Itâ€™s official. The 2007 Jets training camp is underway, and it was a seriously big crowd that welcomed the 2007 edition of the Jets on a humid, hot morning. It was one of the largest morning crowds Iâ€™ve seen in ten years of going to tc.
The overall look of this Jets team is trim. There were no pot bellies hanging over belts, and no dragging through what was a very quick paced practice. Even Pete Kendall, who has his issues with the team, showed up looking trimmer and younger than he did a year ago. Sione Pouha also seemed to have watched his caloric intake, and this team has the early look of a leaner, meaner fighting machine.
Year 2 of Mangini (Y2M) started in second gear, and quickly shifted into drive.
It did not feel like the first day of tc watching the field- it felt like the third week compared to last year. So, I am thinking this team is building on what was put in place last year, and is ready to take steps to move ahead and take it up a notch.
So, letâ€™s get started with some random observations. These are initial impressions based on one training session, and things can change as camp progresses. But patterns are definitely being set right from the get-go. As always, feel free to correct me if I missed something or got a playerâ€™s name wrong. Itâ€™s just me shooting from the hip.
-Chad is Da Man, it is what it is. He is numero uno as long as he is healthy. He threw well, ran the offense seamlessly, and showed none of the tentativeness he showed when camp opened last year. He is ahead of schedule.
-Tui has nice mechanics. He also throws a nice ball, too, and had a lot of zip on the out patterns. Drew Coleman went for the pick on one of the quick outs and the ball zipped by him for what would have been a completion with a lot of YAC.
-Clemensâ€™ footwork is still choppy. He threw a long ball that fluttered and floated, but Justin did a nice job coming back for the ball. It was the type of throw that had Chad made it, people would have been rolling their eyes.
-Thomas Jones also looks trim and quick, and already showed a lot of burst through the hole and nice hands as a dump-off receiver. He got beat in one on one drills by Barton and Vilma, but hey, he isnâ€™t being paid to pick up the blitz- not as his main role, anyway.
-Leon W showed the same quickness I saw last year when I raved about him all through camp. His role may decrease with Jonesâ€™ arrival, but LW will make some big plays this season. He looks good, and doesnt have that rookie look anymore.
-With C. Houston gone for undisclosed reasons, the third RB position is up for grabs. I thought Danny Ware (23) had a very solid practice, as did Alvin Banks (34) out of James Madison U. Iâ€™m gonna keep an eye on these two.
-Chris Baker made the big catch of the morning, although he was quiet otherwise. Probably just doing his usual lunch pail job, not getting noticed until he made a catch down the far sideline for big yardage. Joe Kowalewski also getting action at the TE position.
-Darian Barnes (37) getting a long look at FB, along with Stacey Tutt.
-Rashad Washington made a nice play upending the ballcarrier in a 7 on 7 scrimmage.
-Shaun Ellis, (also looking trim) stripped the ballcarrier and ran it back the other way for a big TO.
-Brad Smith looked real good running back KOs, as did Justin Miller, who looks to have even better field vision of the seam to hit than he did last year. Ware also got reps returning KOs and looked good.
-Smith donned a red 16 jersey and took several reps as QB.
Coles dropped a long pass, but so what. Even more interesting was that early on, during the stretching, Mangini stood next to him and was quietly in his ear while he stretched.
-Thomas Jones jerseys are well stocked and prominently displayed in the tent shop, which has been moved back about 50 yards, towards the middle of the bleachers area.
Alright, let’s talk about some of the big uglies and big hitters.
I was impressed with the OL. They look more advanced than they did at this time last year, and they look to be in pretty good shape. Jones, Clement and Moore all looked smoother during the drills, and they look stronger, too.
Mangold and Brick were able to step out of the spotlight, since they are no longer the rookies everyone is checking out. Adrian Clarke is a frickin wide body and I’ll keep an eye on him, too as camp progresses. Kendall came into camp in good shape physcially- of course his mental attitude and contract status are question marks. Cavka is in the mix, too.
On the DL, Ellis looks ready, and Robertson also came into camp in good shape.
Kenyon Coleman and Wadsworth were two guys I tried to watch. They both looked tentative, as they are learning the system and their roles. Both got lots of reps, and while they werent making impact plays, they obviously were concentrating on knowing where they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to do. Andre has real good size. Let’s see if he can progress and be a force out there.
Barton and Vilma, consistent with the rest of the team, looked trim and quick. Vilma was the one guy wearing long sleeves under his jersey- you’ll have to ask him why.
Mike Devito (70) caught my eye for his hustle on the field. He’s a rookie DE out of Maine, listed at 6-3, 298.
AND JUAN WONG (2)…well, he didnâ€™t do much, I just wanted to say his name.