By Brian Clark
Today was by far the hottest day on the field for the players despite the early start. Yesterday fans came to the field with the buzz of Vernon Gholston’s first practice. After this session, they left the field with a fear of an injury to his left knee. It was later reported that he is okay.
Gholston injured the knee on one of the last plays of the practice, he made a good move on the tackle and got clear into the backfield on what would have been a sack of Pennington. They blew the play dead, and he began to labor away from the play and towards the sideline. I don’t know if he injured during the rush or trying to slow down when approaching Pennington. As he went to the sideline he went down and it seemed like it was the outside of his left knee. Trainers checked out the knee for a few minutes as the whole team huddled up for the final words from the head coach. Gholston got up and limped over halfway through the speech by the coach and joined the team in the back. You would have to figure that based on the location of the injury and the value that Gholston would have with this team, he will probably not practice this afternoon.
As for the practice itself it was another weak one for Clemens, who had a few passes sail on him and just seems off. He also had a fumbled snap on what was a goal line scenario. He’s not exactly making the best argument for the starting spot. Chad didn’t look great, but didn’t look bad either. Made a couple good passes in traffic throughout the practice.
Wallace Wright had a very strong practice, making 5 catches, 2 of which in traffic, a few good sideline routes, and a curl in the middle of the field which was followed by a friendly pop by Kerry Rhodes. With the WR positions starting the shake their way out, Wright needs to have a strong camp to keep his role as the 5th WR (Behind Coles, Cotchery, Stuckey, and Smith). Lucky for him, it doesn’t seem like any of the other receivers in camp have put up a serious enough of a threat to challenge him for the starting squad role.
Dustin Keller, based on what it looks like from practice, will have an active part in the receiving game this year. Looks like more of a Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez type role than a traditional TE. He has rarely lined up on the end of the line, and is quite often the man in motion. His speed is evident and does a very good job getting off the line. The coaches and players helped him work on his route running, including finding the safety and adjusting his cut according to the safeties location. Both James Dearth and the TE coach were talking to him, trying to school the rookie. His strongest route is a seam route, where his speed can beat the linebacker over the top. Just as a twist, he came in motion to the right side along the line, and after the snap, took the ball on a comeback reverse and ran with it to the outside to the left. Plays like that are traditionally made by WR’s, but if he is being tracked by a LB in the backfield, there is a very good chance that he will be faster around the corner than LB. Just another way they can utilize this explosive TE.
On another note Calvin Pace is fast. Like off that end he will give people some hell. It will be real interesting seeing the problems the opposing team’s offensive line will have to deal with both Gholston and Pace rushing from the ends. Gholston also showed the speed to pick up the guy coming from the backfield, running stride for stride with one of the fastest Jets, Leon Washington on a short pass from the backfield.
One position that is in flux right now is the cornerback position. Revis has his spot secured, the second spot seems to be Justin Miller’s job to lose. The nickel spot could be a mix between Hank Poteat, and Drew Coleman, who is having a very good camp so far. Ahmad Carroll is struggling out there, and I don’t see him making the squad. He seems to be one step slow, and got 2 pass interference penalties on 2 practices, both pulling the receiver down from behind. Dwight Lowery has had a good camp as well, but it will interesting how the 3rd and 4th CB spot will shake out between Coleman, Poteat, and Lowery.
Leon Washington still has shown his speed throughout camp. On two consecutive plays he showed his explosiveness. On the first play he took a screen to the right. After being sealed off on the end by the corner, he cut the ball back across the face of the line, and ran the ball to the left side, for what would have been a 15 yard gain (courtesy of a Kellen Clemens block on Calvin Pace). On the very next play, he took a handoff to the left, cut through a small hole then did a Reggie Bush style cut to the right and cut the ball completely across the field into open space for what would have been a 40-50 yarder, if not for a touchdown.
The 3rd RB spot is a fight between Musa Smith, Jesse Chatman, and Jehuu Caulcrick. Neither player has really solidified that 3rd spot, and it seems that either Chatman or Caulcrick could get the advantage since they have also lined up as the front man in the I formation, as well as took part in Special Teams.
Today was a good day for autographs. They had the entire Offensive line signing balls, helmets, and photos. Other players signing included Ben Graham, Cotchery, Pennington, and Clemens. As of now, my autographed ball includes the signatures of Clemens, Coles, Cothchery, Jones, Washington, Franks, Brick, Faneca, Mangold, Barton, Lowery, Pociask, Bender, Woody, McChesney, Murrell, and Rhodes.
Overall it was a relatively entertaining practice, which leaves Jets fans with some questions to ponder; Who will be their starting quarterback? Will Brett Favre be a Jet?