Following a rather lethargic effort from the Jets Saturday afternoon, Coach Eric Mangini was pleased with the Green & White's bounce back performance on the scorching turf Sunday morning.
"I thought this morning's practice was a lot better then yesterday's practice," said Mangini during his morning presser. "Yesterday, the heat took away from the focus and in the future - it can't. It was the hottest day that we have had in four years according to our trainers, and I think that it showed. Yesterday wasn't very good."
The reaction to a poor practice can show a lot about a team's character, especially one that has gone through as many changes as the Jets recently have gone through. Whereas coaches and players may individually feel unsatisfied with sub par performances, it's extremely important to see how a team takes action in their ensuing practice.
"I thought that they responded well to that this morning," Mangini said. "The question now is, 'Can they build on this morning's practice and start stringing good practices together?' That is going to come from stringing good meetings together, stringing good individual drills together, stringing good group drills together, and stringing good team drills together."
The New York quarterbacks followed their scheduled rotation this morning, with rookie Kellen Clemens leading the first unit. Chad Pennington and Patrick Ramsey followed while Brooks Bollinger took minimal part in activities after working with the first string yesterday.
Despite a Kerry Rhodes interception, Clemens looked consistently sharp all morning and led his offense with a veteran's swagger. The Oregon product continues to perform well, but the rookie head coach isn't about to let his rookie get a big head.
"Kellen, like the group, needs to improve. He needs to focus, needs to be consistent, needs to study, and he needs to realize that things have changed," said Mangini. "It is different and it's important that everyone understands that."
In two different drills, Clemens hooked up with speedy wideout Laveranues Coles for long gains, getting a rousing cheer from the fans after each hookup. The first play came in a one-on-one receiver versus cornerback drill, where Coles shot out to the right sideline, hitched back and found a tight spiral in his numbers with cornerback Justin Miller in his rearview mirror. The second Clemens-Coles connect came in a drill where Mangini had his offense and defense working primarily on various third down situations. On the play, Coles streaked through the middle unscathed with a Clemens bullet meeting him in stride for a would-be touchdown.
Also impressive in today's upbeat practice was another rookie, Leon Washington. The fans were wowed by two breakout Washington runs in the 11-on-11 drills, while Coach Mangini was very happy with a different, yet equally important aspect of the young back's practice.
"Leon has done a good job in terms of stepping up and picking up rushers," he said. "We talked about his heart. It is hard to see those things in the spring, where you're going through the same mechanics and you don't have the collision."
Mangini is very happy with receiver Jerricho Cotchery, based on off-season work alone. "He was the most outstanding player in our off-season program. That caught my eye. That work ethic and the fact that he distinguished himself in that way, I think is outstanding. Seeing Jerricho develop from the other side of the ball, I'm happy to be here working with him. I think he has great potential."… The running backs and wide receivers are still shuffling through a rotation as well, though Coles and Justin McCareins appear with the first string most often…. Rookie Anthony Schlegel saw some snaps with the first unit defense alongside Jonathan Vilma, Victor Hobson, and Matt Chatham… For the first time in camp thus far, there were no group laps issued… Tim Dwight was forced to run a lap though after an infraction negated a long touchdown…Anne Craig of Fox 5's Good Day New York will be live from Jets Fest on Monday starting at 6:38 a.m., lasting until 8:49 a.m. In addition, former Jets linebacker Marty Lyons will join Ms. Craig for a 7:42 a.m. segment. Fans are encouraged to come show their Jets passion on live television!
Day three concluded with yet another two and a half hour practice following the aggressive and hot morning session. Just like Friday night's second session, the players were not in full gear, calling for fewer noteworthy hits.
Coach Mangini appeared to have used this workout to set himself back and observe, as the usually vocal leader was relatively quiet. Even though he spent the majority of practice walking around the outskirts of drills by himself, he was still on top of his disciplinary actions, offering many customary laps to penalized players.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Isaac Snell were among those taking a punishment tour around the field, as well as quarterback Patrick Ramsey and center Norm Katnik who botched a snap. Ramsey, however, saw time with the first string offense and looked accurate, especially on two deep touchdown passes.
Ramsey struck first with a 35-yard strike to third-year receiver Reggie Newhouse. Newhouse, who has been extremely impressive so far, hauled in a lofty pass in the left corner of the end zone with the defender five yards behind. Tim Dwight, who has been consistently progressing with the new offensive system, caught a deep ball in the right side of the end zone from Ramsey late in the concluding no-huddle drill.
Tight end Jason Pociask was on the sidelines again with a shoulder injury. He worked on conditioning with strength coach Markus Paul during practice… Defensive lineman Shaun Ellis caught running back Cedric Houston with his head down in 11-on-11 drills, which proved to be the biggest hit of the day… Former Jets players Mark Gastineau and Dave Herman were in attendance… Quarterback Kellen Clemens saw limited snaps after taking the majority of plays this morning… Rookie running back Stacey Tutt has been lining up as a receiver more often than in the backfield. The former college quarterback has soft hands and has been strong in run blocking.