The Jets are preparing to make an impact on the Pro Bowl. They certainly put their stamp on this morning's AFC practice.
Picture this: On the field at one time during team drills at Kapolei High School were Thomas Jones in the backfield, Alan Faneca and Nick Mangold on the O-line, Kris Jenkins at nose and Darrelle Revis at LCB. The play was a draw, handoff from Peyton Manning to Jones.
After that play, TJ came out and Leon Washington went in -- and took the perfect checkdown from Manning, pinballing past Dwight Freeney and Ray Lewis among others.
So on back-to-back plays, all six Jets were on the field.
"Pretty cool," Faneca said.
"It's nice to have familiar faces around you," Mangold said. "Being my first time here, it helps having people that I know that have been here. And it's a nice thing for us."
It's also a little different having the unfamiliar hands of a legendary quarterback on his posterior in February.
"Snapping the ball to Peyton," Mangold pondered, "that's not something you're really thinking you'd have the opportunity to do."
It goes without saying that the Pro Bowl is not the ultimate place a team's players want to be in the postseason. But the Pro Bowl is what we have left, and while the approach is definitely low-key, all players are taking something away from this game just the same.
As Manning told Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports on Tuesday, he's using this week of practice under the guidance of Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh and his staff to learn more about the Ravens' defensive scheme. That's because Manning and the Colts will face that scheme twice in '09, vs. the Ravens and vs. Rex Ryan's Jets.
Similarly, each Jet here is taking something away from this experience. And collectively, they can give themselves and their teammates back home the idea that with so many Jets at the NFL's all-star game, the foundation is in place to kick off the Rex Reign with a bang.
Jenkins is the life of the AFC party. At practice he was constantly gesturing, joking, laughing, even throwing perfect spirals to his D-line mates.
One reason for his demonstrativeness: He was miked.
Rich Gentile and Steve Scarnecchia of our multimedia department are also here in Hawaii with me. They shot footage of all the Jets at the Pro Bowl for use later this off-season and next preseason. And they attached the microphone to Big Jenk.
They also got video of Jenkins doing a 360-pound impression of Shaun Ellis. Before one snap, Jenkins stood up, shifted outside of LE Mario Williams, moved back inside to nose but remained standing as Mangold made the snap.
A defensive wrinkle for Sunday's game? I don't think so, but we should keep our eyes open for a shifting No. 77 in a two-point stance just the same.