catch on with another team as a player.

Linebacker Andre Wadsworth had said that's what he planned to do if he got cut and he also was released Saturday.

Wadsworth had been out of football since 2000 because of 11 knee surgeries. Also cut was defensive end Michael Haynes, a first-round pick by the Bears in 2003 who was out of football last season.

Mangini said DeVito was the only rookie free agent to make the roster. Rookie Danny Ware of Georgia seemingly had the third running back spot locked up as he led the Jets in preseason carries (50) and rushing yards (183), but Mangini instead decided to go with four tight ends, keeping second-year players Jason Pociask and Joe Kowalewski.

Mangini believes backup fullback Stacy Tutt, a quarterback in college, is fast enough to be a reserve tailback and players such as Pociask and Kowalewski could line up at fullback or as an H-back.

The Jets will set their practice squad later today and could bring back non-veterans who haven't been claimed. Former Rutgers cornerback Manny Collins could be one of them.

"I thought he did a good job with his opportunities," Mangini said of Collins. "I'm happy with his approach."

E-mail: pelzman@northjersey.com

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