A word not often whispered around Weeb Ewbank Hall? Playoffs. It's not that Eric Mangini doesn't want his players to return to the postseason for the second time in his three years as head coach, it's just that he knows (EM's an owner of three rings) that you have to do a lot of things right to get there.
David Harris found a way to use playoffs today without straying from Mangini's core message.
"I think we are just trying to take it one step at a time and make a push towards the playoffs," said the second-year linebacker, who excelled on the inside in 2007, in a conference call with reporters.
The Jets' public relations department made Harris available on the eve of the 2008 training camp along with WR Jerricho Cotchery and CB Darrelle Revis.
"We've been off, what, six or seven months now, and everybody is ready to get back in the groove of things," Harris said.
The Jets will commence camp with two practices on Thursday. Mangini, who will also hold another two-a-day on Saturday, is not going to extend workouts past two hours. Cotchery said the change will be welcomed but a vacation is not on the horizon.
"It doesn't matter how much you tweak training camp. It's going to be tough because of consecutive days, and there is just a lot of work physically and mentally throughout each and every day," he said. "It's going to be tiring and there are going to be some days that you're going to have to fight through."
J-Co knows the media will highlight the QB showdown between Kellen Clemens and Chad Pennington, but the tough wideout believes it won't be a distraction to the team. When asked about Brett Favre, Cotchery wouldn't take the bait and showed his support for his teammates.
"I'm very confident in the guys that we have here. I'll be definitely happy for whoever wins the job here," he said. "But any other player outside of here — I can't even worry about that."
As of late this afternoon, only one Jet remained unsigned. Vernon Gholston, the OLB whom the Jets grabbed with the No. 6 overall selection in April's draft, had not signed a contract before 5 p.m.
Revis — the 14th overall selection in the '07 draft — missed all of training camp a year ago due to a lengthy holdout. The Pittsburgh product, voted to several All-Rookie teams along with Harris, said he can't wait for Thursday to arrive.
"Actually this will be my first training camp as an NFL player," he said. "It's great to be here. I don't have to worry about holding out or stressing on how my contract's going to be. Now it's all about business, it's about getting in, getting a lot of reps and playing football."
Barring anything unforeseen, Revis will start on opening day. He was asked who will win the job as the Jets' No. 2 corner, which will be determined in the weeks ahead as preseason unfolds.
"I don't know — I don't even know if I'm going to start. Right now we're in training camp," he said with a serious tone. "This is where guys compete for jobs, so as of right now it's a competing matter and we're going to see."
On and Off the List
The Jets' Active/Non-Football Injury list had its comings and goings today. OL Clint Oldenberg, who was placed on the NFI list two days ago, came off today and is back on the active roster with no strings attached. But Jesse Chatman and Musa Smith, the two veteran free agent RBs signed in the off-season, both went on the NFI list late in the day. They both count on the Jets' 80-man roster and can come off the list when they can pass any physical tests required of them.
Check the Fan Line in the Morning
The weather is looking dicey for Thursday morning's first practice of camp, meaning heavy rain is in the forecast for the Hempstead, N.Y., area. Beginning at 7 a.m., fans intending to attend the morning workout can call the New York Jets fan line at 516-560-8288 for updates on whether the weather will be affecting the practice plans, such as if Eric Mangini will be taking it indoors, etc.