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Marcus Henry Catching a Wave Late in Camp


WR Marcus Henry

Marcus Henry is quite demure, from his bashful grin to the modest way in which he shrugs off his accomplishments. Today, he even downplayed his coach's praise.

In his afternoon news conference, Eric Mangini lauded the rookie wide receiver.

"What I like about Marcus is that he's able to play multiple positions," Mangini said of the sixth-round pick from the University of Kansas. "He's learned the X receiver, the Z receiver, inside in the slot. What's nice about that is that he got a lot more reps in this past preseason game because he wasn't limited because you can only play him at X or at Z.'"

And against the Redskins last Saturday, Henry was thrown to four times and wound up with four catches for 42 yards.

But the reserved receiver wasn't about to let that get to his head. In fact, he said that lining up at multiple receiver slots is something he was unaccustomed to and considers it a weakness of his.

"I still have to get used to certain spots on the field, just switching up between different receiver positions," said Henry, who at 6'4" was the Jets' tallest receiver, prior to the Larry Brackins signing. "I'm still working on getting comfortable with being moved around."

But Mangini wasn't giving away compliments like lollipops in a barbershop. Henry, who ran with the second-team offense for most of Wednesday's practice, has looked pretty comfortable in his last several sessions. Henry might still feel awkward, but he hasn't looked it.

"That's one of the things Jerricho did early in his career," Mangini said. "Talking about him with people who were here, you could put Jerricho where you needed him and he did it well. That's one of the positives about Marcus."

Needless to say, comparison to Cotchery is high praise.

Henry on Tuesday made two catches that, different sport and all, could have been featured on "Web Gems."

First, Henry, who wore a No. 17 vest to play Plaxico Burress for the show team, made an all-out dive for an Erik Ainge pass downfield. There wasn't much separation between him and cornerback Hank Poteat, but the ball was slightly overthrown and the receiver launched himself, with his body completely parallel to the ground, and snagged the ball.

He was lined up at "Z" or flanker that time.

"It was all right," he said of the play. "Knowing that they were using me as Plaxico is pretty cool."

Later, when he was lined up at "X," split end, he caught a wobbler from Brett Ratliff that required him to spin counterclockwise by the sidelines. Even with the 180-degree turn, and his focus on the ball, Henry managed to keep his feet inbounds.

"I've learned a lot in camp, especially from Laveranues Coles and Jerricho," Henry said. "They've taught me some tricks of the game."

Coles, he said, has sat next to him in meetings and gone over video with him, giving him pointers on "how to attack a DB."

In today's session, Henry (as himself this time; Brackins was faux-Burress) had three receptions: two short ones on slants and a deep ball.

During a two-minute drive, he broke free on a well-run slant route but dropped the ball. The defense was pinched near the line of scrimmage and bunched up the middle, so had he caught it, there would have been daylight.

"I just saw open field and tried to run without it," he said. "You see that space and you get a little anxious."

But the quarterbacks went back to him twice more, and Henry said he made a conscious effort to secure those balls.

First Clemens hit him on a 5-yard slant (Henry was between two defenders and used his body to shield the ball), and then Ratliff connected with him on a go route up the right sideline for about 30 yards on which he showed off his speed.

With David Clowney's absence, Henry could see more playing time and he's hoping to seize the opportunity, much like Marques Colston, a fellow 6'4" late-round draft pick and the former Hofstra performer, did with the Saints in 2006.

Coincidentally, that's the receiver whom Henry most studies and looks to emulate.

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