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JN JetCane Camp Report 08/13/06

IT MUST BE GETTING EARLY —- By JetCane

We’re seventeen days into training camp, on the outside looking in, or at least trying to look inside Eric Mangini’s green crystal test tube.

We’re still four weeks away from the official opening kickoff in Tennessee, and that means one thing: it is still early.

Now don’t get me wrong- I love instant gratification as much as the next person, but I have learned that some things take time, like building a football team.

The best place to start is with a nucleus, and the Jets’ nucleus clearly is Coach Mangini. His command of the ship was in evidence on the practice field at Hofstra today. The Coach, in his customary black shorts and black shirt, moved around the field with an eagle eye on things.

The next layer around the nucleus is his staff, with whom he spoke throughout the practice when he wanted to make a point. I don’t think anyone misses it when Coach wants to make a point. This is not the boyish, exhilarated new coach who gushed at his first press conference as head coach of the NY Jets. This is a football guy who is giving every ounce of his energy toward making this a better football team.

He spent a noticeable amount of time instructing and observing the DBs today, and then moved to the DL. He wasn’t making social calls either- this was all business- he is the boss you don’t want to see when you mess up.

Today was a steadily choreographed practice session. Similar to the efficient two-minute drill we saw Friday night, these practices have been exacting, with a purpose, and a specific plan to execute. You have to like that. You have to like the job that Eric Mangini is doing so far. He is a positive nucleus around which the team is focused. Positive changes look to be in the works for this team, but it takes time. It’s still early in the process.

And now, for some random observations:

There were some wrinkles to the practice today as a new work week starts. The Offensive Lineman were driving more, using the big blocking pads as they pushed each other hard for seven yards downfield. I’ve said it before: I wish I had a dollar for every time Tony Wise told them to “hurry!” between reps. LOL (hey, its a message board!)

In the back corner, some of the heavy hitters and LBs were slamming into the blocking sled. My Man Darrell McClover seemed to hurt the sled the most, lifting it up in the air as he drove into it, and you could hear it drop back to the earth with a THUD clear across the field.

Of course, I watched to see which QBs would practice today, and sure enough, they were all present and accounted for. It does take CP some time to warm up, even on a warm sunny day. But he isn’t in a rush to air it out- it’s still early.

The team spent a lot of time working in units today, going over new stuff, and there was a bunch of 11 on 11 red zone offense reps before they broke back into groups again. Overall, the defense kept the offense in check with good coverage in the secondary.

For many prospective players, TC is about winning jobs, and jockeying up the depth chart, as well as coming together as a team. The actual TC plays aren’t always as important as the overall development of the team and individual players- so when I tell you that Bolly to McCairens was the best red zone combo out there today (not by that much) take it with a grain of salt.

The QB reps were Bolly 30%, Ramsey 30%, Clem 20% and CP got the rest

My first hunch last week was that CP was the starter. My newest hunch is that Clem is the heir apparent to the backup, and Bolly and Ramsey are in a dogfight to survive.

Leon Washington once again had a stellar day. He ran really well. He muffed a punt, as did Tim Dwight, and did the obligatory lap. It must have been a blue moon or something, because Graham badly shanked a punt in 11 on 11s.

Eric Smith got a lot of work at safety, and as the up man blocking for Graham. They ran a fake punt with the direct snap to Smith.

Eric Coleman and Barrett came out on the field in shorts and Ts toward the end of the practice.

Mangold and Brick hang with each other when they are waiting to get their next rep and seem to be joined at the hip.

Brandon Moore got kudos from Wise a few times during OL drills.

The first team defense controls the first team offense, especially the secondary. Leon is the only one who had success running the ball today.

Tight coverage made it difficult for the Qbs. They were using the sideline a lot today more than the middle of the field. The DL and OL played to a draw most times.

Maddox doesn’t look as good as he did before his injury. McClover looks closer to coming all the way back.

Dyson seemed to jam some fingers or a wrist, got it taped up on the field and continued on.

Vilma smelled out a dump off pass and was in the backfield ready to blow up Hartugan, who dropped the ball when he heard footsteps.

Dreesen had a few catches today. So did Newhouse, who continues to look good.

We have some athletes and football players on this team: Rhodes, Cotch, Barton, Vilma, Coles, Dwight, Dyson, Brick, Smith, Smith, Miller to name a few. The are some holes to fill; some may not get filled until next year’s draft, some may be temporarily filled after players are cut from other teams. At least we know there is a positive nucleus at work here.

I think this team will be exciting to watch, but we have to give them some time to rebuild into a lean, mean machine. Give it some time. It’s still early.

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