New York Jets Training Camp Blog
'''DAY 7 RECAP'''
The annual Green and White Scrimmage took place this evening at SUNY Cortland. Here are some thoughts from the game, which lasted about an hour:
-The quarterbacks were consistently inconsistent, especially Kellen Clemens. Neither of the two guys competing for the top spot- Clemens and rookie Mark Sanchez- were able to lead a touchdown-scoring drive. Clemens ended up a modest 5 of 7 for 26 yards. Sanchez actually looked like the better of the two tonight. He went 9 of 17 for 70 yards. However, he was victimized by several dropped passes, which Coach Rex Ryan alluded to as one of the negatives from tonight’s scrimmage. Ryan lauded Sanchez as “he was putting the ball there” and said he was “excited about Mark.” Coach also did credit Clemens, stating that he “looked good,” and “knows how to run the team,” given his previous experience leading the team and knowing the system. Tonight should vault Sanchez into a dead heat with Clemens on the depth chart, and the two will probably see equal reps in the ensuing practices. Given Sanchez’s status as a first round draft pick, and superior play tonight, it’s possible that he may have even eclipsed Clemens tonight, though it’s way too early to make a call. The next round of practices leading up to the first pre-season game next Friday could really help determine who has the leg up in the competition.
- The Jets will have a crowded backfield with the emergence of rookie Shonn Greene. Greene looked solid running the ball today, and even caught a pass for a nice gain, something that really pleased Ryan. Thomas Jones is a workhorse, and Leon Washington always gets his runs. Yet Ryan affirmed that Greene will also get his fair share of carries. The trio of backs will probably be looked at to take the pressure off whoever wins the starting QB job.
- The wide receiver situation is still very much up in the air. Britt Davis may have taken himself out of the conversation by dropping three passes tonight. With Dustin Keller an able pass-catcher as well, the Jets will continue to select the number-two wide receiver by committee. Stuckey and Clowney both made catches tonight and those two will likely see the most playing time behind Cotcherry.
- The defense continues to look good. It will be interesting to see them matched up against more high-octane offenses but for now the unit has a good thing going. Ryan mentioned in particular David Harris, Lito Sheppard, and Kenwin Cummings as players who looked good and tackled well. The secondary also maintained its strong play. The only hiccup on ‘D’ was a miscommunication on the third team which allowed for the only touchdown to score- on a reverse play to wide receiver Paul Raymond.
After the scrimmage I asked eight-time pro bowl guard [[link|url=http://www.newyorkjets.com/team/player/1323-alan-faneca]] Alan Faneca [[end-link]] a few questions:
WVBR: How does generally keeping the offensive line together going to contribute to your success this year?
'''Faneca: It’s important for the offense. We need to do our job to give them a chance to do their job.'''
With the QB situation still up in the air, do you think it will be more of a run-blocking oriented unit?
'''Faneca: It’s quite possible. We will take the path of least resistance this year.'''
What are your impressions of Rex Ryan in his first camp as a head coach?
'''Faneca: He’s passionate. Takes everything to the heart, and wants to win bad.'''
From your perspective, how is the QB battle progressing?
'''Faneca: it’s early, still eight days away from our first preseason game. They are getting their feet wet and picking up steam.'''
Any plans for your day off tomorrow?
'''Faneca: I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to a massage session, stretch appointment, and work out. I’d love to catch a movie later.'''
''Coming up:'' The Jets have the day off tomorrow. They will return to the field on Saturday with practices at 8:20 AM and 3:55 PM.
'''DAY 6 RECAP'''
''New York Jets Quarterback [[link|url=http://www.newyorkjets.com/team/player/1442-mark-sanchez]] Mark Sanchez [[end-link]] prepares to run during practice on August 5th, 2009.''
The Jets mostly ran drills during the morning session today at Cortland. Jay Feely got a lot of work in, practicing kick-offs from the forty and attempting some long field goals. Feely hit from 50 and 52 yards with Reggie Hodges holding. The tight ends were seen working on blocking and footwork and then catching passes in the end zone. Finding that blocking tight end to complement Dustin Keller continues to be a major question.
The quarterbacks continued their up and down play today. Sanchez has continued to gain on Clemens in terms of snaps and reps with the first team. During the two-minute drills neither QB could engineer a scoring drive, with Sanchez guiding the offense down to the 20 before the drive stalled. Coach Rex Ryan stated that the quarterback competition has been good so far. The coaching staff wants to make a decision on a QB quickly, but isn't there yet.
Part of the reason for the struggles of the passing game can be attributed to the strong play of the Jets secondary. Ryan lauded the unit, calling it "very talented," and calling Darelle Revis "the best corner." He also mentioned that the team had lots of depth at safety, and that the corners were loaded as well.
After practice I spoke with Jets wide receiver [[link|url=http://www.nfl.com/players/profile?id=00-0022811]] Jerricho Cotchery [[end-link]]. I asked him about adjusting to being a number one receiver and his thoughts on training camp thus far.
WVBR: How has the transition to becoming a number one wide receiver gone? How will you adjust to facing more coverage and maybe becoming more of a vertical threat?
'''Cotchery: I've been working on some things. Watching previous seasons to see what areas I need to work on. It will be different to be working on the same side of the field consistently, I'm used to being all over the place.'''
What's your impression of Rex Ryan in his first training camp as a head coach?
'''Cotchery: It's been a well-balanced camp. Rex has generally brought a banging, physical style, but he backs off when needed.'''
Which of the recievers battling for the number two spot has really stepped it up so far?
'''Cotchery: All the guys have stepped up. Chansi Stuckey has been doing his thing. Brad Smith, Wallace Wright, we have a good group. Other guys I haven't mentioned, too.'''
''Injury update:'' Shaun Ellis hurt his back and Donald Strickland tweaked his knee today. Both injuries look minor and the players should be fine. Meanwhile, Kris Jenkins is feeling better, and Shonn Greene is also making progress. Both aren't quite ready yet but should be back sooner rather than later.
''Coming up:'' The Jets will have a walk-through Thursday morning, closed to both fans and media. The Green and White Scrimmage will be Thursday night and has been moved to 6 PM. There will be tackling, and each unit(first, second, third) will play each other for about three series.
''Weather:'' Looks good again Thursday with temperatures in the lower 70's.
'''DAY 5 RECAP'''
The Jets finally moved on to the grass field at Cortland today, running full contact end zone situations in the morning. This afternoon, the team again played on the grass, running mostly drills.
''Jets tight ends Dustin Keller and Kevin Brock talk with coach Mike Devlin on August 4th, 2009.''
Reggie Hodges continues to look great punting the ball, often driving back the returners with his boots. The tight ends were seen working on blocking, including new acquisition Kevin Brock, picked up on waivers from Carolina. The big question continues to be finding a number two tight end to complement Dustin Keller. Today Kareem Brown, back with the team after a brief absence, was working with the twos.
The quarterback practiced throwing five yard passes over the middle from out of the end zone. The QB pecking order still appears to be Clemens, Sanchez, Ainge, and then Pizzotti. At the skill positions on the second team, Sanchez and Brown were joined by David Clowney at wide receiver and Danny Woodhead at running back. With Shonn Greene out with an injury, Woodhead has taken received more reps and taken advantage. On a third down play during the semi-contact drive, he burst around the left side and headed down the sideline.
On the receiving front, Chansi Stuckey made a nice tumbling grab on a pass from Clemens during passing skeletons. Brad Smith also caught a few long strikes.
At the close of practice I caught up with the President of SUNY Cortland, [[link|url=http://www2.cortland.edu/offices/presidents-office/presidents-bio.dot]] Dr. Erik J. Bitterbaum [[end-link]]. Here’s what he had to say from the University’s prospective.
WVBR: How has having Jets training camp helped and impacted SUNY Cortalnd?
'''Bitterbaum: There are two major impacts. One, for the community. Thousands of fans have came through and spent money at restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. The sales tax and added income is a positive. Second, the visibility for the University. [Training camp] has improved donor relations and should lead to an uptick in admissions.'''
How did you get the Jets here?
'''Bitterbaum: They wanted an isolated spot in Upstate New York. We have an alum with the organization, and when the Jets came to look at Cornell he told them to check out Cortland too. They liked us better because the campus was more self-contained and the facilities better suited for their needs.'''
What are the exact details of your agreement with the Jets?
'''Bitterbaum: New York State Law only allows us to do this one year at a time. We have a one year revocable permit for holding training camp.'''
Do you think Cortland can get the Jets back?
'''Bitterbaum: Well the quality of the facilities has met their needs. It’s only the fifth day so we’ll see.'''
Later I spoke with [[link|url=http://jettingaroundwithlisaz.blogspot.com/]] Lisa Zimmerman [[end-link]], who covers the Jets for CBSSports.com and Sirius NFL Radio.
WVBR: How do you think the QB battle will end up?
'''Zimmerman: Kellen brings more experience and is talented. Mark is very talented and as Rex said is the future of the organization. Right now, Kellen is a little ahead.'''
How about the fight for number two receiver?
'''Zimmerman: Each has their own talents. Chansi Stuckey is the most dangerous, however. He also has developed a good rhythm with both QB’s.'''
Do you see any “dark horse” players breaking out in camp?
'''Zimmerman: Like Rex said, Rutgers product Jamaal Westerman. He’s actually been impressing coaches since the off-season.'''
What is this team’s biggest strength?
'''Zimmerman: Definitely the ‘D,’ though it will be interesting to see how they match up against offenses like the Pats and Texans. The unit is cohesive and everything seems to be really falling into place.'''
On offense, what is the biggest weakness?
'''Zimmerman: They still need another strong wide receiver. The tight end situation needs to be sorted out. Offensive coordinator Brain Schottenheimer runs a lot of two tight end plays and they need someone to balance out Keller.'''
What’s the deal with Vernon Gholston. Do you agree with him being anointed the starter in place of Calvin Pace while he is suspended?
'''Zimmerman: The coaches have been working with him a lot given his draft status [Pick number 6 in the 2008 NFL Draft]. There have been a lot of question marks about him, even since coming out of college. However, there are not many other choices to replace Calvin Pace. Marques Murrell, though, will surprise people. While he won’t necessarily start, he will definitely get more playing time.'''
''Quote of the day'': “It’s gotta be on the same cue.”
- Safety Kerry Rhodes to fans attempting to start a J-E-T-S chant.
''Coming up'': A full practice Wednesday morning at 8:20, then special teams at 4:15.
''Weather'': It should be partly cloudy and pleasant with highs topping out in the upper 70’s.
'''DAY 4 RECAP'''
''New York Jets fullback [[link|url=http://www.newyorkjets.com/team/player/1327-tony-richadson]] Tony Richardson [[end-link]]  and tight end [[link|url=http://www.nfl.com/players/dustinkeller/profile?id=KEL091879]] Dustin Keller[[end-link]]  take a breather during practice on August 3rd, 2009.''
It was a beautiful day in Cortland for Day 4 of New York Jets Training Camp. For the first time, a major scrum broke out after practicing running plays. Rex Ryan doesn’t seem too concerned, however, stating that the players handled breaking up the fight well, and that the incident displayed “pride in particular units- pride in offense, pride in defense,” with eventually “pride in the whole team” taking over.
As per usual, Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez both had their ups and downs today. Sanchez looked good during drills, but later led the offense to a three-and-out against the number two defense. Clemens, meanwhile, looked great directing the first team downfield. He completed several passes, including strikes down the sideline to Cotchery and Washington which netted close to sixty yards. Yet the drive was short-circuited inside the ten when Bart Scott tipped a Clemens pass and a leaping Darrelle Revis picked it off. Ryan sang the praises of both, calling Scott a “big time player who makes a big time plays,” and stating that he would advise Clemens to throw away from number 24 (Revis) in the future.
After practice I had the chance to talk to 2008 pro-bowl cornerback [[link|url=http://www.nfl.com/players/darrellerevis/profile?id=REV515344]] Darrelle Revis [[end-link]]. Revis has continued that strong play thus far in camp.
WVBR: You made the jump last year to become an elite corner in this league. How do you plan on maintaining this position and improving game?
'''Revis: It starts with working out and staying in shape during the offseason. I’m looking to maintain my strength and speed.'''
What’s your impression of Rex Ryan in his first training camp as head coach?
'''Revis: We’ve got a lot ahead of us, but he’s been great. [Ryan] has a great personality; he can be funny, but also serious at times. He’s confident in our team and our abilities.'''
From your perspective as a defender, how do you feel about the players competing for the second wide receiver spot, having worked against guys like Brad Smith and David Clowney?
'''Revis: They are doing great and know the system really well. Obviously it’s something the coaches will decide.'''
With all sorts of talent in guys like you, Lito Shepard, and Kerry Rhodes, do you feel that the Jets will have one of the league’s best secondarys?
'''Revis: And we have Jim Leonhard, Drew Coleman, Ahmad Carroll, James Ihdigbo, Eric Smith, and Marquice Cole. It’s a great group and we’re going stick with those types of guys.'''
''1,2,3'': Behind the much-heralded battle for number one quarterback is the fight for the third string spot. Incumbent Erik Ainge still seems to have the edge over former Harvard QB Chris Pizzotti, though Pizzotti looked sharper than he had previously today in practice. [Scroll down to the Day 3 Recap for WVBR's interview with Pizzotti]
''Scary moment'': While the number three defense was on the field, rookie safety Keith Fitzhugh went down after colliding in mid-air with Emanuel Cook on an interception attempt. Fitzhugh had to be helped off the field, and Coach Ryan stated that he had an MRI after practice.
''Quote of the day'':"We had some rock 'em sock 'em robots out there today."
- Head coach '''Rex Ryan''' on the minor fight that broke out during practice.
''Coming up'': At his press conference, Ryan said that Tuesday’s practice would be “the one for fans to come to.” The team should finally move on to grass tomorrow, meaning that there will be full-contact, live drills. Goal line and short yardage situations (with tackling) will be part of the schedule tomorrow.
''Weather'': Tuesday will be a hot one with highs rising into the middle 80’s. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop late in the day, possibly putting a damper on the afternoon session.
'''DAY 3 RECAP'''
''New York Jets head coach [[link|url=http://www.newyorkjets.com/team/coach/1413-rex-ryan]] Rex Ryan [[end-link]] at his daily press conference''
A long- over two hours- wet, practice this morning at Cortland. The quarterbacks were busy early, throwing end zone routes at increasing distances from the goal line (8, 13 yards, etc). Later on, corners were brought in to guard the receivers one-on-one. Newcomer Lito Shepard looked good, even drawing an offensive pass interference call for a push off. The secondary as a whole looks impressive, led by Shepard and Darelle Revis, who continue to looks like an elite, shut-down corner, intercepting another pass today. Kerry Rhodes also played well, and was talkative with both the fans and press.
We finally saw Jay Feely get some work in, practicing kick-offs from the 40, with Washington, Lowery, and Woodhead returning the kicks. Towards the end of practice he worked on field goals, looking pretty good despite a wet field.
After practice I had the chance to catch up with former Harvard Quarterback '''Chris Pizzotti'''. Cornell football fans will remember Pizzotti well, as he directed the Crimson to victories over the Big Red in each of the past three seasons. The QB was not drafted, but was almost immediately signed afterwords by the Jets.
WVBR: How does it feel going from playing Ivy League Football to competing at an NFL Training Camp?
'''Pizzotti: There's greater speed, more offensive knowledge required. It's great working with guys like [Mark] Sanchez and [Jets Offensive Coordinator] Brian Schottenheimer.'''
Where do you see yourself in the QB battle. How do you feel about the #1's- Clemens and Sanchez?
'''Pizzotti: I'm doing whatever I can do to make the team and take advantage of my opportunities. Both guys [Clemens and Sanchez] are good young quarterbacks and we are good hands with either,'''
What do you want to work on most at camp?
'''Pizzotti: My footwork. Moving my feet. Also, learning different offensive wrinkles.'''
What are your first impressions of Coach Ryan, in his first go-around as an NFL Head Coach?
'''Pizzotti: He's awesome. I respect and enjoy him, and he's nice to be around. '''
A lot has been made of being "isolated" up in Cortland for bonding, do you buy into this?
'''Pizzotti: Yes, it's a great chance for us to come together, learn respect, and get off to a good start as a team.'''
Do you get any ribbing for the Harvard thing?
'''Pizzotti: Not as much as I thought. I've got some questions about it, but that's been it.'''
Pizzotti has been receiving some reps during camp so far, and has a shot of unseating Erick Ainge as the Jets third-string quarterback.
''Quote of the day'': "Strip!"
- Defensive back Ahmad Carroll just before knocking the ball away from receiver Wallace Wright as he ran out of bounds during a drill.
''Coming up'': Monday morning's practice will begin at 8:50, not the accustomed 8:15. Special teams practice will be at 3:15 PM.
''Weather'': Looks good for Monday with lots of sun and highs in the lower 80's.
'''DAY 2 RECAP'''
After a full squad workout in the morning, it was the special teams who got their work in during the afternoon. The big story from the AM was an injury to star DT Kris Jenkins. Jenkins felt a pop in his leg and will miss a few days (or more) with a sore calf muscle. Jenkins and coach Rex Ryan do not seem overly concerned with the injury, however.
The focus of the afternoon drills was the punting game. Reggie Hodges drew cheers after booting a long punt, as he and T.J. Conley kicked numerous times. Leon Washington and safety Jim Leonhard got the bulk of the punt return chances. Washington muffed a few punts, but the fans in attendance didn't seem to mind. Popular sentiment continues to support Leon in his contractual negotiations, with one sign reading "Give him [Washington] $$$."
''Quote of the day'': "We don't kick off, we lose the game!"
-Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff to the punt blocking unit during an end zone punting drill after some shoddy blocking.
''Coming up'': Another full day of prcatice, with full squad sessions at 8:15 am and 4 pm Sunday.
''Weather'': Looks dicey tomorrow with a round of showers and thunder possible during the morning then more showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon. Highs will be in the mid 70's.
'''DAY 1 RECAP'''
After a rainy morning session, the weather cleared for the Jets afternoon practice. As advertised the skill players on the first team included QB Kellen Clemens, RB Thomas Jones, and WR Jerricho Cotchery. The second team featured first-round draft pick Mark Sanchez at QB, Leon Washington and Shonn Greene as tailback, and David Clowney and Brad Smith as wide-outs. After warm-ups the team split into units and worked on drills. The linebackers practiced quick explosion by ramming into padded metal weights, with Bryan Thomas especially excelling. Meanwhile, members of the secondary were seen practicing coverage, and even Darelle Revis was chewed out a bit while defending sample patterns. On the sidelines, Jay Feely was seen doing sit-ups with a weighted bag. He didn't do any kicking on the main field, however.
Kellen Clemens ended up with the most reps at quarterback, again practicing with the first team. He looked crisp hitting Cotchery on an out and Chansi Stuckey over the middle, who also turned in a good day. Clemens later brought the crowd to its feet when he hit Brad Smith out of the shot gun in stride for a long completion. Smith is another player who will get a shot at wide receiver.
Mark Sanchez mostly threw short passes or handed the ball off during his reps. The rookie finally showed off his arm with a bullet to David Clowney during passing skeleton drills. Sanchez, though, struggled a bit throwing the ball in later attempts. It's only one practice, but Clemens looked like the better of the two on this day.
Stuckey and Smith appear to be next in line at WR after Cotchery. Two longer shots, Wallace Wright and Marcus Henry, dropped catch-able passes during semi-contact practice. Henry, though, did help make up for it with a nice catch in traffic. On the last rep, Ahmad Carrol picked off Harvard product Chris Pizzotti, and headed towards the end zone. Things wrapped up around 5:40, after a solid hour and a half practice.
''Leon is here, but'': Leon Washington surprisingly reported to camp late last night, and practiced this afternoon. Always a fan favorite, he received plenty of cheers after catching a screen pass and accelerating upfield, and later making a nice stutter step on the sideline. Washington decided to show because he felt it was "best just to play football." There were fears he would hold out, and he decided not to, even though he is "not confident" a deal will be done soon. Leon's coming free agent status leaves him little leverage with the team, and he feels "slighted" at the team's lack of willingness to give him a raise. Nevertheless, a steep daily fine for not reporting, and "love for football," has ensured that Leon Washington is indeed on the practice field.
''Quote of the day'': "[If you] pay my fine."
-Jets placekicker '''Jay Feely''' upon being asked by a fan if he would come to his barbecue in Binghamton.
''Coming up'': There will be special teams practices tomorrow at 8:15 AM and 3:15 PM. WVBR will again be there with coverage.
''Weather'': A dry day in store Saturday, with lots of sun and highs topping out around 80.
New York Jets training camp has opened this morning at SUNY Cortland. WVBR will be there providing coverage, on-line and on-air. There are several intriguing storylines as camp begins. Here are the first few that Jets fans and media will be paying close attention to:
-The QB battle between Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemens. Clemens is the number one, and has been working with the first unit- for now. Sanchez will be given a fair shot at winning the job, and many expect him to do just that. However, even if Sanchez is the opening-day starter, can he follow in the footsteps of last year's rookies standouts, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan, or will he struggle like most first-year players do?
-A wide open race for the #2 receiver. After Jerricho Cotchery, there are no proven players among the Jets WR corps. Chansi Stuckey has the most experience out of the bunch, catching 32 passes and 3 touchdowns last year, but he may be better-suited as a slot receiver. Although he only played in two games last season due to injuries, David Clowney will get a long look. Brad Smith, a mainstay on special teams and trick plays so far during his career, and Wallace Wright round out the field.
-Calvin Pace has been suspended for the first four games of 2009 due to violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Pace had a very solid season last year, and his presence will be missed. Who will step up to replace him during the first quarter of 2009? Second-year player Vernon Gholston is the logical choice, though he must bounce back from a rocky rookie season where he often looked out-matched on defense.