Day one of the New York Jets mandatory mini camp went just as expected. While the majority of the players displayed suitable speed, timing and strength within positional and special teams drills, most media eyes remained locked-in on that upper right arm area tucked beneath the red number ten uniform as well as the three beside him following suit.
For the majority of the morning, Chad Pennington worked fluidly through his reps. While many of the onlookers outside of Weeb Ewbank Hall weren't yet convinced of his resurrected arm strength and successful rehab, Penny then busted out with a 35-yard strike to a streaking Laveranues Coles, beating the secondary for what would have been a 50-yard touchdown. The play, Pennington insists, was just part of his progression.
"I am not just going to come out here and throw one just to show everybody I can throw one," Pennington said. "Believe me, I'd love to throw it every play if I could and work on those long balls. But I'm going to do what I'm coached to do and that is going through my reads, and when it's there – take it. When it's not there to make, I have to make sure I get a completion and take care of the football."
While Pennington's overall spring play has been encouraging, it's only June and the regular season is still months away. Pennington, a fiery competitor in his own right, is thrilled in regards to his recovery, especially being this far out from the season opener.
"I am just working on every throw and trying to get better on every throw. Time and repetition will cure some of those things," said Pennington who now has participated in 11 off-season practices. "When you can get as many repetitions as you can - that works out the kinks. It works out the precision and detail you need to make accurate throws. When you have time on your hands, it means so much. That's what it's all about and that's why I'm excited about everything."
Pennington and the rest of the quarterbacks took an equal amount of snaps today during various passing drills, including 7-on-7s and team drills. Each quarterback got an opportunity to work with a different set of linemen, backs, and wide receivers – a plan Coach Mangini constructed based on team growth alone. According to the new skipper, the only thing that can be read into the afternoon's rotations is simply a better opportunity for everyone to learn and compete – which is the primary goal heading into camp next month.
"I didn't really script the rotation based on your visit here today - it's just the way that it fell," Mangini told reporters. "You'll see throughout the weekend, each guy will work with the various groups, and you'll see the same things defensively. You'll see guys with seconds and thirds that maybe traditionally have not been with the seconds and thirds. It's just part of the natural progression of how we've installed things."
With the first outside eyes on hand, each quarterback got a chance to show some of their stuff. Rookie Kellen Clemens, who actually had the first chance to run the offense, offered a glimpse of his much anticipated ability to throw accurately on the run when he broke away from pressure to fire an off-balanced bullet to Justin McCareins in-stride. Brooks Bollinger went about his routine with a bit of swagger in his step – perhaps proving that last year's opportunity really enhanced his comfort level. The new kid in town, Patrick Ramsey, didn't waste anytime proving his cannon-like arm as each spiral was sharper than the last.
"That group of guys is an outstanding group in terms of the way that they approach everything," said Mangini of his four-headed QB arsenal. "They are always competitive in the meeting room, but they are always helping each other. It's the same thing on the field – they are competitive, they want to do the best they can. As they come off the field they talk to each other, saying 'Hey, maybe you should have done this.' That's progress, and it's early. This is just a part of the evaluation; we have a got a long time to go with it."