The quarterback position for the Jets is filled with talent and Kevin O'Connell knows it.
As the team nears the end of its second week of training camp at SUNY Cortland, the third-year signalcaller is trying to take in everything he can from the other three gifted backs. "I'm in a very good situation," O'Connell said.
He has done well so far in camp, finding the open receivers, making great passes down the field during 11-on-11 drills, and making smart decisions in the pocket.
"I think I've had a pretty good start to camp," O'Connell said in between Friday's practices. "I worked real hard in the offseason, and I wanted to continue to grow in the offense and mentally be ready to go. I'm always working on my fundamentals with Coach Cav [quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh] and Schotty [coordinator Brian Schottenheimer] so it's started off well."
O'Connell, a 2008 third-round draft pick out of San Diego State by the New England Patriots, got some chances to play in a few games that year. But he was waived in the 2009 preseason, claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions, and traded to the Jets six days later.
Now in his first full year with the Green & White, O'Connell has been able to work with Mark Sanchez, Mark Brunell and Kellen Clemens this summer, and that has helped make him a better player.
"With Sanchez, he's a younger player and coming into the system my first year was his first year, and we bonded right away," he said. "And guys like Brunell and Kellen Clemens are great to be able to learn from and watch their studying and film habits. It's going to be great as a young player to be around them."
He has also been ecstatic about getting familiar with Coach Schotty's system.
"I absolutely love the system," he said. "It's very quarterback-friendly. As much as you can handle of it will help you produce, because you get the team into the right plays and make the right checks, and there's just the fundamentals of the offense with a lot of quarterback movement. That's stuff I like to do, so it's been fun."
As the Jets prepare for their first preseason game on Monday night against the Giants, O'Connell is looking forward to the first NFL game at New Meadowlands Stadium. However, he is more ready to just see new faces in different-colored jerseys across the line.
"It'll just be nice to go against another team," he said. "I know the Giants are a really good football team, but we've been playing against the No. 1 defensive team in the league every day for two weeks now. I'm sure we'll get a great challenge from those guys, but at the same time I know it'll be nice for our guys [on the offensive line] to hit somebody else up at front and go against a different defense."
O'Connell doesn't know just how much he'll play Monday.
"Three days away in camp time are light-years," said O'Connell. "We still have another two or three practices to go, and I'm sure we'll find out. I'm definitely expecting to play, and I'm not worried about how much. Just when I'm out there, I'll try to be successful."